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Sunday, May 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Border Entry to Be Eased for Security Contractors

WASHINGTON (CN) - U.S. Customs and Border Protection wants to exempt planes and ships used by the Department of Defense from port of entry declarations and arrival requirements.

While the new rules would not lift immigration controls, they would allow security contractors travelling on military flights or ships to avoid CBP arrival declarations and entry requirements.

The proposed rules would exempt any vessel or plane travelling under the control of the Defense Transportation System.

The Defense Transportation System is the global logistics network used by the U.S. military and other government agencies to support the mission of the Department of Defense.

Current rules exempt entry and arrival requirements for ships owned or operated by the U.S. government, that are manned by government employees, or civilians under contract to the government, and are transporting property owned by the government and passengers traveling on official business.

Airplane arrivals are covered under a more complex set of rules: If the plane is owned by the government and the passengers are traveling on official business, the plane is exempt form entry requirements but its arrival still has to be declared. Cargo transported on such planes is only exempted if all of the cargo on the plane is owned by the government.

The new rules would extend exemptions to aircraft and ships chartered by the government and traveling within the Defense Transportation System, regardless of the cargo or passenger list, so long as the transportation was in support of official business.

The Defense Department says that current regulations impede the flow of cargo and passengers moved in support of U.S. government missions.

For example, the department says the requirements slow down the transportation of contractor owned cargo used to support DoD missions, personal property of military members, humanitarian cargo and security assistance cargo.

The CBP says the changes would not compromise border security because all planes and ships operating in the Defense Transportation System are subject to the same security procedures regardless of who is on board or what entity actually owns the ship or plane.

The public has until April 9 to comment on the proposed rules.

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