About ‘Americans for Better Borders’

The Issue

America’s borders — land, sea and air — are our primary ports of entry for billions of dollars in goods and services, along with millions of tourists, business visitors, workers, and other foreign nationals who contribute to our national economy. The events of September 11 also indicate that some have used our borders as an entryway for these evil and malicious attacks. As a result, many have called for increased checks and “tightening” of our borders. While such proposals are understandable, and improvements are clearly needed, difficult questions remain about the potential severe impact to our economy of any improperly conceived system that does not deal realistically with the vast amount of legitimate traffic, including goods and people that cross our borders daily.

The Solution

We believe that our borders can and should be a line of defense against those who pose security threats to this country, but borders must also allow for legitimate commerce and travel. Efficient allocation and use of technology, personnel, and infrastructure resources can achieve both of these goals.

Congress and the border agencies under the Department of Homeland Security┬áneed to evaluate any new measures implemented at the border for their potential negative impact on legitimate commerce while maintaining the need for security. Managing the traffic flows by creating secure but expedited processes for low-risk cargo and passengers, using technology systems to “pre-clear” vehicles and passengers before reaching the borders, and investigating joint clearance processes with our northern and southern neighbors are ideas to be considered. And any system devised must be provided with adequate and sustained funding to ensure proper development, implementation, maintenance, and growth into the future.

The Coalition

To this end, the U.S. Chamber founded the Americans for Better Borders coalition. The purpose of the Americans for Better Borders coalition is to unite regional business organizations and a wide array of companies and national trade associations representing manufacturing, hospitality, tourism, transportation, recreation and other industry sectors to work to ensure the efficient flow of exports and tourism across our borders while addressing national security concerns. The ABB was originally founded in 1998 and was successful in achieving a workable compromise on Section 110 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.

ABB will be involved in lobbying Congress and working with the Administration on new initiatives for border inspections by the Department of Homeland Security to improve the security and efficiency of our borders.

To join the coalition, contact Angelo Amador at AAmador@USChamber.com.