U.S. looks to tighten ‘porous’ Canadian border

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Canadian border, deemed as “rather porous” by U.S. Attorney-General, John Ashcroft, was looked at yesterday at a Senate judiciary committee.

Washington shifted their focus north yesterday, to the longest undefended border in the world. Ashcroft says the border between Canada and the United States has been taken for granted. He also noted it is secured by a fraction of the force used to police the U.S. border with Mexico.

Their southern border is supervised by approximately 9,000 people while fewer than 500 people supervise the northern border, explains Ashcroft.

“I’ve conferred with Commissioner [James] Ziglar of the INS [Immigration and Naturalization Service] about this and we are working on plans to help provide greater security for our northern border, which has become a transit point for several individuals involved in terrorism,” he says.

One such incident was when former Montreal resident Ahmed Rassam, was arrested in December 1999 as he attempted to smuggle explosives and timing devices into Washington state from Canada.

Ashcroft did not elaborate on what measures the U.S. administration plans to take to beef up the Canada-U.S. border, other than to say more bodies would be assigned to the task.

Canadian officials generally focus on trade considerations when the issue of border security is raised.

Prime Minister Jean Chrtien met with President George W. Bush on Monday, and suggested the U.S. president was as eager as Canada to guarantee trucks transporting Canadian goods to U.S. consumers and U.S. goods to Canadian stores don’t hit bottlenecks every time they attempt that passage.

“We both agreed that we have to make sure that the free flow of goods and services between Canada and the United States should not be impaired because it’s important for the Canadian economy and important for the American economy,” says Chretien.

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