U.S. lawmakers back Taiwan’s bid for border preclearance program

Washington-Nine members of the U.S. Congress have jointly written to the Customs authority in support of Taiwan's application to join the U.S. border preclearance program, which would expedite travel to the U.S. from its main international airport.

The group of five senators and four members of the House of Representatives led by Republican Senator Marco Rubio co-signed the letter to Troy Miller, acting commissioner for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the Department of Homeland Security.

"It is our understanding that Taiwan has submitted a formal application to CBP for preclearance at Taoyuan International Airport. We urge your full and fair consideration of Taiwan's application," the lawmakers wrote in the letter dated March 25.

Congress has funded preclearance facilities as they ease travel for both U.S. citizens and foreigners flying into the United States, they said.

By conducting immigration and customs screening at the point of departure, CBP preclearance can stop travelers who are inadmissible to the U.S. before they board their flight, while legitimate travelers are able to bypass long waiting lines upon arrival, according to the letter.

They noted that all of the current preclearance facilities abroad are located in Canada, the Caribbean, Europe and the Middle East.

"Taiwan is an outstanding choice for the next CBP preclearance facility" because the Indo-Pacific region is a critical region for the economic future of the United States, they argued.

"Taoyuan International Airport already hosts numerous non-stop flights to the United States, and is a major transit point in Asia," they pointed out. "Taiwan is America's ninth-largest trading partner and its government strongly supports Taoyuan airport's bid for the preclearance facility program."

Currently, CBP has more than 600 officers and agriculture specialists stationed at 16 preclearance locations in six countries, most of which are in Canada, along with several in Ireland, the Bahamas, Bermuda and the United Arab Emirates, according to the CBP website.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel