We have heard a number of reports that the United States Department of Homeland Security is notifying Canadian NEXUS Card holders with dual nationality from certain countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen) that their NEXUS Membership has been cancelled because they “no longer meet eligibility criteria”. There may be other nationalities as well – we do not know. We are informed by some of the individuals that they have not traveled to the United States recently – so this is not happening at the border. The decision is being made behind the scenes so to speak. Assuming that the individuals have not recently breached a customs law, have not breached an immigration law or committed a crime (been arrested or charged or convicted), the reason for the cancellation of the NEXUS Membership must be that the individual has been deemed by the United States to not be of “good character”.
The phrase “good character” is not defined in legislation or regulations. Generally speaking, the “good character” criteria is invoked if a person has been arrested, charged or convicted of a criminal offence. It is also used by U.S. customs and Border Protection to confiscate NEXUS Cards when they feel that a person has not been truthful when answering their questions. Canada has confiscated NEXUS Cards “on not of good character grounds” when a person has failed to declare $CDN10,000 in currency or when a person breaches a non-customs or immigration law.
There are many Canadian business persons who travel regularly for business and the NEXUS Card is a valuable asset to them. At any time, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer can refer a NEXUS traveler for further inspection. The NEXUS/Global Entry kiosks randomly select NEXUS Card holders for secondary inspection and questioning. As a result, having a NEXUS Card does not mean that you always are permitted entry the United States without any screening.
It must be remembered that when a person applies for NEXUS Membership, they complete an application form and provide detailed information about work history, travel history, places of residence, etc. Individuals are vetted by the Government of Canada and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security before a NEXUS Membership is granted. Individuals must attend an interview conducted by both the Canada Border Services Agency and U.S Customs and Border Protection before a NEXUS Card will be issued. If the United States is now revoking NEXUS Memberships, this can only mean that they are revisiting their earlier analysis about individuals and the new administration is questioning the work done previously by Canadian and U.S. officials.
If the United States is revoking NEXUS Memberships of individuals of various nationalities and taking the position that they are “not of good character” if they were born in a particular country, that is wrong and Canada should intervene.
For more information about NEXUS Memberships, please contact Cyndee Todgham Cherniak at 416-307-4168 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, please go to the LexSage website where many Guidances are posted about the NEXUS Program and how to appeal a NEXUS Card confiscation.