Customs and Border Protection to change definition of “household”

The federal government is getting more progressive.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that same sex couples will receive the same courtesies as heterosexual couples at airports, ports and border crossings starting next month. Specifically, CBP is becoming much more liberal about what constitutes a “household.” Under the new definition, a household includes:

  • Two adults who are in a committed relationship including, but not limited to, long-term companions and couples in civil unions or domestic partnerships where the partners are financially interdependent, and are not married to, or a partner of, anyone else.

Interestingly, this is being spun in part as a cost saving move. “CBP expects this process streamlining to save up to $2.8 million annually in personnel time while maintaining the highest standards of security.

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Authorities seize 215 fake Rolex, Cartier, Omega and Louis Vuitton watches at LAX

Federal officials seized 215 fake watches at LAX on August 8. Photos courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Federal officials seized 215 fake watches at LAX on August 8. Photos courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Los Angeles International Airport seized 215 luxury counterfeit watches in early August, including ones purportedly made by Rolex, Cartier, Omega and Louis Vuitton, federal officials said Tuesday.

The watches were found Aug. 8 after they arrived from China as air cargo. The goods were listed on a shipment manifest as watches with a declared value of $173 and a weight of 68 pounds. Customs officers assigned to LAX inspected the cargo and found the apparently name-brand watches, officials said. Authorities did not say which airline the watches flew.

Had the watches been real, they would have been worth roughly $1.25 million, customs officials said.

According to officials, watches and jewelry represent about 8 percent of the total number of seizes made annually by U.S. customs officers nationwide.

Take a look at these pictures. Can you tell they’re fake watches?

watch2

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Airlines for America criticizes proposed U.S. customs facility in Abu Dhabi

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is considering building a facility in Abu Dhabi. But Airlines for America is considered that would give an unfair advantage to foreign carriers like Etihad Airways.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is considering building a facility in Abu Dhabi. But U.S. airlines are concerned that would give an unfair advantage to foreign carriers such as Etihad Airways.

Should U.S. Customs and Border Protection be allowed to install a pre-clearance facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport?

No, says Airlines for America, the major lobbying group for U.S. carriers. And with a new campaign, the group is making its views very clear. The group says the facility would give an unfair advantage to foreign airlines.

Under the proposal, the government of the United Arab Emirates would reimburse customs for the cost of running the facility. It’s potentially worth it for the UAE because it would make flights to the United States considerably more convenient. As they do elswhere, including in Canada, Ireland and Aruba, customs would clear passengers in Abu Dhabi, rather than in the United States. (A full list of pre-clearance airports is available on wikipedia.)

When flights from those airports arrive in the United States, they’re essentially treated like domestic flights. Passengers tend to like pre-clearance because it  means  no crazy customs lines after long flights. 

But U.S. carriers generally don’t fly to Abu Dhabi, so they wouldn’t benefit. Instead, the new system would help Etihad Airways, which operates the bulk of international flights there.

Airlines for America doesn’t like that.

“The establishment of this facility in Abu Dhabi primarily benefits only a foreign emirate and its wholly owned national carrier, giving it a competitive advantage over U.S. airlines, their employees, and their customers who pay $1.5 billion in annual user fees,” Airlines for America wrote on its website.

A4A, as it is commonly called, has created a full website to criticize the proposal. You can find it at: http://www.drawthelinehere.com/

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