January 15, 2014 11:04 am
Updated: January 15, 2014 7:30 pm

New U.S. ruling could make crossing the border easier

Electronic readers and displays for NEXUS identification cards are lined-up at a border crossing from Canada into the United States at Blaine, Wash., April 9, 2009. Travellers under Canada's Nexus program who are considered low-risk have been caught trying to illegally smuggle goods into the country, newly released documents show. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Elaine Thompson

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Canadian travellers heading to the U.S. could have an easier time crossing the border.

Over the past year the issue of expedited removals has made headlines. A number of Canadians have complained that they have been given lengthy bans from travelling to the U.S. for seemingly minor problems.

American border guards can put the bans in place at their discretion.

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However, a new ruling by the by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeal says Canadians are exempt from having to produce extensive proof of their reason for travel, as long as they’re going for legitimate business or tourism purposes.

This is the first time since the expedited removal laws were passed in 1996 that any U.S. court, administrative tribunal or other body has recognized the existence of such an exemption, according to the BC Chamber of Commerce.

“This is great news for B.C.’s cross-border business community,” says John Winter, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce. “This decision lessens border stress for business people and tourists and promotes cross-border trade.”

It is hoped that will eventually decrease the number of bans being imposed.

On Dec. 30, 2013, U.S. Customs and Border Protection cancelled an expedited removal order that had been issued against B.C. actor Chad Rook on Jan. 28, 2013, when Rook was attempting to cross the border to look for acting work in Los Angeles. Under the order, Rook had faced a five-year ban on entering the U.S.

Winter told the BC Chamber of Commerce that the court decision, plus the reversal of Rook’s expedited removal order, sends a strong message to border guards to think twice before issuing expedited removal orders.

“We trust these two decisions will make U.S. border services use the expedited removal process more judiciously,” he said in a statement to the Chamber of Commerce. “And if errors are made, B.C. business people can take comfort that they have legal recourse.”

– With files from the BC Chamber of Commerce.

© 2014 Shaw Media

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