DHS: border not just "a line in the frozen tundra up there" - Macleans.ca

DHS: border not just “a line in the frozen tundra up there”


Early in the Obama administration there were fears that Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano saw the Canadian and Mexican borders as comparable. I don’t think that was ever the case — she had said she was under pressure from some quarters in Congress to treat them that way. Whatever the case, today she gave a speech today defending the Obama administration’s efforts on securing the border with Mexico, announcing several new policies, and arguing against individual states taking border and immigration enforcement into their own hands.

At a panel Q & A afterward, she was asked how many of the new measures would apply to the US border with Canada.

Secretary Napolitano: “The measures I’ve described today are for the Southwest border. However, we have other measures we we’ve apply at the northern border. Including more deployment of mobile-type radar systems, more agents – [to meet] the congressional mandate on the number of agents that have to be at the northern border.  We have excellent cooperation with the RCMP and have an aggressive program under way now to improve and provide better equipment and  technology in the ports of entry all along the northern border.”

Then David Aguilar, Deputy Commissioner, US Customs and Border Protection added:

“We don’t forget about the northern border …. One of the areas we are taking a look at more aggressively with them is looking at the border not as a juridical line – not just a line in the frozen tundra up there — but as it relates to flows – flows of people and flows of cargo. We are looking at those flows from the point of origin, as it transports to the US, at it arrives in the US. We work with foreign law enforcement and domestic law enforcement to make sure we do everything possible not just at the juridical line but throughout those flows.”

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DHS: border not just “a line in the frozen tundra up there”

  1. Setting aside the fact that there is no tundra near the border…

    The description of the border as flows is certainly a positive description for Canada's standpoint, so that there is no intention to reduce the traffic crossing the border but to handle it better.

    • Still, a pretty big thing to set aside coming from someone in charge of protecting their border.

      Someone needs to visit Seattle or Detroit. Or learn what the word "tundra" means.

      Either that, or we Canadians need to start worrying that the Americans think that they have sovereignty right up until some point North of Yellowknife.

      • I think it's meant as a joke. Napolitano is from Arizona, so Northern California is practically tundra from that perspective.

      • Yeah, I don't think the word tundra was used in any meaningful sense.

    • There's lots of tundra on the border. Don't forget Alaska.

      • Correct, I take back my comment that there is no tundra near the border… there is tundra near the Alaskan border. There is no tundra near 99% of border crossings and 99.9% of border traffic.

  2. Response from Canada Border Services: "We applaud the focus on flows of people and cargo; it's more than just a line kicked in the dust by a few bored cowboys between gunfights."

  3. Why are the Yanks being so nice to us lately? – always makes me nervous ….. thank god for the nuclear rule = never bomb upwind!