Washington – Today, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21) applauded the announcement that Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and Canadian Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Steven Blaney today signed the Agreement on Land, Rail, Marine, and Air Transport Preclearance Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Canada.
“This landmark agreement is welcome news for our North Country community,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “In addition to helping increase efficiency along our northern border, this agreement will help increase trade with our Canadian neighbors. This is good for our North Country economy and for hard working North Country families. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to pass the legislation necessary to implement this plan.”
"The Beyond the Border process has provided an important opportunity for the U.S. and Canada to jointly build our economic connections while valuing and supporting the flow of legitimate travel and commerce at ours hared border," states Garry Douglas, President of the North Country Chamber of Commerce. "And today's agreement on pre-clearance is nothing short of historic as it sets the stage for a number of advances in the years ahead."
According to Douglas, the North Country Chamber and other partners on both sides of the border have been supporting an agreement that would specifically facilitate three long sought advances for the North Country:
1)The agreed terms for the pre-clearance of New York bound Amtrak trains in Montreal by U.S. Customs & Border Protection personnel, eliminating the current long stoppages at the border.
2)The possibility of Canadian Border Service Agency operations in Massena on the U.S. side of the Massena-Cornwall crossing, addressing space limitations on the Cornwall side and enhancing flow at this important North Country gateway.
3)Agreement on how U.S. and Canadian personnel can jointly staff and operate small, rural crossings from one side or the other without two separate operations. thereby saving resources for both countries while securing the future operation of many small crossings in the North Country and elsewhere which, while low volume, represent important connections between rural U.S. and Canadian communities.
"We thank both governments for this historic agreement, as well as our representatives in Washington who have been steadfast advocates, including Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and a continuity of engagement and attention from fromer Congressman Owens and now Congresswoman Stefanik,” added Mr. Douglass.