Letter to the U.S. Senate
The Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002

March 8, 2002

To Members of the United States Senate:

We urge you to help bring S. 1749 to the floor, the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002 sponsored by Senators Kennedy, Brownback, Feinstein, and Kyl. In December, the House passed H.R. 3525, the companion measure, by voice vote. The
Senate should quickly follow suit.

Almost six months have passed since the September 11 terrorist attacks. Since that time we, like the rest of the nation, have focused on how to enhance our nation’s security through constructive changes to our immigration policies. This legislation takes a significant step in
ensuring that our nation’s immigration policies are in line with our common goal of effectively deterring terrorism. It includes many long overdue reforms that will deter terrorism by developing layers of protection both outside and within the U.S., and help our country increase its intelligence capacity. It provides authorization for increased funding to support additional personnel and technology at our border agencies, mandates better cooperation among border agencies, and encourages further cooperation on a North American Security Perimeter with Canada and Mexico. The bill requires new and advance information sharing between the private sector and government agencies, and enhances the use of biometrics in our visas
and passports.

While we support all of these efforts, we are aware that this bill also poses significant challenges to the agencies and Congress to implement new technologies and processes in very short deadlines. Congress must allocate adequate, ongoing resources to ensure that these deadlines are met and new systems are properly maintained and updated into the future. Reliance on user fees will not be adequate for this national security priority. Furthermore, if it proves impossible to meet the deadlines in this legislation, Congress must be willing to revisit them to ensure that the legitimate cross-border flow of people, commerce and goods can continue, or our economic security may be jeopardized.

Given the importance of this measure, we urge its swift passage in the Senate and signature by the President. For our part, we in the private sector pledge to work closely with Congress and the agencies to ensure swift and effective implementation of these needed reforms.

Sincerely,

American Council on International Personnel
American Hotel & Lodging Association
American Immigration Lawyers Association
American Trucking Associations
Bellingham (WA) City Council
Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Bellingham Whatcom Economic Development Council
Border Trade Alliance
Canadian/American Border Trade Alliance
Detroit Regional Chamber
Eastman Kodak Company
Fresh Produce Association of the Americas
Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce
Greater Houston Partnership
International Mass Retail Association
International Trade Alliance of Spokane, WA
National Alliance of Gateway Communities
National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds
National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America
National Retail Federation
National Tour Association
Pacific Corridor Enterprise Council (PACE)
Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce
Quebec-New York Corridor Coalition
Southeast Tourism Society
The National Industrial Transportation League
Travel Industry Association of America
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Western States Tourism Policy Council