December 18, 2006


Focus shifts north amid terror fears (Mimi Hall, 2/17/06, USA TODAY)

Many say the USA's northern border — more than 4,000 miles of open and largely unprotected land — remains a dangerously weak link in the nation's post-9/11 effort to shore up security against terrorist attacks.

To cross it legally, people can pull up at any of 89 official points of entry from Seattle to eastern Maine. Some are huge, multilane crossings that process tourists and commercial trucks; others are small crossings, open only certain hours of the day, that generally handle only cars.

But it's still easy to cross illegally, across hundreds of small back roads, through the woods or over the mountains.

"It's a big, porous border and it's very difficult to secure," says Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., who made headlines in 2001 when he held up an orange traffic cone in the Senate as an example of the kinds of barriers often used to block roads on the Canadian border.

Especially because you can't whip up nativist hysteria about brown folks pouring across...

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 18, 2006 8:25 AM

OJ's comments might make sense except that there are not millions of Canadian illegal immigrants bankrupting social services, they have the same culture, and they already speak English.

If the same number of Canadians entered the country that Mexicans have, there would not be anyone in Canada at all - which would solve the problem in a strange way.

If there is concern about terrorists entering the US via Canada, the easiest solution is at the Canadian airports, not the US-Canada border.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at December 18, 2006 10:56 AM

Also it's not official Canadian gov't policy to export their troublemakers, interfere in US domestic politics, and demand special privlieges for their citizens.

Of course the real problem was that Ressam was caught before got a chance to carry out his mission, and its hard to "whip up [an] hysteria" without a good example of the problem in just about any part of politics these days. Only an anti-anti-illegal immigrationist could be foolish enough to think that such an example won't be forthcoming in the not to distant future under present policy.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at December 18, 2006 11:18 AM

Exactly. It's just White v. Brown. Security risks come over the Northern border, not the Southern, making the security argument a mere blind for racism.

Posted by: oj at December 18, 2006 11:57 AM

So massive smuggling operations involving drugs, gang members, violent criminals, and who knows who and what else don't count as a "security risk", eh? I guess they'll have to stop a carload of Darwinists before OJ thinks a porous border is a serious problem.

Posted by: PapayaSF at December 18, 2006 3:13 PM

The persistent misidentification of race with behavior is so disordered that one begins to suspect a projection mechanism.

Posted by: Lou Gots at December 19, 2006 9:21 AM