OTTAWA, Ont. — Prime Minister Jean Chretien defended Canada’s border security this past weekend, saying 24,000 people have been turned back from the border because they were “illegal.”
While on Larry King Live, Chretien reminded him the 19 terrorists identified in the Sept. 11 attacks had all been living in the U.S. prior to the tragic hijackings.
“The 19 terrorists had a legal reason to be in U.S. and these terrorists are very ordinary citizens. Sometimes, they will live four or five years in one area to be ready for their great moment,” says Chretien.
Early news reports from the U.S. in the days following the attacks claimed some of the terrorists had travelled from Canada to Maine, but American investigators have since discovered the men actually drove from Boston.
When asked about Canada’s immigration policies, Chretien said the problem is new arrivals coming by plane.
“You don’t arrive in Canada walking, you know. You have to come by plane. And we have a certain number of airports to protect and we’ll protect them better,” says Chretien. “But I think we have to keep welcoming new Canadians.”
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