U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) today introduced legislation to eliminate redundant baggage screening for travelers arriving from airports that participate in the United States' preclearance program. Baggage at certain international airports, including many in Canada, will soon undergo the same high-level screening procedures that it would receive at a U.S. port of entry, but current law still requires luggage from these airports to be rescreened upon entry into the United States, creating unnecessary hassle and delays for travelers. The senators' bipartisan legislation would waive the rescreening requirement for luggage processed through preclearance airports that have already installed U.S.-equivalent screening equipment and procedures, allowing passengers to skip the time-consuming procedure without compromising security.
"I'm pleased to work with my colleague on this bipartisan bill that streamlines the international baggage screening process while preserving the highest levels of security," said Blunt. "By making baggage screening more efficient for passengers traveling to our country, this legislation will benefit the American tourism industry, while boosting economic development and job creation."
"Requiring luggage to undergo the exact same screening process twice in one flight puts a burden on our international aviation security system and creates an unnecessary hassle for travelers," said Klobuchar. "This commonsense legislation will allow the TSA to ensure the security of luggage more efficiently and effectively while reducing delays for passengers."
Currently, U.S. Customs and Border Protection performs preclearance screening of passengers at 14 airports in Canada, Ireland, and the Caribbean. This screening is the same inspection a passenger would undergo at any U.S. port of entry, but current law requires all baggage to be rescreened by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the United States even if the preclearance locations have implemented baggage screening procedures that meet current U.S. security standards. As part of the U.S.-Canada Beyond the Border initiative, Canadian preclearance airports are beginning the process of installing U.S.-equivalent baggage screening technology. The No-Hassle Flying Act of 2012 would allow the TSA to waive the rescreening requirement at these airports once they have implemented U.S.-equivalent screening processes. This would eliminate the need to rescreen baggage and allow passengers to avoid frustrating delays and lines without compromising national security.