Parliament ponders letting US immigration strip-search Canadians in Canadian airports, force them to explain immigration withdrawals

The current pre-clearance rules for Canadians being processed through US immigration at Canadian airports limit the powers of US immigration officials, preventing them from strip-searching Canadians (they can ask Canadian border guards to do it, but if the Canadian guards refuse, they're out of luck) and giving Canadians the ability to turn around and leave the immigration area, returning to Canada, if they don't like the way they're being treated by the US guards.

But under new rules that were first mooted in a joint agreement between former PM Harper and former President Obama, US border officials at Canadian airports would gain the power to require Canadians to identify themselves and explain why they were withdrawing their application to cross the border; and they would be allowed to strip-search Canadians even if Canadian officials felt there was no need to do so.

These rules are codified in Bill C-23, which is expected to clear Parliament with support from the ruling Liberal Party, despite the chaos and erratic treatment Canadians received after the sudden institution of Trump's Muslim Ban.

Greene and Greenberg diverge on how Trump's arrival in the Oval Office should affect the debate on C-23.

For Greene, it means Canada needs to reconsider the concessions in the bill it drafted when Obama was in power.

"They want to do their interdiction abroad because it's easier to stop people from coming in if they don't even set foot on American soil. We get that. But they are operating on our soil, so they do need to respect our rights in doing so."

While Greenberg agrees the law has troubling aspects, he says it may be the price Canadians have to pay to keep their uniquely privileged status when entering the U.S.

Pre-clearance bill would give U.S. border agents in Canada new powers [CBC]

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