Thursday, April 23, 2009

Improving Cross-border Relations

Security Paranoia Defies Logic

This is borderline insanity. The most worrisome U. S. official confronting Canada today is a former Arizona governor who thinks the U. S. northern border, which she's only flown over and never actually crossed on the ground, is a security threat on par with the drug-running, immigrant-smuggling, terrorist-sneaking border wall with Mexico.

And there's simply no comparison between the illegal entry trickle from Canada and the alien immigrant wave and drug smuggling surge pouring into the United States from the south. Of the estimated 500,000 illegal immigrants who enter the United States each year, 57% come from Mexico. Just 6% of those living illegally in the United States are Canadian. Somebody should also warn the Secretary that recent statistics show 500,000 Canadians spent tourist dollars in her Mexican border state in 2006 and that Arizona rates Canada its second-largest trading partner with almost $3-billion in trade.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is moving unapologetically forward on beefed-up border staffing and enhanced documentation requirements that will make Canadians and travelling Americans yearn for the security paranoia of the George W. Bush administration.
Ouch. Methinks someone's a bit pissed that Hopenchange isn't all that it was cracked up to be. On the other hand, maybe it is, you know, cracked up and stuff. So to speak.
Ms. Napolitano's brief interview with the CBC this week was jaw-dropping confirmation we're dealing with an irrational senior U.S. official who can't differentiate between a secure border linking the world's largest trading partners and one that's a giant sucking sound for jobs going south and what's been described as an 'invasion' of desperate Mexicans illegally sneaking north.
Ya think???
She actually invoked the bogeyman of 9/11 terrorists sneaking into the United States from Canada to bolster the case for a crackdown, even though the most elementary research would've told her there's no evidence to support that bogus claim.

When challenged on her concerns, she insisted still-secret data, undoubtedly buried with the aliens at Roswell, justifies her concern. She surely must know that only 12 of the 48 al-Qaeda operatives caught between 1993 and 2001 were illegal immigrants and none of those came from Canada.

The infamous quote from early in her Homeland Security posting was to fret at Mexico's hurt feelings. "If things are being done on the Mexican border, they should also be done on the Canadian border."

What's that precisely? Build another Texas wall? Does she have any concept that this 5,013-kilometre land border bisects towns and villages (heck, it even divides the stage from the seats in one Vermont-Quebec movie theatre)?

"The pattern at the Canadian border has been informality," she went on to say. "The borders are going to be enabled with greater technology, but it's not going to be going back and forth as if there's no border anymore."

Having crossed the border last week, let me assure you there's nothing informal or lacking about it. When friends on an annual golf getaway crossed at the 1,000 Islands, we joined a bunch of others in getting a major passport shakedown by armed American guards casting a very suspicious eyes at our duty-free haul of booze sandwiched between the bags carrying our instruments of fairway destruction.

They called me forward and demanded to know if I'd ever been arrested. Yes, yes, I confessed, there was a minor drug possession charge when I was just 18 (and I still insist it was Bob Green's pot), but it was wiped clean by a judge. It took a long discussion with border guards about the dangers of allowing in somebody never convicted of anything criminal before my born-in-the-U.S.A. birth certificate got me waved across.

I digress, but my point is that technology which can alert guards to a 34-year-old minor arrest that never resulted in a conviction shouldn't have much trouble fingering a known terrorist.

The new Homeland Security boss has a well-known Monty Python fetish. Perhaps she's decided to pattern herself after the black knight of Holy Grail movie fame, who declares "none shall pass," only to have his arms and legs hacked off in a sword fight even while insisting the amputations are ''but a scratch.''

If Janet Napolitano adopts a similarly defiant posture to squeeze her northern border into a business barrier, the United States will be cutting off the arms and legs of its integrated manufacturing base to block an enemy that doesn't exist.
Canuckians, unclench thy fists!

Via The National Post

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