DHS Announces Strengthened Northern Border Strategy

A Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) vehicle is seen near a sign at the US-Canada border in Lacolle, Quebec, Canada, February 14, 2018. Picture taken February 14, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Wattie - RC1575F0DDF0

Jessica Jenkins Contributor
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The Department of Homeland Security announced its updated strategy for securing the border between the U.S. and Canada on Tuesday.

Some concerns cited include drugs, terrorist threats and Transnational criminal organizations (TCOs). While the Department of Homeland Security acknowledges that the border between the two nations is not as antagonistic as that between the U.S. and Mexico, it brings up that the friendly nature between the two neighbors has allowed for some things to slip through the cracks.

“The most common threat to U.S. public safety along the Northern Border continues to be the bi-directional flow of illicit drugs,” the strategy cited. “The Threat Assessment Report indicates that cocaine and methamphetamine move north into Canada after transiting the United States from Mexico, while fentanyl, marijuana, and ecstasy flow south from Canada into the United States.”

TCOs also are constantly adapting their drug smuggling practices in order to create methods of transport that slip past US Border Control’s checks. The unique topography of the border, including mountain ranges and maritime boundaries, can also allow for these groups to smuggle drugs, people, and other contraband substances from one country to the other without detection.

The strategy also cites apprehension over persons of national security risk entering the country through the various soft points-of-entry (POEs).

“The Threat Assessment Report concludes that potential terror threats on the Northern Border are primarily 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 POEs without suspicion,” according to the DHS’s write up of their strategy.

The goals for the strategy include:

  1. Enhance Border Security Operations
  2. Facilitate and Safeguard Lawful Trade and Travel
  3. Promote Cross-Border Resilience

After the strategy is approved, the DHS will create an “Implementation Plan” within 180 days that will detail how to carry out these goals from 2020-2024.