Summary: H.R.998 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Reported to Senate with amendment(s) (12/15/2015)

Preclearance Authorization Act of 2015

(Sec. 3) This bill authorizes the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), if there is a valid aviation security preclearance agreement, to establish U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) preclearance operations in a foreign country to:

  • prevent terrorists, instruments of terrorism, and other security threats from entering the United States;
  • prevent inadmissible persons from entering the United States;
  • ensure merchandise destined for the United States complies with applicable U.S. customs laws; and
  • ensure the prompt processing of persons eligible to travel to the United States.

(Sec. 4) At least 60 days before an agreement to establish CBP preclearance operations in a foreign country becomes valid, DHS shall provide Congress with a copy of the agreement as well as other information on CBP preclearance operations.

The establishment of preclearance operations at an airport in a foreign country under an agreement shall be conditioned on the requirements that:

  • at least one U.S. passenger carrier operates at the airport, and
  • the access of all U.S. passenger carriers to those preclearance operations is the same as the access of any non-U.S. passenger carrier.

The CBP shall report quarterly to Congress on:

  • the number of CBP officers assigned from U.S. ports of entry to preclearance operations; and
  • the number of positions at U.S. ports of entry vacated by CBP officers that have been filled by other hired, trained, and equipped CBP officers.

At least 60 days after a determination that CBP processing times have significantly increased at U.S. ports of entry from which CBP officers were reassigned to preclearance operations, if the vacated positions have not been filled, the CBP shall submit to Congress an implementation plan for reducing processing times at such U.S. ports.

(Sec. 5) The Transportation Security Administration shall rescreen in the United States passengers and their property before they are permitted into sterile areas of U.S. airports if they have come from an airport in a foreign country that has failed to maintain security and protocols comparable to those of the United States.

(Sec. 6) DHS may not enter into an agreement with a foreign country to establish or maintain CBP preclearance operations at an airport in that country unless it certifies that the foreign government:

  • routinely submits information about lost and stolen passports of its citizens and nationals to INTERPOL's Stolen and Lost Travel Document database, or
  • makes such information available to the United States through another comparable means of reporting.

(Sec. 7) The CBP may enter into cost-sharing agreements with airports in foreign countries where preclearance operations have been established if:

  • an executive agreement establishing such operations has been signed but not yet entered into force; and
  • CBP has incurred, or expects to incur, initial preclearance operations costs.

(Sec. 8) The Immigration and Nationality Act is amended to authorize the Department of Justice to receive in advance reimbursement for the costs of immigration inspection services provided at an airport.

The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 is amended similarly to authorize the Department of Agriculture to collect in advance the costs for preclearance operations with respect to animals or articles entering into the United States.

(Sec. 9) Except for sections 5, 7, and 8, this bill shall only apply to the establishment of preclearance operations in a foreign country in which no preclearance operations have been established as of the date of the enactment of this bill.