Northern Border Security Shouldn’t Be Forgotten
Michael Cutler

The issue of securing our border with Mexico has received much attention over the past several years, and deservedly so. Mexico is a nation that suffers from corruption, poverty, and extreme levels of crime, involving violence and drugs. These extreme levels of violence (especially in towns close to the U.S. border) are cause for concern for citizens and law enforcement agencies alike.

Yet there are other border concerns that deserve our attention.

New regulations are about to be implemented by DHS requiring people seeking to enter the United States from Canada to be in possession of certain identity documents to ascertain their identities as well as their citizenship. Canada is also beefing up its security measures by more stringently enforcing its laws that deny entry into Canada those Americans who have arrest records. Clearly the Canadian government is concerned about who is being admitted into their country and the impact that the entry of aliens into Canada may have on public safety.

Last year is it is estimated that $45 billion were wired from the United States to Latin America and the Caribbean. Clearly, Mexico and the unsecured border our countries share is of great historical concern as are the numerous reports of armed uniformed intruders crossing our borders, apparently protecting massive drug loads.

Canada, on the other hand, is a nation that is trustworthy and a true ally of the United States. When I worked for the former INS, I spent nearly 4 years assigned to the Uniformed Intelligence Division at the Drug Enforcement Administration's New York Field Office. The RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) provided a representative who was highly respected and valued by all of us who were assigned to that office. The integrity of the Canadian government and their law enforcement officials was never challenged. We had complete trust in them, and that trust was fully warranted.

However, we also know that because of the comparatively liberal political asylum policies of Canada, it is believed that a number of terrorist organizations have managed to gain entrance to that nation to our north. Don't misunderstand me; the United States has members of terrorist organizations living within its borders as well. But it’s critical that our nation do more to make certain that when people cross the border that separates the United States from Canada, that we do a better job of screening them. The new system may be inconvenient – however, there a terrorist attack would be of far greater inconvenience.

So many congressmen and senators demanded to know why no one had connected the dots before 9/11. For example, New York Senator Chuck Schumer insisted upon knowing why not all shipping containers entering our seaports were being inspected. Yes it’s important that everything to screen cargo be done. However, the biggest concern is if terrorists gain entry, as weapons would be useless without anyone to operate them.

The documentation requirement for entering the U.S. from Canada has been in the works for years and is finally being implemented. Yet so many measures that are vital to national security are still being debated and proposed.

Security measures do represent an inconvenience, but in this day and age, I would rather err on the side of caution. We sometimes inadvertently lock ourselves out of our homes, but who would suggest that we not lock our front doors so we aren’t inconvenienced later?

We are indeed dealing with the potential that terrorists may again attack our nation. There is certainly no such thing as a foolproof way of preventing an attack, but prudent precautions must be taken. While I have often disagreed with the DHS on the issue of identity documents, I believe that this DHS proposal is a wise one. ... id=1386432