Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Study: U.S. border security too rigid.

I would think that a universal approach would also ignore important differences at crossings even within Canada or Mexico. I notice from comments on this article that a lot of Canadians are becoming increasingly upset by their experiences crossing the border. Personally I have decided that I will never go through the U.S. when flying to the Philippines. Unlike other countries they take all your bags off the plane and you have to go recheck them. In Japan I just blithely walked from one part of the Narita terminal to another part where my plane to the Philippines was waiting. No customs no nothing and my bags were just automatically transferred to the other plane. My wife could not even come with me since she would have required a visa just to transfer to a different plane at the airport in the U.S.
One would think that business and tourist groups would be up in arms over this sort of regulation. But security even trumps business and tourism I guess.

U.S. border security too rigid: study

The Associated Press
A new study finds fault with the American "one size fits all" approach to border security following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, saying it has helped slow trade and commerce between the U.S. and Canada.
A report by the Brookings Institution released Tuesday found that American federal officials now treat security at Canadian and Mexican crossings into the U.S. the same, despite the differences between its southern and northern neighbours.
The Washington, D.C.-based research group began work on the study last year with the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce. The Detroit and Windsor, Ont., crossing is the busiest Canadian-U.S. corridor. It sees about 400,000 people each day and about 16 million cars, trucks and buses going back and forth each year.
The current border strategy has "emphasized uniformity, with one-size fits-all rules" that inaccurately equates conditions at the Canadian border with those "at the more difficult U.S.-Mexican border," the study found.
The auto industry forms the biggest portion of U.S.-Canadian trade, with daily shipments to and from Detroit's three automakers and suppliers. Security concerns following Sept. 11, 2001, have resulted in long delays, with trucks often lined up at crossings for hours.
"We think there are unique situations of customer mix, geography, and really our history on the northern border that really requires a slightly different approach," said Sarah Hubbard, vice-president of governmental affairs for the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Among them, she said, was the heavier foot traffic along the Mexican border.
The study makes several recommendations to ease the flow of people and goods across the border. The report suggests that President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper work together to improve collaboration between their countries, such as creating a state-level Homeland Security network.
It also calls on the U.S. Congress to authorize funds for a project to test new security ideas.

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