Canada: Here We Do Not Go Again!: After The New Travel Restrictions Reinstated, The United States Has Cancelled Canadians' NEXUS Cards

Last Updated: July 20 2017
Article by Cyndee Todgham Cherniak

Coincident (coincidence or not?) with the U.S. travel restrictions (better known as a travel ban) on individuals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, the United States Customs and Border Protection have arbitrarily cancelled NEXUS Memberships of at least two Canadian citizens (dual citizens).  The reason provided was that the individual no longer meets the conditions of the NEXUS Program (no further explanation as to what facts support that determination).  One of the dual citizens is not even from one of the 6 identified countries.  Both individuals have indicated that they had not traveled and do not have a customs infraction, immigration infraction or criminal conviction/charge or arrest.  The Government of Canada had announced that Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents would not be affected by the U.S. travel restrictions.  This is not what is happening in reality.

The redress process in the United States to reinstate a NEXUS Membership is a request for a review to the U.S. CBP Ombudsman.  However, the process is not a transparent or robust one.  The U.S. CBP Ombudsman routinely takes more than 9 months to respond to a request for review.  There is never correspondence back and forth with the requester.  A letter is submitted for a review and after an long wait, a response is sent.  Usually, the response is that the U.S. CBP will not reinstate the NEXUS Membership.  Reasons are not provided by the U.S. CBP Ombudsman in the response letter – the underlying facts used to determine that NEXUS privileges should be revoked are never provided by the U.S. CBP Ombudsman.  The requester is given no indication that he/she received due process or experienced procedural fairness.  Since President Trump took office, we have not seen any positive reviews by the U.S. CBP Ombudsman towards any Canadian citizens or Canadian permanent residents (even those with single citizenship).

When NEXUS privileges are cancelled, the person is still permitted to travel to the United States.  The NEXUS membership, which is granted after extreme vetting and review by both Canada and the United States, allows the traveler to use automated kiosks and fast lanes to report to customs upon entry to Canada/United States.  The NEXUS Membership also permits a person to use the shorter line up at airport security and TSA Pre Check.  The cancellation of a NEXUS Membership does take away a valuable intangible asset (a time saving device).

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