On June 3, DHS announced that it had completed an agreement with France to implement the Immigration Advisory Program (IAP) at the Charles De Gaulle International Airport in Paris. When Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers are deployed later this summer, Paris will join Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Tokyo and Seoul (among other locations) as places where the IAP operates.
The IAP enables the identification of high-risk travelers at foreign airports before they board aircraft bound for the United States. In effect, CBP officers stationed in the airport pre-screen travelers and make boarding recommendations to the host authorities. Some of these travelers may not be on watchlists but present other risk factors indicating the need for additional scrutiny.
One of IAP’s key objectives, for example, is to reduce the number of improperly documented passengers traveling from or through a country to the United States. To that end, IAP officers can interview the traveler at check-in to determine if he or she is the lawful bearer of the document or if there is fraud involved. In this way, IAP not only enhances security; it saves millions of dollars. The government avoids the costs associated with removal proceedings, and the airline avoids penalties and the costs of transporting the traveler back to the originating airport.
Not surprisingly, the airports at which IAP has a presence are global transit hubs. DHS should continue to work with these partners to export best security practices and standards more widely. For example, selected hubs (and host governments) could be offered the opportunity to participate in Registered Traveler programs, deploy interoperable screening technologies and collaborate on flights of mutual interest. Such cooperation would ultimately enable the United States and its partners to build a distributed border screening network that minimizes the ability of terrorists, criminals and illegal aliens to take advantage of stove-piped national border screening programs.