Morning Read: Better vigilance on the US-Canada border?

Earlier this month, a Federal GAO report found that despite the billions and billions of dollars spent since 9/11 — $3 billion were spent in 2010 alone — US-Canada border security is still woefully lacking.

This from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

The Border Patrol maintains an ”acceptable level of control” over only 32 miles of the 4,000-mile border, the GAO report said.

However, officials of Customs Border Protection, the DHS unit that oversees the Border Patrol, stated that agents maintain ”situational awareness” along 1,007 miles of the border, about one-quarter of the total.

New York’s US Senate delegation is now pushing for the Department of Homeland Security to invest in new military-grade radar systems to watch for drug smuggling flights.  This from the Plattsburgh Press-Republican.

[Sen. Chuck] Schumer said the spike in illegal smuggling has created “serious issues that’s endangering families and communities along northern New York,” leaving the area “grappling with the consequences.”

As law-enforcement personnel try to strengthen land and waterway security, Schumer said, international drug lords now look to the sky for ways to bring drugs into the United States.

“When we plug one loophole, they find another,” the senator said Thursday during a teleconference.

So what do you think?  Is this a good investment?  Can this kind of technology tame the smuggling along the vast, rugged border region?  Your comments welcome.

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15 Comments on “Morning Read: Better vigilance on the US-Canada border?”

  1. Bret4207 says:

    Based on my experience, most of the drugs and other illegal items sent south go undetected as it is. Why fly when you can drive?

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  2. Pete Klein says:

    Waste of money. Don’t care about drugs but I must confess.
    When I was a kid back in the good old days, I used to smuggle in fireworks before July 4.

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  3. DK says:

    All the money in the world isn’t going to stop these smugglers until the prohibition is lifted. Ha ha @ Pete, growing up in Massena we did the same thing, it seemed so harmless back then. My relatives supplimented their dairy business by smuggling during the last prohibition, that stopped as soon as the falstead act was repealed. Law and order has become institutionalised in this state, laws for the sake of jobs.

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  4. Pete Klein says:

    My dad’s uncle made a lot of money during prohibition by running booze from Windsor to Detroit, enough to go legit and open a number of bowling alleys after prohibition.
    After all is said and done, organized and disorganized crime exists to fill what the people want.

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  5. Fred Goss says:

    Orders of magnitude more money spent trying to seal the SW border from Mexico havent achieved a great deal so it’s hard to imagine similar spending would do much more to “close the border” with Canada.

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  6. Mervel says:

    What is the mission? What I mean is we all got agitated about border security after 9/11, and I think for good reason. So is this a continued mission to help with national security or is it about drug interdiction?

    After the Cold war was over we still produced advanced weapons that were developed to fight a war against the Soviet Union over Europe. It seems this may be the same sort of mission drift, funding in search of a problem.

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  7. If Clapton is God, Warren Haynes is Jesus says:

    Just what we need, more money wasted on an already lost cause. What little bit of contraband this will stop, will simply come in somewhere else or be grown or processed right inside our borders. But hey, now the security apparatus has one more responsibility they can now leverage for more funding. Which ultimately results in more money in some corporations pocket for a product that will do nothing to change the outcome of the war on drugs. Money that we of course don’t have and will borrow from probably China.

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  8. Pete Klein says:

    Maybe, just maybe, we could barrow money from the drug dealers in Mexico and pay them with more free guns to shoot everyone in Mexico.
    The trouble with fighting this sort of crime is that everyone gets their hands dirty. Just like the 30’s.
    It’s kind of like what we do in the Arab world. Give money and guns to dictators and hope they will like us while the people starve and are oppressed by the dictators we support.

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  9. Mervel says:

    Clapton is correct about the money.

    Government and the major partner of government; corporations will use this as another “need” Who built the failed electronic fence along the southern border? Why the defense contractor Boeing of course, 860 million for something that does not work.

    On the other hand as a north country resident I am not against throwing some higher paying jobs and money up here, pork is pork.

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  10. Bret4207 says:

    Mervel, I don’t believe the electronic “virtual fence” was ever completed. Same with the physical fence. All that was simply lip service. We could do it if we wanted, just as we could stop the vast majority of smuggling up north if we really wanted to. It just takes cutting a lot of red tape and getting serious.

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  11. DK says:

    I assume that by red tape, you mean individual freedoms, Bret?

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  12. Mervel says:


    Correct it was scrapped because it didn’t work and was horribly over budget, it was the classic corrupt waste of government spending.

    I think we can indeed slow down smuggling and this has been shown on the southern border just be increasing the numbers of men and women we have guarding the border. The reason that the Arizona desert has become a hot spot is that it is indeed harder to get across the border in California.

    But I don’t think the Northern border is that big of a problem and it is simply too large to monitor effectively. Plus you don’t want to screw up trade in that they are the number one trading partner of the US. Sure it would be good to for the North Country to have this influx of government dollars but we should be clear that it mainly just a jobs program to bring home the pork which is why our delegations are all supporting it.

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  13. Pete Klein says:

    I thought the hard working North Country residents who hate the government wouldn’t sully their hands with government jobs which are paid for from taxes confiscated from other hard working Americans.

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  14. tootightmike says:

    Oh don’t worry. If huge sums of money are spent to make the northern border “safe”…that money won’t land here.

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  15. Mervel says:

    Well it will if they hire even more Customs people and Border patrol people. Those guys have good pay, good benefits they buy homes and pay taxes and are pretty good citizens. Those are good sources of employment for the North Country. If they were to build some technological defense it would mean construction money and more jobs.

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