The U.S.-Canada border has a history of being porous, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced this week – a good reason for both countries to “harden” the international boundary, according to a report in the Canadian Press.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano seemed to echo Clinton’s sentiments when she also pledged this week to halt delays in implementing the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which requires Americans and Canadians to present passports or other secure documents before crossing the U.S. border with Canada, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
“This is a real border,” Napolitano said to reporters. “The law is the law and it’s not going to be postponed anymore.”
When asked by reporters at a news conference in Washington, D.C., if the hardening of the border was motivated in any way by the urban legend that the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers entered the U.S. through Canada, Clinton responded obliquely:
“Americans are worried about every port and point of entry; I don’t think we have any lesser concern about any other route into our country than any other one.”
While not denying the myth of the Canadian entry directly, Clinton went on to say, according to the Canadian Press: “Obviously, we’re proud of the long, peaceful border that we share with Canada, but I think it is fair to say that since 9/11, we have been working with our friends in Canada to try to harden that border, to try to provide both more personnel and technology.”
Clinton added, “Unfortunately, given the security environment that we have to deal with today, we have been focused on making sure that our northern border was as secure as possible.”
Ironically, one of Clinton’s rough spots in the road was provoked by Napolitano, who let slip recently that Sept. 11 hijackers came from Canada. She quickly retracted the statement.
Napolitano also muddied the waters by intimating that the United States’ neighbor to the north had immigration regulations far more lax than those in the U.S. – which permitted Canadian authorities to permit entry to people into the country who would never have successfully run the immigration gauntlet south of the border.
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