Larsen Calls For House Hearing on Problems with NEXUS Program</A

Nov 5, 2007

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Representative Rick Larsen (WA-02) has called for a hearing in the House Homeland Security Committee on problems with the NEXUS program that have made efficient cross-border travel difficult for many of his constituents in Northwest Washington. The NEXUS program allows pre-screened, low-risk travelers to be processed more rapidly at the U.S.-Canadian border.

In letters sent today to Homeland Security subcommittee chairs Reps. Christopher Carney (PA-10) and Loretta Sanchez (CA-47), Larsen expressed concerns about a number of problems his constituents have experienced with the NEXUS program in recent months, including a rigid “zero-tolerance” policy for minor violations, staffing shortages that have led to lengthy delays at the border, disconnects between the Vermont processing office and local NEXUS offices in Washington state, and the absence of an appeals process for constituents to challenge the denial or cancellation of their NEXUS cards.

My office has heard from over 40 constituents who have experienced serious problems with their NEXUS applications or renewals,” said Larsen. “We need to get to the bottom of the problems that seem to be crippling this important program. With long lines at the border and the 2010 Winter Olympics just around the corner, it is imperative that the NEXUS program be efficient and secure and protect cross-border commerce.

[The text of Larsen’s letter to Chairwoman Sanchez follows below. Larsen sent an identical letter to Chairman Carney.]

November 5, 2007

The Honorable Loretta Sanchez
Chairwoman
Subcommittee on Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism
Committee on Homeland Security
Washington, D.C.  20515

Dear Chairwoman Sanchez:

I have been contacted by a large number of constituents over the past six months regarding the NEXUS program within Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the numerous problems the program has faced this year.  Due to the importance of the program to both CBP and to my constituents, I am writing to ask for a hearing in the Subcommittee on Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism regarding the NEXUS program.

As you know, the NEXUS program allows pre-screened, low-risk travelers to be processed with little or no delay by United States and Canadian officials at designated highway lanes at high volume border crossing locations, at a NEXUS kiosk at the Canadian Preclearance airports, and at certain marine reporting locations in the Great Lakes and Seattle, Washington regions. Approved applicants are issued a photo-identification/proximity card.

With long lines at the border and the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver/Whistler, British Columbia not far into the future, it is imperative that the NEXUS program be efficient, secure and protect cross border commerce. Unfortunately, NEXUS has seen crippling problems this summer.  As you can see from the attached, the NEXUS program has faced a number of issues including:  

  • A rigid “zero-tolerance” policy.
  • Staffing shortages leading to lengthy delays.
  • Disconnects between the Vermont processing office and the local NEXUS offices.
  • A lack of an appeals process for constituents to challenge their revocations and denials.

It is my belief that the NEXUS program is critical to having a safe and efficient Northern Border and I urge the Subcommittee to hold a hearing on the concerns about this important program.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Rick Larsen
United States Representative
Washington State, 2nd District

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