WHISTLER, B.C. - Traditional border crossings along the Canada-U.S. border are nothing but "nonsense" and a "make-work project" that fail to catch those who continue to sneak from one country to the o...
WHISTLER, B.C. – Traditional border crossings along the Canada-U.S. border are nothing but “nonsense” and a “make-work project” that fail to catch those who continue to sneak from one country to the other, says Roger Simmons, Canada’s Consul General in Seattle, Wash.
The governments would be better off adopting a “perimeter strategy” and staffing 50 airports in Western Europe rather than thinking they can cover 5,000 miles of wilderness between Canada and the U.S., he said in a speech to the British Columbia Trucking Association’s annual convention.
“We’re experts of creating traffic bottlenecks,” he said, referring to a recent four-hour delay at a crossing between B.C. and Washington State. “We’ve got to stop the nonsense of what I call a make-work project at the border and we need more facilitators, more collaboration.
“That border is our lifeline, so it can never be a wall.”
While the number of U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service agents at the Mexican border has been increased fourfold in recent years, 2.74 million of the 5 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. are from Mexico, he noted, referring to the effort’s failure.
“They’re (traditional border crossings) not addressing drug movements. They’re not addressing illegal immigration.” The Cessna 180 loaded with marijuana is probably still making it across, as is the illegal immigrant trekking through a swamp, he said.
But a promising sign that things might change was the cancellation of Section 110 of the Illegal Immigration Reform Act, which now only has to be signed away by U.S. President Bill Clinton. Under the Act, U.S. Immigration officials would have had to record the entry and exit of every person crossing the border.
“Were it not off the books, could you imagine the havoc that would have created?” he asked.
Looking at the Blaine-Douglas crossing between B.C. and Washington State, and applying a generous doubling of INS staff and two minutes of processing time per person, the line-up would have been 12 hours long by 6 p.m. on the system’s first day.
“It was sheer madness,” Simmons said. “Our border didn’t need a lot of fixing until this guy (Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, who drafted the Act) came along.” n
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