The United States reportedly is asking five European countries to set up preclearance checkpoints at airports for customs and immigration. The expedited checkpoints for foreign travel are now available only in Canada, the Caribbean, Ireland and United Arab Emirates.
The Guardian newspaper in England reports no formal request has been made yet. But U.S. authorities approached England, France, the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden about setting up the checkpoints, according to the Guardian.
I like this idea. I’d rather know how they’re behaving while I’m still on home soil (as we have in Canada already) rather than letting them have their way with me once I’m completely in their territory. I doubt this is the answer they expect to hear though.
They are really really really scared.
American officials are beyond their jurisdiction here. They need to conduct their interrogations on their own soil; they simlply don’t belong here and I view this as a threat to the territorial integrity of my country. Ami, go home!
Pierre I agree with you – better to know what the story is before arriving in the US. However, one has to wonder what the US reaction would be if other countries wanted to do the same thing at US airports.
Good timing. Today is election day in Sweden.
Time to make Sweden Amerika! Vote for Amerika Demokraterna and make Sweden the Amerika it should be.
I know a little old lady that went to Canada to visit relatives. She said that when she was leaving Toronto, they threw her into a room all by herself and when the plane was about to take off, the guy came back into the room and said “Donde vas” (Where are you going?). She said she just had a layover in Atlanta and she wasn’t going to stay in the US. He then let her go.
She said that she’ll never fly again if she has to go through the US.
The first thing out of her mouth when she saw me was “Why are your people so paranoid!” Grrrrr… “your people”. I hate that one. We already have to hide the fact that we are American when it comes to financial services, traveling, etc…
The US is heavy handed in many interactions with people. The US Government expects people just to conform. When visiting the US you can see this in subtle ways such as continuously asking for an ID (even when you’re 80) when buying alcohol.
Americans like to believe Germans are all about following rules and regulations, the Americans are even worse.
If it works the way it does at preclearance in Canada, then I agree that preclearance is an advantage. Even amongst US residents, the USA has a reputation for having much more disagreeable customs agents than other countries. If I’m returning to the USA from an international (outside N. America) destination, I always try to arrange to connect via Canada. The US CBP agents at Canadian airports have a notch less power than they do at US airports, and it tends to show.
Of course, if there is a serious problem legally–such as an outstanding arrest warrant–they may still allow you to board the flight and then arrest you on arrival in the USA. However, it is a probability play. If there are no serious legal issues, the chance of a less stressful crossing is definitely better via preclearance.
However it depends on how they do preclearance. In Canada all preclearance is done in Canada so the flight arrives in the USA as a domestic flight. In Ireland, for awhile, they did preclearance for immigration in Ireland followed by customs in the USA. This gave the US federal authorities two kicks at the cat, so to speak–not so good 🙁 .
Canada technically has authority to set up preclearance facilities at USA airports, although it would be interesting to see in the current climate what would happen if Canada actually exercised that right (they never have to date). It tends to be economically less viable though. There are many international airports in the USA but fewer in other countries (even Canada which is geographically spread out but with a lower populations). That tends to make preclearance in the USA by other countries too expensive.
Agree with the lady not wanting to transit through the USA in the future given that she has a choice (she isn’t coming or going from the USA). However her story underscores why preclearance is better than the alternative. Had she been denied entry in Toronto, she would have returned to the comfort of the home of the friends/family she was visiting in Canada to regroup and make alternate plans home. Had she been denied entry in Atlanta, she would have been left to the tender mercies of an ICE detention cell.
While this does have the upside of not being on US soil if you were to be denied entry, it begs the question of why?
Setting up satellites in other countries – whether by extra-territorial legislation like FATCA or pre-clearance at air ports or being allowed to pre-check freight on Canadian soil (and I believe they asked to be allowed to carry guns while doing it though don’t know if it was approved) has an insidious mission creep feel to it.
Feels desperate and smells fishy.
While I cannot comment on the ‘why’ where European countries are concerned, I know that preclearance at Canadian airports has been around since the 1950’s. Most people who need to travel regularly between the countries like the arrangement. Let’s say someone travels from Toronto, connecting through Chicago to some other US city–a very common itinerary. If you had to clear customs in Chicago, you’d also have to re-clear security in Chicago and also possibly re-check luggage if you check luggage. Preclearance allows you to pass through Chicago as a domestic passenger reducing overall hassle level.
To the best of my knowledge, preclearance isn’t controversial amongst regular travelers nor is it generally seen as a violation of Canadian sovereignty. US CBP agents at Canadian airports–unlike their stateside counterparts–have no law enforcement powers. They are there solely to decide who can or cannot enter. The Canada-US agreement on preclearance was negotiated many years ago when US treated its allies better. What the arrangement would be with new preclearance facilities in Europe, I do not know.
I believe the arrangements in Ireland are the same now as in Canada. Both Customs and Immigration are done in either Shannon or Dublin. This was not always the case. I know Aer Lingus flights arriving in Boston come in as domestic now. Interestingly enough they still operate out of Boston Terminal E which is primarily for international flights other than a separate pier Southwest and AirTran use.
Air Canada now operates out of “domestic” terminal B and has done so for many many years.
YogaGirl; “While this does have the upside of not being on US soil if you were to be denied entry, it begs the question of why?”
I am a relinquisher and because of that on those few occassions when I go to the US, I travel via Dublin because of preclearence.
If I was to be denied entry, I would prefer it to be close to home rather than awating a return flight from the US.
Denied entry in Dublin means I am home in the early afternoon same day. Denied entry in Chicago means maybe I am home late afternoon next day after a terrible ordeal.
Like everything in the US this now appears to be a political football in Congress although over the site in Abu Dhabi more than anyplace else.
Aer Lingus uses the ability to clear U.S. Customs in Dublin as an advantage to flying Aer Lingus.
So instead of standing in ridiculously long lines on entrance to the US one will have to stand in ridiculously long lines before leaving, possibly missing the overseas flight. Great.
Maybe the US should get a reasonable number of people to handle the checks they insist on doing. How many terrible people do they find with their fingerprinting nonsense anyway? I rather doubt they have found any at all.
The US would do better if they issued proper ID documents to their citizens as a matter of course, like every other civilized country.