The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) has announced enhanced screening procedures at Canadian airports (in the pre-clearance areas). DHS said that “in light of evaluated intelligence,” it was deemed necessary to implement enhanced security measures for all commercial flights to the United States. NEXUS Card holders get to use special automated kiosks and often do not have to speak with a U.S. Customs officer before heading to their U.S. bound flight. This might not be the case during the enhanced screening. More importantly, if a NEXUS Card holder frustrates a U.S. Customs officer, he/she might find their NEXUS Card confiscated and cancelled. If a Canadian NEXUS Card holder gets frustrated and talks negatively towards a U.S. Customs officer, he/she might find themselves with a label of “not of good character” and their NEXUS Cards will be cancelled. We have even heard of a case where a customs officer said the person was a “security risk”, but then let them travel without their NEXUS Card.
We have also hard from Canadians and Canadian residents that the U.S Customs officers are taking NEXUS Cards for no reason except “you never should have been approved for one in he first place”. Further explanations are not forthcoming. Was is their name? Was it their birthplace? Was it a recent travel destination? Was it a travel history? Was it a relative or acquaintance? Who knows.
It is time to think carefully about whether you take a laptop or smartphone with you to the United States. If you do not need your laptop, it might be better to not take it. What is on your laptop? What is your recent search history? Are there naked photos on your phone or laptop (too many people who call me have comments that the officers looked at their private photos (naked photos). Do you have photos of the rave you went to? Are you growing pot plants in your backyard and have photos to prove it? People – remove anything on your computer and electronic devices that you do not want a USCBP Officer to see. If you do not need it, don’t have it. Better yet, take a clean laptop without anything saved (if you need to work on your laptop while on vacation or a business trip).
Also, people pack the darndest things in their luggage. If would not show your Grandmother what you have packed, don’t pack it.
Canadians and Canadian residents should not pack Cuban cigars, meat products, fruits and vegetables and a number of other prohibited items when traveling to the United States. Enhanced screening means more people will be screened. The lottery odds of a search will go up.