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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 17, 2004

Schumer: Major Breakthrough In Quest For Shared Border Plan At The Peace Bridge

Top Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials today agreed to Schumer plan to achieve Senator's long standing goal of shared border management at the Peace Bridge

After Schumer’s urging, DHS high ranking officials at the worked with Canadian Deputy Prime Minister’s office on new customs plan for the bridge

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge and Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan have agreed to a plan for shared border management at the Peace Bridge that would involve the re-location of all US primary and secondary border operations for both commercial and passenger traffic from Buffalo to Fort Erie. Schumer has for years led the charge to bring top US and Canadian officials together to achieve this plan.

"This is the best news we've had on the Peace Bridge front in a very long time," Schumer said. "It will allow the Peace Bridge to move forward without major destruction of homes and parkland in Buffalo and provide for a safe, speedy and secure crossing that will be a model for the nation. This is something I pushed very hard for and I want to thank the White House and Homeland Security for giving us what we need."

Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan today agreed to the following plan regarding shared border management at the Peace Bridge: Issuance of a framework to put land pre-clearance in place at the Buffalo-Fort-Erie Peace Bridge and at one other border crossing. The pre-clearance pilot at the Peace Bridge would involve the re-location of all U.S. primary and secondary border operations for both commercial and passenger traffic from Buffalo to Fort Erie. At the second pilot site, Canadian border functions will be moved to the U.S. side of the border, with the two Governments actively exploring crossings where this may be suitable, such as the Thousand Islands Bridge or Queenston-Lewiston.

The finalization of Canadian and U.S. regulations for the Safe Third Country Agreement. Implementation of the Agreement at the Canada-United States land border will follow shortly; the decision to expand U.S. pre-clearance facilities to the Halifax International Airport as soon as the construction of the necessary infrastructure is completed; and The expansion of the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program to seven new high volume commercial crossings along the land border.

“Our two governments have heard the call for urgent implementation of land pre-clearance from American and Canadian stakeholders alike. We are responding today by issuing a framework to put pre-clearance in place at the Peace Bridge and at another location along the land border. This initiative is a true testimony of how our two countries are working together to create a more modern, secure and efficient border,” said Secretary Ridge.

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