“Illegals – they're coming to the U.S. with their criminal element. They're bringing in drugs and harboring Muslims. They are crossing the border to live illicitly in America.”
While President Trump demands a wall on the southern border of the United States, the question arises “Isn't that (building the southern wall) like closing the front door, and leaving the back door (the Canadian border) open?" What about securing the porous Canadian border? Threats from the north are real, and some believe these threat are even more dangerous than warnings of invaders from Mexico.
Does the government believe a northern wall is also needed to stop illegal entry? Even though everything changed after 9/11 when Congress more than doubled the budget of Customs and Border Protection, the Canadian border remains a significant problem.
CBS News reports that the number of people caught illegally crossing the United States' northern border is up 142 percent during the first six months of 2018. Border Patrol agents apprehended 445 people entering the U.S. from Canada during the first six months of 2018; that compares with 184 during the same period last year.
The northern border is very easy to cross, which was actually the original intention. But it also makes it very difficult to secure. An unguarded metal fence is the only thing keeping smugglers from entering a remote corner of New York State – a small part of the physical security infrastructure along America's northern border.
Norm Lague, the Border Patrol agent in charge here, says it's impossible to cover 100 percent of the entire 5,525-mile-long U.S.-Canadian border, the longest and busiest land boundary in the world. And, Porter Fox, author of Northland: A 4,000-Mile Journey Along America's Forgotten Border says, "It's generally agreed that the northern border is more vulnerable to a terrorist sneaking into this country.”
Notably, of those apprehended along the northern border, nearly half (1,489) were from Mexico. Mexican citizens don't need a visa to enter Canada, and one-way flights to Toronto and Montreal only cost about $300. Once there, Border Patrol agents say, they can slip into the U.S. Just over 2,000 agents patrol America’s northern border, compared with 17,000 down south.
While the number of arrests is tiny compared with the southern border, the human smuggling is just as sophisticated. For example, people crossing the border between Vermont and Quebec have paid smugglers up to $4,000, usually payable when the immigrants reach their U.S. destination, according to officials and court documents.
FBI reports reviewed by The Daily Beast reveal that far more suspected terrorists try to enter the country from the northern border with Canada than from the south. Leaked FBI data collected between 2014 and 2016 that showed the number of "suspected terrorists" trying to enter the U.S. from Canada at land border crossings was in some months twice that encountered at the Mexico-U.S. border.
FBI Terrorist Screening Center monthly reports show New York, Michigan, and Washington have the most encounters with suspected terrorists at land border crossings. North Dakota and Vermont encounter one or two per month on average. The numbers at the southern border were comparatively small. In April 2014, for example, there were 12 border encounters in California and Texas combined and 17 in Washington, New York, Michigan, and Vermont. In the same month the following year, southern states reported two encounters; northern states: 18.
The northern border sees the world’s largest bilateral daily flow of goods and people, on average $190m and nearly 400,000 respectively. It offers more opportunities for illegal crossings: in many places a small white obelisk somewhere in a field is the only marker of the border.
Long-established smuggling routes exist across America’s notoriously porous northern border, which has 120 points of entry, and stretches more than 5,500 miles while encompassing large areas of remote wilderness and numerous waterways.
In recent years, Canada emerged as a global epicenter of synthetic and counterfeit drug manufacturing and processing—with everything from MDMA (ecstasy) to fake Viagra flowing from clandestine labs north of the U.S. border. A 2005 State Department cable identified Canada as a “significant producer and transit country for precursor chemicals used to produce synthetic drugs,” and a “hot spot” of rising clandestine lab activity. Smuggling of OxyContin and deadly fentanyl from Canada to the U.S. has spiked.
Criminal syndicates that control chemical factories in China’s booming Guangdong province are shipping narcotics, including fentanyl to Vancouver, washing the drug sales in British Columbia’s casinos and high-priced real estate, and transferring laundered funds back to Chinese factories to repeat this deadly trade cycle, a Global News investigation shows.
Organized crime groups known as Triads have infiltrated Canada’s economy so deeply that Australia’s intelligence community has coined a new term for innovative methods of drug trafficking and money laundering now occurring in B.C. It is called the “Vancouver Model” of transnational crime.
In 2016 alone, U.S. Customs officials reported 2,015 drug arrests at land crossings at the U.S.-Canada border, while Canadian officials made more than 18,000 drug seizures. Trafficking groups routinely engage in so-called double exchanges in which designer drugs passed from Canada to the U.S. are exchanged for other narcotics, such as cocaine, for shipment back to Canada.
One drug trafficking operation based in Calgary, Alberta—just a three-hour drive north of the Montana border—was capable of producing an estimated 18,000 counterfeit pills an hour for export to the U.S. and Canadian markets.
Canadian Illegals in U.S.
Canadians can be illegals. Did you ever consider that? They can be, and they are.
According to a new U.S. government report from the Department of Homeland Security (August 7, 2018), the largest group of people who enter the U.S. legally and then overstay their welcome aren’t coming across the southern border at all. They’re coming from Canada. Department of Homeland Security August 7, 2018
It seems that an army of Canadian citizens – despite coming from a place of relative affluence and opportunity – already live illicitly in the U.S. One research institute estimates the total at 100,000, while a recent American government report said nearly that many Canadians outstayed their legal welcome – and failed to leave – in one year alone. What policies lie in store for deporting these law breakers?
To close, according to a Bloomberg poll released in 2015, more than four in 10 Americans would support building a wall across the Canadian border. 41 percent of Americans would favor a "brick and mortar" wall along the Canadian border.
Shocking, isn't it? In my wildest imagination, I cannot envision a northern wall. Still, isolationism is growing as is fear. President Trump, himself, is a self-proclaimed nationalist who is often at odds with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over trade and tariffs. Maybe Canada will build its own wall in response.
Yet, walls – no matter their size or sophistication – will never extinguish the yen for freedom and asylum, nor will these walls diminish the wrath of terrorists or end the insatiable demand for opioids. The answers to the problems lie in failed policies deep rooted in violence, revenge, greed, and addiction. The United States, while struggling to remain the land of liberty, is dealing with its own crippling problems including devastating health and gun violence epidemics.
Walls to the south and north and oceans to the east and west merely serve as obstacles to those bent on personal gain. International walls are ultra-expensive structural divisions birthed in great visions of bravado, nationalism, and controversy … they are neither conducive to developing good neighbors nor to creating good political policy.
Tom Blackwell. “Northern aliens: Around 100,000 Canadians live under the radar in U.S. as illegal immigrants.” National Post. March 17, 2017.
Sam Cooper. “How Chinese gangs are laundering drug money through Vancouver real estate.” Global News. June 5, 2018.
“Illegal U.S. northern border crossings up 142 percent from last year.” CBS News. August 6, 2018.
Christopher Moraff. “Trump Is Freaking Out About the Wrong Border: Killer Fentanyl Is Coming From Canada.” The Daily Beast. April 9, 2018.
Wilson Ring. “With focus on Mexico, apprehensions grow at Canadian border.” The Associated Press. July 24, 2018.
Diana Swain. “'The real bad guys' are coming from Canada, not Mexico, Daily Beast report alleges.”
CBC News. February 11, 2017.
Casey Tolan. “At the Canadian border, there's no wall—but plenty of people watching.” Splinter. October 14, 2016.