Customs Service proposes changes to give same-sex couples equality — and save money

Deputy Secretary Jane Holl Lute

Department of Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Jane Holl Lute on Tuesday released a proposal to expand joint Customs declarations. The proposal would allow same-sex couples to file one form at ports of entry — saving time, making borders safer and saving the government money.

Yes, sometimes discrimination is just plain expensive.

“The proposed update addresses when members of a family residing in one household and traveling together on their return to the U.S. may make a joint declaration for all members of the family,” Lute wrote in a press release sent to Dallas Voice. “We anticipate that expanding the definition of ‘members of a family residing in one household’ will reduce the amount of paperwork and time that CBP officers would need to review during inspection and, therefore, facilitate passenger processing.”

Streamlining the procedure could result in $2 million in savings.

With the time saved, officers could pay more attention to people who pose actual threats.

In a Facebook discussion of the new proposal, one gay man said he already files joint Customs declarations with his partner and their two children and has had no problem entering the country as a family.

—  David Taffet

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In June we learned about a gay New Zealand customs officer who enjoyed strip searching travelers a little too much, at least according to co-workers Glenn Rankin and John Smith, who lost their jobs after being accused of speaking to the press about the matter. Well, they're back at work now.

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