H.R. 6431, To ensure United States jurisdiction over offenses committed by United States personnel stationed in Canada in furtherance of border security initiatives

H.R. 6431

To ensure United States jurisdiction over offenses committed by United States personnel stationed in Canada in furtherance of border security initiatives

Sponsor
Rep. Ann M. Kuster
Committee
Judiciary

Date
December 7, 2016 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Wednesday, December 7, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 6431, to ensure United States jurisdiction over offenses committed by United States personnel stationed in Canada in furtherance of border security initiatives, under suspension of the rules.  H.R. 6431 was introduced on December 2, 2016, by Rep. Ann Kuster (D-NH) and was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.

Bill Summary

H.R. 6431 stipulates that Department of Homeland Security or the Department of Justice personnel, who are stationed in Canada as a result of a treaty, executive agreement, or bilateral memorandum in furtherance of a border security initiative, may be prosecuted in U.S. courts, if they commit a crime in Canada that would constitute a crime had it been committed within the United States.

Background

On March 16, 2015, Canada and the United States signed the Agreement on Land, Rail, Marine, and Air Transport Preclearance,[1] which established an immigration and trade preclearance system in an attempt to strengthen economic competitiveness by expediting the flow of legitimate travel and trade while ensuring perimeter security and border integrity.[2]

Preclearance is the process by which officers stationed abroad inspect and make admissibility decisions about travelers and their accompanying goods or baggage before they leave a foreign port.  Officers retain the authority to inspect travelers and their accompanying goods or baggage upon arrival, and the Agreement is fully reciprocal.[3]

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers currently conduct preclearance operations at eight Canadian airports: Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg.  In addition, CBP officers conduct immigration pre-inspection at multiple marine ports and a rail station in British Columbia.[4]

On March 10, 2016, DHS and Canada announced their intention to support the legislation necessary to bring that Agreement into force.  In the United States, the necessary provisions were introduced in the Promoting Travel, Commerce, and National Security Act of 2016 (S. 2612/H.R. 4657), introduced on March 1, 2016.  The Government of Canada is expected to pass the necessary legislation in early 2017.

H.R. 6431 stipulates that certain U.S. government personnel, who are stationed in Canada, like the DHS preclearance officers, may be prosecuted in U.S. courts if they commit a crime in Canada that is also a crime in the United States.

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[1] See Department of Homeland Security press release, “United States and Canada Sign Preclearance Agreement,” March 16, 2015.
[2] See Department of Homeland Security press release, “United States and Canada Announce Preclearance Expansion,” March 15, 2016.
[3] Id.
[4] Id.

Cost

A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate for H.R. 6431 is not currently available.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact Jake Vreeburg with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 6-1828.