Term Paper: Canadian Border: Current Political Issues

Pages: 8 (2410 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: American History  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] Since the September 11 terrorist attacks, however, both the United States and Canada have been working on ways to help increase security at the border.

The initial response of the United States to the Canadian border issues after the terrorist attacks was to send in uniformed and armed U.S. military troops to patrol the border. The Canadians did not approve of this measure, and many viewed it as a kind of threat to them. Many referred to this act as the "Mexicanization" of the Canadian border, comparing the actions of the United States toward the Canadian border to its long-standing actions at the Mexican border (Day, 2001). Canadians expressed concern that the armed soldiers would injure innocent civilians and that traffic at border crossings would be slowed to almost unbearably snail-like speeds. Further, there was concern on both sides of the border that the flow of trade between the two nations would be interrupted -- something that neither nation wanted. Canadians have since complained that the border guards at the United States border engage in blatant racial profiling of Arabs crossing the border -- a practice that is illegal in Canada.

About one hundred million people cross the U.S. -- Canadian border each year. Many states in the United States that lie along the border have countless unguarded rural roads that cross the border. It is practically impossible for all of these roads to be guarded all the time, and this is not even taking into consideration the many thousands of miles of forest and other undeveloped land that lies along the border and can easily be crossed unnoticed. While the United States and Canada are trying to come to some sort of common agreement regarding customs and immigration policies, this will only partially solve the problem of terrorists slipping into the United States from her northern neighbor. In order to fully stop the flow of terrorists, a common border policy must be adopted by the United States and Canada together.

While the United States has withdrawn the military troops it initially installed along the border, it has nonetheless beefed up security at its official checkpoints. Canada has not done so, at least not to the degree that many United States officials think it should. The difference in security at border crossings from the United States to Canada can easily be seen with a trip across the border and back. Going from the United States to Canada, there is very little backed-up traffic. The wait time to get across the border during normal business hours is negligible, usually only a few minutes. Once a car pulls up to the Canadian border guard, the driver of that car and the occupants of the car are usually only asked a few simple questions regarding where they are from and why they have chosen to go to Canada that day. Perhaps the guard will ask to see drivers' licenses, perhaps not. Then, with one simple wave through, the traveler is inside Canada.

It is not so easy to get back into the United States, however. Traffic going back into the United States is much more backed up than it is going into Canada. This is because the United States border guards ask many more questions of the car's driver and passengers, and even conduct inspections of the car. The United States border guards will ask the occupants of the car where they live, where they work, what they do for a living -- anything that someone faking an identity might not have though about. Of course, occupants of the car are also asked why they went to Canada that day, and why they are going into the United States. Drivers' licenses are always examined, and the trunk and inside of the car are usually searched. Only then will the border guards wave the car and its passengers through into the United States.

The United States and Canada have shared a common border for over two hundred years. For the vast majority of this time, the relations between the two nations have been among the friendliest in the world. As a result, the border has not needed to be defended. However, since the September 11 terrorist attacks, and the realization that many of the terrorists got into the United States through Canada, things have changed. Both the United States and Canada realize that tighter border security is needed. Both nations are willing to work with each other to decide what must be done. However, as things stand, the cultural differences between the United States and Canada have thus far prevented an accord on the issue of the border to be reached.


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Connelly, Joel. "In the Northwest: Congress Must Act to Plug Porous Canadian Border." (October 5, 2001). Seattle P.I.

Day, Julie Finnin. "Canadians Dismayed as U.S. Beefs Up Border Security." (December 7, 2001). Christian Science Monitor.

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McEachern, Vance. "Border Issues and their Impact on Canadian Aquaculture Products." (2003). Canadian Food Inspection Agency Annual General Meeting.

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U.S., Canadian Officials Sign Border… [END OF PREVIEW]

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