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U.S. border agents to work on Canadian soil for pilot project

canada border.jpg
U.S. Customs and Border Protection

The federal government announced a pilot project Wednesday to pre-inspect some trucks before they cross into the U.S. from Canada.

The proposed project will have U.S. officers working on Canadian soil. The ultimate goal is to reduce congestion and wait times at busy border crossings.

Michelle James, U.S. Customs and Border Protection field operations director in Seattle, says Canada has agreed to allow U.S. officers to staff a new inspection booth amongst the cargo trucks queuing at the Pacific Highway crossing near Blaine, Washington.

"What we're trying to do is identify if we do the pre-inspection in advance on the Canadian side, if there's no exam, can we allow for that truck to flow through that port without having to stop? In the end, what that may allow us to do is have less congestion at the border itself,” she said.

James says her agency will try cargo pre-inspection experimentally for about six months, then reevaluate.

There's plenty of precedent for stationing customs and immigration officers on foreign soil. If you've come home from British Columbia by train, ferry or airliner lately, you probably went through U.S. passport control in Canada. 

Tom Banse covers national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reports from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events are unfolding. Tom's stories can be found online and heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

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