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Cablegate: January 31 End of Oral Declaration Creates Few

VZCZCXYZ0025
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHOT #0191 0372032
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 062032Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY OTTAWA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7263
INFO RUCNCAN/ALL CANADIAN POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO 1792

UNCLAS OTTAWA 000191

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CAN, WHA/MEX, AND CA/PPT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC CASC KHLS CA
SUBJECT: JANUARY 31 END OF ORAL DECLARATION CREATES FEW
PROBLEMS OR BACKUPS AT THE U.S-CANADA LAND BORDER

REF: MEXICO 312

1. (U) Summary: The situation along the U.S.-Canada border
following the January 31 implementation of the requirement
that U.S. and Canadian citizens show proof of citizenship
(rather than simply making an oral declaration) was similar
to that reported in reftel concerning the southern border.
Most ports of entry reported very high rates of compliance
with the new documentary requirements. Customs and Border
Protection (CBP) officers kept lines moving by exercising
flexibility with non-compliant travelers, giving them a
verbal admonishment to get documented as well as a tear sheet
explaining acceptable documentation. Canadian citizens
entering the U.S. were highly compliant, perhaps thanks to
Government of Canada advertisements in local and national
media and a mass mailing of the new rules to millions of
homes the week before implementation. The fact that CBP
inspectors have been giving all travelers the tear sheet
since December probably also contributed to awareness and a
high compliance rate. End summary.

2. (U) ConGen Halifax reported that ports of entry in its
district were seeing compliance rates close to 100 percent.
Halifax notes that most of the residents living along the
land border were well aware of the tighter documentary
requirements and have prepared to meet them. Traffic at the
ports was not experiencing delays. ConGen Montreal reported
high rates of compliance and no delays at ports going into
New York and Vermont. The percentage of Americans and
Canadians presenting passports has increased markedly since
last summer.

3. (U) Ports south of Ottawa were experiencing at least 95
percent compliance with no wait, no lines. ConGen Toronto
said that CBP and tunnel/bridge operators at the major ports
in its district are reporting non-events. Traffic was
reported moving quickly at Detroit, Sarnia, and Buffalo.

4. (U) In Winnipeg's district, the busiest ports reported
better than 90 percent compliance and no delays or incidents
related to the new procedures. Calgary said that most
travelers in its district were compliant (and most presented
passports), but some delays were observed at the biggest port
of entry going into Montana.

5. (U) Vancouver said that CBP supervisors at the ports of
entry report no delays or complaints related to the end of
oral declarations. They reported close to 100 percent
compliance and "business as usual."

6. (U) Comment: The phased-in implementation of the proof
of citizenship requirement for travelers on the land border,
just as the phased-in implementation of the passport
requirement last year for air travelers, seems to have
avoided the problems and delays many had anticipated. CBP
has been able to keep the traffic and trade flowing, while at
the same time encouraging people to get the required
documentation. The purposefully vague ending date for
phased-in implementation of the proof of citizenship
requirement will likely spur travelers to get such proof.

Visit Canada,s Economy and Environment Forum at
http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/can ada

BREESE

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