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US announces new border plan with Canada

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US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano announced on 5 June the release of the DHS Northern Border Strategy (NBS). The NBS was created to guide the department's policies and operations concerning the US-Canada border.

DHS hopes the strategy will provide a framework for enhancing security while expediting lawful travel and trade throughout the the US and Canada border region. According to DHS officials, the NBS is the first Department-wide strategy to guide policy and operations at US-Canada border.

"The U.S.-Canada border is the world's longest common border. With communities and businesses that reach both sides of the border, the economies and security of the United States and Canada are inextricably linked," said Napolitano. "The Northern Border Strategy provides a unifying framework for the Department's work focused on enhancing the security and resiliency along our northern border while expediting legitimate travel and trade with Canada."

The NBS states three key goals for the US-Canada border:
  • Deterring and preventing terrorism and smuggling, trafficking, and illegal immigration;
  • Safeguarding and encouraging the efficient flow of lawful trade, travel, and immigration; and
  • Ensuring community stability before, during, and after terrorist attacks and other disasters.
DHS believes that they can have more expeditite security operations by separating higher-risk traffic from lower-risk traffic, utilizing advance information, and inspecting people and goods crossing the border at the earliest opportunity. The department said they will coordinate joint security efforts between the US and Canada in order to facilitate efficient travel and trade.

Not everyone is on board with this new plan. Critics claim that Napolitano may be attempting to divert attention from southern border with Mexico.

"[Secretary Napolitano] behaves as if she completed a successful operation at our Southwest border and is now turning her attention to our northern border. If anything, the situation at our border with Mexico is dire, to say the least," said Sergeant Paul Bellamy of the Danville, NY Police Department.

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