America’s northern border is 3,987 miles long, running from Maine to Washington, with 1,538 more additional miles running between Alaska and Canada. It is the longest international border in the world, more than twice as long as our 1954-mile southern border with Mexico. Nevertheless, our southern border receives considerably more attention than does its northern border: there are 18,156 Border Patrol agents (9.1 per mile) covering the southern border and 2,093 Border Patrol agents (0.4 per mile) covering the northern border.
The greater attention to our southern border is reportedly due to more security threats on the border with Mexico, including criminal and immigration issues. However, the northern border has significant issues of its own, including alien smuggling, drug trafficking, and international crime.
The northern border is patrolled by 8 Border Patrol sectors that handle all but the ports of entry. The ports of entry, including airports, seaports, major roads and highways, are handled by U. S. Customs. Both agencies work for U. S. Customs and Border Protection, created in 2003 as part of the Department of Homeland Security.
The MacDonald-Laurier Institute, a Canadian organization studying northern border issues for over a decade, asserts that there are quite a few large security gaps in our northern border security. According to spokesperson Laura R. Dawson, “[T]he best way to get in[to the U. S.] is basically by impersonating a Canadian or using some of the privileges Canada has or exploiting some of the gaps that exist simply because there aren’t the resources to govern the space any better.” Ms. Dawson likens the northern border to a long balloon: if the balloon is squeezed (secured) in one spot, the air (criminals) simply move to another spot along the border.
In fact, I was raised near the Canadian border and can recall walking into Canada on the Mohawk reservation straddling the northern border. The only indication of crossing into Canada was crossed lacrosse sticks at the side of the road. I haven’t checked on it lately but at one time, crossing to and from Canada was just that easy, and since that point is within the reservation, it might still be that simple.
Alarmed by the lack of security, some lawmakers representing areas near the northern border are calling for Congressional threat assessments and greater security for an area which is a sieve for illegal aliens, drug trafficking and other criminal enterprises.
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