The United States is in the middle of the longest government shutdown in its history.
Because Congress and the White House could not agree on a budget for the following year, the U.S. federal government entered a default, provisional operating mode.
"Non-essential" services like the national parks and museums system have been shut down while "essential," mostly security services remain operational, though many of their employees will not be paid for the duration of the shutdown.
TL;DR Democrats in Congress may soon propose increased security along the U.S.-Canada border. While there are almost no details yet, here's what that could mean for travelling Canadians.
The current shutdown is the result of political posturing by president Trump. He will not agree to any budget, he states, that does not include funding for his long-promised border wall with Mexico.
Despite evidence that a physical wall will do little to deter drug smuggling (which mostly occurs through designated ports of entry), the president is determined to fulfill his core campaign promise to the detriment of tens of thousands of government workers.
It has been widely reported that racism is the motivating factor behind the president's focus on Mexico. In fact, according to NBC, dozens more suspected terrorists attempted to enter the U.S. through Canada than Mexico in the last year.
It is for this reason that Democrats in Congress are now reportedly planning to propose increased security along the border with Canada, according to Global News.
Details are few, but this proposal could give Democrats, who now have a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, the leverage they need to force a funding deal.
The plan to increase security along the border with Canada will enable the party to reclaim the mantle of border security that Trump has usurped in the last few years. A budget that includes more security along the northern border may also give Trump the satisfaction of having fulfilled his signature pledge in at least some form.
What, exactly, this will mean for travelling Canadians is unclear. Already, the U.S.-Canada border has become increasingly militarized.
An augmentation of security measures could include any number of features, from more intense questioning, to more frequent searches, to the deployment of more advanced technology. But this is entirely speculation.
Any of these factors, however, could make crossing the border into the United States more strenuous, or at least more time-consuming for Canadians.
Conversely, the deployment of more officers from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency (USCBP) could streamline procedures at sometimes overburdened ports of entry.
There is also the possibility that increased efforts to detect suspected terrorists could produce more invasive border crossing procedures.
The issue of privacy along the border came to a climax this past year, when, as Canada prepared to legalize recreational marijuana, American authorities made clear that they could seize and even search Canadians' devices without a warrant.
Any overhaul of practices at the border will inevitably reshape U.S.-Canada relations.