Users report a kinder, gentler NEXUS experience

Published on Thu, Feb 21, 2008 by Meg Olson

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Users report a kinder, gentler NEXUS experience

By Meg Olson

Policies may not have changed, but practices at the border may be signs of a softer touch in the administration of the NEXUS trusted traveler program.

CBP public information officer Tom Schreiber said there had been no substantive change in policy: the decision to grant or restore NEXUS privileges rests with the enrollment center in Williston, Vermont, which has been processing all NEXUS applications since an online enrollment system went into operation in August 2007.

There is no formal appeal process if membership is denied or revoke but information published on the CBP website encourages those who wish to contest a denial or revocation to make an appointment at a local enrollment center to speak with a supervisor or appeal in writing to their trusted traveler ombudsman in Vermont.

Shreiber said in the last two months the vacant ombudsman position was filled by Linda Longway, which may have streamlined how appeals are handled. Longway declined to comment and referred questions to Ted Wu at the CBP Boston Field Office. He was unavailable.

Specifically in the case or NEXUS revocations, Schreiber said, the first avenue of appeal was the officer who decides to take a card from a program member. “In making that decision it was actually an exercise of discretion based upon guidelines and policy,” he said.

The officer could issue a verbal warning if he felt the violation was not serious enough to take the card, Schreiber said, citing as an example a parent whose child had forgotten their lunch in the back seat. NEXUS has been described in the past as a zero-tolerance program, which has drawn criticism as too rigid for the program to thrive for average users.
Meeting with an enrollment supervisor to explain the circumstances of a violation was the next step once a card had been revoked, Schreiber said.

“Further information will be processed according to local procedures,” he said.

A recommendation will then be forwarded to the enrollment center in Vermont.

Written requests can also be sent to Longway, at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 300 Interstate Corporate Center Suite 303, Williston, VT 05495, Attention: CBP Ombudsman.