Anyone who has ever experienced entering the United States, as a part of keeping our country safe, has had to go through customs. While this process can be bothersome, no one wants to wait in line and have their things ruffled through after a 9-hour transatlantic flight, it is a crucial part of keeping U.S. borders secure and its citizens safe.
If Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has anything to say about it, this process will extend well beyond U.S. borders. Secretary Johnson announced last week that the United States will be entering negotiations with airports across the world in an effort to establish preclearance stations that will allow travelers to the United States to go through the customs process prior to reaching U.S. soil.
Secretary Johnson believes that these preclearance stations will provide an additional level of security for United States citizens, preventing threats from ever entering in the first place. Alongside this, the often congested lines and overworked customs officials at American airports will see their wait times significantly reduced as more and more travelers will receive their clearance overseas
Over the course of a year, foreign airports were solicited for their interest in establishing preclearance stations. Government officials then prioritized airports that expressed interest in opening facilities based on the interests of U.S. shareholders and the ability to support and facilitate appropriate travel and security.
Johnson’s preclearance announcement is part of a greater effort over the past year to enhance and promote the American tourism industry. The current administration has been responsible for decreased waiting times for countries like China, India, and Brazil, which frequently see travelers to the United states, in the hopes of attracting more visitors. However, security is of the utmost importance, and preclearance facilities like the ones Johnson hopes to establish will be an important part of balancing this process.