by Tony Lee 19 Feb 2014
Twenty years after the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), President Barack Obama is set to cut a deal with Mexico's president to ease border restrictions for "trusted" travelers.
The agreement, which is expected to be announced on Wednesday, will reportedly let "frequent international travelers willing to undergo background checks and pay a $100 fee avoid immigration lines and expedite customs declaration when traveling within North America."
In what is being described as a "Three Amigos" one-day summit, Obama will meet with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Mexico.
“There are several national trusted traveler programs already in place like Nexus, Global Entry, Sentry, and in the case of Mexico, Viajero Confiable,” a senior source in the Mexican ministry of foreign affairs told The Guardian. “The three countries will start by mutually recognizing those programs so it will be a matter of putting all the information of those three programs together in order to get a North American trusted traveller program.”
The proposed deal is also "expected to apply to the U.S. borders with both Mexico and Canada" and would "require increased information sharing between national authorities and would likely be carefully scrutinized on Capitol Hill."
There are already at least 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States, and Obama has insisted that Congress pass immigration reform legislation that provides them with a pathway to citizenship, even though the Congressional Budget Office has determined that doing so would lower the wages of American workers.