October 2, 2006


Agency lagging on border maintenance (DAVID SHARP, 9/30/06, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

The United States wants to better secure its border with Canada, but it might have trouble finding it in some areas, an official with the agency that maintains the border said.

The U.S. and Canada have fallen so far behind on basic maintenance of their shared border that law enforcement officials might have to search through overgrown vegetation for markers in some places, the official said.

"If you can't find it, then you can't secure it," said Dennis Schornack, the U.S. commissioner of the International Boundary Commission, the intergovernmental agency responsible for maintaining the U.S.-Canada border. [...]

But commission officials say their budget of about $3.6 million is insufficient and insist that if they are not given more money to buy basic machinery to beat back the weeds, bushes and trees that threaten to overtake parts of the border, all those high-tech gadgets could prove useless. [...]

Schornack will meet in Washington on Monday and Tuesday with his Canadian counterparts, high-ranking homeland security officials and members of Congress to lobby for more funding.

Part of his goal, he said, is to lift the agency's profile. The agency is so small, he said, that it gets lost in the $2.7 trillion federal budget.

"The boundary has been ignored for a very long time," Schornack said. "I'm not even sure people know we exist."

Canadian officials say the U.S. needs to contribute more money.

Texas border towns oppose barrier idea (Miguel Bustillo, 10/02/06, Los Angeles Times)
[W]hen [rancher Mike] Vickers considers the wisdom of building twin steel walls along the Rio Grande to seal off the Mexican border, the plan Congress just approved before heading home for the November elections, his verdict is swift and harsh: stupid idea.

"That's just a big waste of money," said Vickers, a Texas Republican activist who heads a group opposing illegal immigration that until recently was the state branch of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps. "The Rio Grande is the lifeblood of South Texas. A wall is just going to stand between farmers and ranchers and others who need legitimate access to water. It's not going to stop the illegals."

From Laredo to Brownsville, a meandering 200-mile stretch of the Rio Grande that would be walled off if President Bush, as expected, signs the bill to fence 698 miles of the border, reaction was overwhelmingly negative.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 2, 2006 1:24 PM

Arbeit Macht Frei.

Posted by: NC3 at October 2, 2006 2:42 PM

Sounds like the vegetation might be a decent barrier.

Posted by: Steve at October 2, 2006 2:49 PM

Take the I-89 North about twelve miles past St Alban's. Bring your boy scout compass. Can't miss it.

I don't know about you all, but a commissioner on the International Boundary Commission responsible for maintaining markers on the U.S./Canadian border is my idea of a dream job, especially if it offers dental benefits.

Posted by: Peter B at October 2, 2006 3:05 PM

Peter, I hope Canandian dentists better than their counterparts in the UK.

Posted by: erp at October 2, 2006 4:50 PM

Peter, I hope Canadian dentists better than their counterparts in the UK.

Posted by: erp at October 2, 2006 4:51 PM


Of course they are. We pay for them.

But lest that sound like an insult to Canadian doctors, they are great too. It's just that it takes several months to get to see them. The dentists can always see you before lunch.

Posted by: Peter B at October 2, 2006 5:49 PM

If you can't find it, then you can't secure it

Three letters: G. P. S.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at October 3, 2006 1:07 PM