Schumer urges Canadian government to implement customs pre-clearance at Falls station

Jan 13, 2020

Senator Charles Schumer appeared Monday morning at the Niagara Falls rail station, which he stated was designed to handle pre-clearance for rail passengers heading into Canada. He's urging government and customs officials in Canada to move forward and implement such a program.

Schumer pointed to nearby Toronto and its significant economic opportunities, then suggested Niagara Falls, New York is the logical gateway to that market and its potential.

A view of the Amtrak Station in Niagara Falls, New York.
Credit Chris Caya, WBFO

"And if we had pre-clearance, that gateway could be used a lot more easily, creating economic growth, bringing dollars, bringing jobs and money to the entire Western New York economy," he said.

In 2016, Congress passed the Promoting Travel, Commerce and National Security Act, expanding U.S. jurisdiction over the U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel who work on the Canadian side of the border. Ottawa passed similar legislation in 2017.

Schumer says those laws clear the the way for easier cross-border travel, and says it takes Canadian action to make it possible.

"Amtrak agrees and is also on board with this," the senator said. "The same Canadian customs agents who clear the Maple Leaf Amtrak train on the Canadian side (would) simply come across the bridge, clear the train in New York and then go back. It's only 350 meters apart."

Schumer says the City of Niagara Falls and Niagara Falls Bridge Commission are also in support of moving ahead with pre-clearance.