For over 15 years, a loophole has meant that every day, over 1.3 million packages shipped into the United States from abroad go mostly unchecked for dangerous and illegal contents. As we work to keep America safe from toxic opioids or terrorist attacks, this security gap is leaving our communities and families vulnerable to drug traffickers and foreign bad actors mailing dangerous material into the country. Packages sent to the U.S. via the global postal system, and delivered by the U.S. Postal Service, were previously not required to include advance electronic data, or AED, basic security information that Customs and Border Protection and other law enforcement agencies need to screen and stop dangerous shipments. Foreign packages sent via private carriers, on the other hand, have been required to include AED since 2002.
This loophole has allowed illegal drugs, counterfeit goods, and other unsafe packages to make their way into our neighborhoods undetected. As both a national security issue and a public health threat, this gaping hole creates an easy path for children and others to go online and access deadly opioids like fentanyl that have fueled the national health epidemic – and has caused drug traffickers to see the postal service as their delivery network of choice. It also allows terrorists and other bad actors to potentially ship weapons or explosives to our communities and homes. And U.S. businesses are confronting an influx of counterfeit medicine and other goods that make their way into the country through the global postal system.
The recently passed Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act, which was signed into law by President Trump in October 2018, is helping put an end to this loophole by mandating AED on all foreign packages, including those delivered by the U.S. Postal Service.
Over 1.3 million packages enter the U.S. from foreign countries every day without adequate advance electronic data for law enforcement to screen high-risk material.
Under the Trade Act of 2002, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection required AED on all packages entering the U.S., but this requirement was not implemented on packages shipped via foreign postal services. The Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS) system took another step to bolster the data program by specifically targeting dangerous goods. While the private sector quickly conformed, foreign posts again have did not implement these steps.
The STOP Act mandates AED on all packages entering the U.S., including those delivered by foreign posts.
With the rise of e-commerce, it is easier than ever to get goods from abroad with the click of a button. But drug traffickers, terrorists and foreign bad actors are exploiting the global postal system and putting lives at risk. We want to cut off the drug pipeline in the global postal system that is fueling the nationwide opioid epidemic and allowing incredibly potent drugs like fentanyl into our homes. We want to close this loophole that’s harming U.S. small businesses by letting foreign bad actors ship in unchecked counterfeit goods. And we need to make sure that foreign posts are playing by our security rules when shipping packages that will ultimately be delivered into our communities. That means requiring AED on all foreign packages.
The Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act will help reach this goal by mandating AED on all international packages. The law lays out clear deadlines to ensure comprehensive AED is achieved in a timely manner, with oversight from Congress and federal agencies. It’s now vital that our government ensures the law is implemented as designed so that this dangerous loophole can finally be closed.