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article imageLawmakers turn their focus to risks of Canada-US border security

By Karen Graham     Jan 21, 2019 in Politics
With the U.S. in the throes of a 31-day government shutdown and President Trump and members of Congress focused on our Southern border, a new report suggests some lawmakers are planning to place fresh scrutiny on the wide-open Canada-US border.
From starting out as a campaign promise by President Donald Trump, the Southern border wall he wants to build has turned into a political hot potato - in a partial government shutdown, pitting Democrats and Republicans against each other and leaving nearly one million federal workers without a paycheck.
The Trump administration has persisted in promoting the notion that suspected terrorists are pouring into the U.S. across our Southern border, and this is why we need a "big, beautiful wall" across the Mexico-U.S. border.
Trump paints the Mexico border as an open gate for criminals  including rapists  terrorists  people ...
Trump paints the Mexico border as an open gate for criminals, including rapists, terrorists, people with dangerous diseases and phony asylum seekers
Jim WATSON, AFP/File
However, according to the Global News, the U.S. State Department issued a report in September that found “no credible evidence indicating that international terrorist groups have established bases in Mexico, worked with Mexican drug cartels or sent operatives via Mexico into the United States.”
The report went on to say: “The U.S. southern border remains vulnerable to potential terrorist transit, although terrorist groups likely seek other means of trying to enter the United States.”
In a Rose Garden news conference on January 4, Trump said: “We have terrorists coming through the southern border because they find that’s probably the easiest place to come through. They drive right in and they make a left.”
Nancy Pelosi told President Donald Trump his statistics on illegal immigration were incorrect.
Nancy Pelosi told President Donald Trump his statistics on illegal immigration were incorrect.
Brendan Smialowski, AFP
The most successful international boundary
In talking about the Canada-U.S. border, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said in an interview with CTV Power Play Host Don Martin on Wednesday, "It is the longest, most successful international boundary -- un-militarized international boundary -- in the history of the world, and we're determined to keep it that way."
With all the hoopla focused on the Southern border, California Congressman Lou Correa, a Democrat and incoming chair of the House Homeland Security Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee, says President Trump's focus on the U.S.-Mexico border is ignoring possible threats from the northern border.
In an interview with CTV News' Richard Madan, Correa said the Canada-U.S. border is "totally wide open" because personnel and resources are being diverted to southern border states.
A sign at the international boundary between Canada and the United States in Point Roberts  Washingt...
A sign at the international boundary between Canada and the United States in Point Roberts, Washington
Makaristos
Because so many Border Patrol agents have been reassigned to the Southern border, bringing the total to nearly 17,000 agents, the move has also left 200 vacancies at our Northern border. Homeland Security warns that terrorists could slip into the U.S. because of this.
"Big swaths of an area between Canada and the U.S. -- nobody watching. A lot of negative things go in and out: drug trade, arms trade, things that happen on the northern border that nobody's watching. And it's happening now," Correa said.
Correa says a U.S. Border Patrol agent warned him that Canada was complacent about the problem. "When we see something suspicious in Mexico, we tell the Mexican authorities and they're on it. Canada, they didn't see the same urgency to address some of these issues," Correa said.
However, the Department of Homeland Security's "Northern Border Strategy" states that the biggest threat from Canada was the illicit drug trade. It also warned of terror threats "from homegrown violent extremists in Canada who are not included in the U.S. Government's consolidated terrorist watch list and could, therefore, enter the United States legally at Northern Border ports of entry ... without suspicion."
A CBP Border Patrol agent monitors the Canada–United States border near Sweet Grass  Montana.
A CBP Border Patrol agent monitors the Canada–United States border near Sweet Grass, Montana.
Gerald L. Nino, CBP, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security
Correa's concerns over the Canada-U.S. border are not new. During a committee hearing a year-and-a-half ago, Republican Congressman John Katko raised concerns about the Canada-U.S. border. "We have to recognize the northern border is a threat just like the southern border, and I would argue that because of lack of attention it is more than a threat," Katko said.
Toronto City News reported last week that according to data provided to Congress last year, Customs and Border Protection officials intercepted six times as many people who are on a U.S. terror-suspect database trying to enter the country from Canada as from Mexico between October 2017 and April 2018.
And keep in mind that while there are 17,000 agents patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border, there are just 2,000 working at Canada's border with the United States, which is over twice as long as the Southern border.
More about Trump, border wall, CanadaUS border, government shutdown, Terrorists
 
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