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, a security loophole 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, are 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, must include AED.
This loophole allows 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.
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 should require AED on all packages entering the U.S., but they currently do not when these packages are 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 yet to implement these steps.
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.