Congressman Owens lent his support this week to the Department of Homeland Security's first agency-wide strategy for the northern border. The strategy aims to make the northern border between the United States and Canada more secure while expediting the movement of lawful people and goods. The Department's Northern Border Strategy (NBS) draws from legislation introduced by Owens and signed into law by President Obama in January of 2011 and the Beyond the Border Action Plan, which Owens testified on before the House Budget Committee in March.
"I am happy to see the Department of Homeland Security moving towards a more practical approach to the U.S.-Canada border. Recognizing the thirteen border crossings in the North Country support nearly 20,000 jobs in the region, I look forward to working with both the U.S. and Canadian governments to continue improving cross-border trade and working to grow the economy in the surrounding border communities," said Owens.
The NBS is primarily focused on preventing terrorism and illegal behavior while encouraging the lawful and efficient flow of trade and travel. The Strategy recognizes the importance of supporting programs like the Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST). The BEST team in Massena partners with federal, state, local and foreign law enforcement to disrupt and dismantle criminal organizations that pose a threat to the border.
The NBS also builds on initiatives included in the Beyond the Border Action Plan, which the U.S. and Canadian governments released in December. On May 31, 2012, the two governments announced air cargo security improvements whereby the two countries will mutually recognize each other's air cargo security programs. According to the Department of Homeland Security, more than $27 billion of goods were imported and exported by air between Canada and the United States in 2010.
The NBS is attached to the release. Congressman Owens is a co-chair of the Congressional Northern Border Caucus.