As the statutory holiday trifecta — Canada Day , B.C. Day and Labour Day — approaches, travellers heading stateside can expect longer wait times than normal as the U.S. plans to move border agents south.
In response to an influx of asylum seekers from Central America, the U.S. plans to temporarily transfer hundreds of agents to its southern border crossings.
With over 24 years experience, Vancouver immigration lawyer, Alex Stojicevic, is no stranger to border challenges. He notes that, in addition to longer waits, there are other legal hurdles people will have to navigate.
“We depend on that border in many ways that the public is perhaps not entirely aware of,” Stojicevic says.
Fewer officers will mean slower turn-around on processing applications, conducting interviews for NEXUS and flagpoling. Flagpoling is described by Stojicevic, as the process of leaving Canada and re-entering the country in order to validate permits. This process is clearly important for newcomers to Canada.
“When they get their immigrant visa, if they’re already [in Canada], they have to leave the country and come back. That’s the fastest way you can activate your permanent residency if you don’t want to wait for an interview to be set for you by immigration,” Stojicevic says.
Stojicevic also questions how a reduced number of agents at crossings with Canada will impact collaboration between Canadian and U.S. border agencies on things like smuggling and other investigations.
“What kind of resources are going to be left if all of these officers are going to be pulled away from various duties? There’s a whole pile of concerns, I think, that will play into having the border not staffed adequately,” Stojicevic says.
While the timing is less than ideal, Stojicevic notes that there hasn’t been any evidence in the past of border agents turning travellers away during staffing challenges.
“Any time that they’ve had issues at that border in terms of staffing levels, there hasn’t been any increase in refusals,” Stojicevic says. “I think it’s all just going to take longer, I don’t think it’s going to mean that fewer people are let in.
NEXUS has the potential to alleviate border congestion and Stojicevic urges more Canadians to apply. It costs $50, lasts five years and involves a 20 minute interview.
“I think there’s a certain kind of Canadian who’s daunted by the idea of paperwork of any kind,” he explains. “I encourage people to actually look at how easy it is.”
Maynard Kischer Stojicevic are one of Canada’s Top 5 Immigration Law boutiques. Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, MKS work with Canadian and international clients and specialize in Canadian immigration and citizenship law, providing in-depth knowledge of how immigration law and policy works.