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U.S. to toughen border rules for most Commonwealth citizens

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U.S. to toughen border rules for most Commonwealth citizens

Old 3rd Nov 2002, 13:54
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Thumbs down U.S. to toughen border rules for most Commonwealth citizens

From www.cbc.ca

Last Updated Sun, 03 Nov 2002 0:15:09

OTTAWA - Washington is preparing new regulations that would make it harder for citizens of most Commonwealth countries to get into the United States.

Under the proposed rules, any Commonwealth citizen who lives in Canada but who is not a Canadian citizen will need valid travel documents to enter the U.S.

Right now, Canadian citizens do not require passports or other papers to pass through customs. Most people born in other Commonwealth countries who now live here enjoy the same ease of passage when heading south.

But the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has drafted a new policy that will force visitors who are not Canadian citizens to produce travel documents.

According to an internal INS report obtained by CBC News, the United States will soon require valid passports from travellers living in Canada who are actually citizens of the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore.

Foreign nationals living in Canada from about 50 other Commonwealth countries will need both a passport and a visa to enter the United States. This proposal includes citizens of India, Pakistan, South Africa, Jamaica, and Trinidad.

The new rules are part of increased security measures since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks against the United States. They're designed to help safeguard the country from terrorists, according to the INS document.

"They're just creating and inventing rules left, right and centre," says Heather Segal, the head of the Canadian chapter of the U.S. Immigration Lawyers' Association. "They're creating backlogs. It's a big problem."

Some people in Canada are annoyed about the proposed new rules, including athletes who travel a lot.

"A Commonwealth country is a Commonwealth country," complains Troy Rose, a landed immigrant from Australia. "We're not evil, we're not bad, we're not, you know, bombers or anything like that."

But the INS document says some Commonwealth countries have high rates of "immigration fraud and abuse," and tougher security measures are required to fight terrorism.

An official at the Foreign Affairs Department in Ottawa described the regulations as "disappointing and unpalatable," but no official protest is planned until the proposals take effect.

FROM OCT. 31, 2002: U.S. backs down on photographing, fingerprinting some Canadians

Last month, Washington backed down from a plan to begin fingerprinting some Canadian citizens who travel to the U.S. The new rules would have applied to people born in Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria or Sudan.
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Old 3rd Nov 2002, 14:38
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Reading paragraphs 1 to 6 I can't quite see the problem.
Why should any foreigner in Canada face different treatment than a Commonwealth citizen applying from, for example, UK?
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Old 3rd Nov 2002, 15:16
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I can't see what the problem is here. I've worked and lived in many countries, but that hasn't given me the same rights of travel to other countries as the citizens of those countries, nor would I have expected it to. For example, a French person living in Ivory Coast would not expect the same travel rights to Accra as a citizen of one of the ECOWAS states. After all, it's just asking Ozzies, Brits etc, who would normally expect to carry their passports with them if travelling from their own countries direct to the USA, to carry them from Canada and citizens from some other Commonwealth countries who would normally need a visa still have to have one.
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Old 3rd Nov 2002, 15:20
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How do Canadians prove their Canadians at borders without travel documentation.

Won't this rule mean that Canadians have to have documentation to prove they are who they say they are, what do you need at the moment? A driving licence?

Surely there is enough empty border between Canada and the US for any bad guys to get in without being spotted anyway and this just infringes on law abiding citizens.
Old 3rd Nov 2002, 15:59
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Something does not make sense.

"Right now, Canadian citizens do not require passports or other papers to pass through customs."

Well, customs is one of two steps. The first step is immigration control.

I thought I was supposed to have a passport to go to and from Canada (through immigration control), and I assumed Canadians did also to and from the U.S.

One time a few years ago I forgot my passport. Got into Canada after being taken to a side room at immigration and quizzed. Was quizzed also by a U.S. immigration officer coming back. The message from both countries was, bring your passport.

Last edited by Eboy; 3rd Nov 2002 at 16:13.
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Old 3rd Nov 2002, 22:08
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The U.S. has to start somewhere to regain control of its borders.

Read the book 'Invasion' by Michelle Malkin. It will scare you with documented cases of the INS trying harder to please the airline executives by expediting foreign pax through screening instead of protecting American citizens.

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Old 3rd Nov 2002, 23:29
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What's the problem?

Visit the USA as their guest, you need to provide a valid passport - no problem................unless you've skeletons in your cupboard you're trying to hide!
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Old 4th Nov 2002, 20:17
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While Canadian citizens don't need passports to pass U.S. immigration, they do need:

Proof of citizenship and:

Proof of identity.

Generally this means a birth certificate and a drivers licence or another form of photographic identification. A passport is more convenient though.
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Old 6th Nov 2002, 17:38
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Don't see why this is should be a problem.

For what it's worth the INS seem to do an efficient job dealing with travellers from Canada. I don't know if it's true of all Canadian airports, but at YYZ you pass through US immigration before entering the departure lounge, thus missing out the long queues on arrival in the States where you arrive at a domestic gate. I thought this was a pretty good idea and certainley doesn't appear to be an 'anti-Canadian' policy.

I've driven across the border in both directions, about 2 or 3 years ago and been asked to produce a passport (UK citizen) only for the driver. None of the other 4 occupents of the car were checked. The whole US/Canada border situation seemed like quite a loophole at the time - I can understand why they'd want to tighten up, regardless of Sept 11.
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