What Homeland Security Agencies Need to Think about “Brexit”
Finally, although several DHS agencies collaborate with the EU on special projects, the UK’s role and commitments on those projects only need to be redefined administratively. Projects for the UK’s consideration to remain a part of include:
- The Administrative Agreement between the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the EU to enhance disaster reliance and reduce disaster risk
- The Mutual Recognition Decisions from Customs and Border Protection and the Transportation Security Administration on the compatibility of the EU and U.S. cargo security programs
- The partnership between Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations and Europol in The Hague
Although our “special relationship” ally could face the brunt of incoming economic or political hardships, DHS should not need to prepare for drastic changes to travel/immigration flows, American POEs, or interagency work. With the possibility of other nations deciding to leave the EU, an analytic look at international events early on can better prepare Homeland Security agencies to face any future impacts.
On June 23, the United Kingdom (UK) voted in a historic national referendum to leave the European Union (EU). Although the decision has already placed stress on the economies and policies of the UK, Europe, and other parts of the world, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is not likely to see major effects on U.S. immigration, travel, or collaboration with the EU.
The U.S. handles most immigration and travel concerns on an individual country basis, rather than a regional one. A European traveling to the U.S. needs to use a passport from the nation where he or she is a citizen. Therefore, “Brexit” or not, only UK citizens receive a UK passport, meaning that only citizens (not residents) of the UK could qualify to travel to the U.S. under the visa waiver program.
U.S. ports of entry (POEs) also would not see major travel disruptions because customs and border officials handle travel of UK citizens based on nationality, not as a determinant of status in the EU. Although the change is expected to cause disruptions at UK POEs and possibly affect the price and efficiency of flights between the UK and other European nations, the security of flights from the UK to the U.S. should not be affected.