WHEREAS, it is estimated that approximately 475,000 jobs in New England are supported by trade with Canada; and
WHEREAS, in 1996, over 13 million vehicles crossed the New England-Canada land border. Over 85% of US-Canada trade is conducted via truck. Trade constitutes a major component of this traffic, as does tourism. In addition, and particularly in the northern parts of New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine, as well as southern Quebec and New Brunswick, some crossings are just representative of residents' ordinary dining, shopping, and entertainment habits; and
WHEREAS, in April, 1997 President Clinton and Prime Minister Chrétien signed a series of agreements based on the 1995 Shared Boarder Accord and Open Skies Agreement which will modernize and streamline US/Canada border crossings. These agreements build upon the tradition of cooperation to facilitate the movements of legitimate travelers and goods while enhancing protection against illegal activities; and
WHEREAS, unless it is changed, Section 110, of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, under which every vehicle would be required to stop upon exist of, and entry into, the US to document every non-US citizen, will take effect in October, 1998 at all points of entry (air, land, sea); and
WHEREAS, under Section 110, the resulting congestion at key border crossings will be so intolerable that is will choke bilateral trade and tourism, undermine US production lines dependent upon "just in time" delivery schedules, and discourage thousands of consumers from making daily trips across the border; and
WHEREAS, HR 2955 (The Border Improvement and Immigration Act of 1997) would limit the provisions of Section 110 to air and sea points of entry, and would exclude the land borders; and
WHEREAS, S1360, The Border Improvement and Immigration Act of 1998, which is analogous to the HR 2955 and has gained considerable support; and
WHEREAS, it would appear that the S1360 in the Senate, and the HR 2955 in the House would eliminate the forthcoming problems caused by Section 110.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers pledge to work vigorously and cooperatively through their secretariats, the New England Governors' Conference and the Eastern Canadian Secretariat, to encourage their respective federal legislatures and governments to remove any requirement to implement entry-exit control beyond airports and instead study the issue before any potentially onerous requirements are placed in law.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the secretariats report on progress taken at the next annual meeting of the Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers.
Adopted at The 23rd Annual Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers, June 7-9, 1998.
_____________________________Premier Camille Thériault
_____________________________Governor Jeanne Shaheen