The Trump Administration Is Cracking Down On People Crossing the Canada-U.S. Border
Here's what that will mean for Canadian travellers.
Aggressive American border policy has dominated international headlines for over a month. Human rights abuses and just general xenophobia have produced a crises at the United States' border with Mexico.
Security is tight at the American southern border, which includes the busiest border crossing in the world, between Tijuana and San Diego.
But the administration of American president Donald Trump also views the Canadian border with fear and skepticism, especially amid a trade war that threatens to tear apart the political, military, and economic cooperation that makes the North America alliance one of the strongest in the world.
While most people seeking asylum, refuge, or opportunity in the United States enter through its southern border, a portion of such crossings originate in Canada.
Much less fortified and more porous than the U.S. border with Mexico, the U.S.-Canada border is relatively easier for individuals to cross illegally. That problem is of particular concern to some Canadian elected officials who perceive a "crisis of asylum-seekers" coming across the border from the United States.
But for those who can afford to fly to Canada first, land crossings from the north into the United States are a less risky alternative to the militarized Mexican border.
According to CTV News Montreal, the number of illegal crossings from Canada in 2018 are already more than double what they were in the entirety of 2017.
Those statistics have already led to a harsher enforcement of border policy that affects all travellers from Canada. With a jurisdiction that covers 160 kilometres inland from any border or seaboard, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has wide allowance in American destinations that are popular among Canadians, including almost the whole of New England.
American officials have established checkpoints along highways in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont where officers ask motorists about their citizenship. Refusals to answer can bring an untimely end to an American vacation. Some agents have even reportedly used accents as evidence of suspicious behaviour.
Agents have also carried out incursions into Canadian waters under the guise of policing potentially illegal activity.
Now, officers are likely to ask even more probing questions and carry out invasive searches to crack down on the perceived threat of illegal crossings.
More investment in security at the United States border with Canada coupled with a president who values the enforcement of "law and order" by any means necessary is only going to make travel for Canadians even more difficult and dangerous.