Sunday, January 13, 2008

Border Security

Lost among the articles on the fatal small plane crash and the primary elections in The Blade edition of January 13, 2008 was a little article from International Falls, MN. It appears that Canada is turning away some US citizens at its border because of DUI convictions in their past. An individual's past is coming much more under scrutiny in recent years for crossing the border to Canada, and such things as convictions for a DUI, passing bad checks, shoplifting, or smoking pot are considered serious enough to deny you entry. Now Canada is a sovereign country and can deny entry to any person that they deem unacceptable or a danger. It is evident that the crimes (which in most cases would be misdemeanors) listed above carry far greater weight and significance there then they appear to do here, especially when looking for those deemed a threat. It also appears that Canada's zeal to enforce border security for their country will pass under most people's radar screen and allow them to escape the criticism that anyone in the US seems to get for any attempt to enforce our own. Ladies and Gentlemen, I can't decide what of this story offends me more; so I will just list my outrages:
  1. Where is the outrage in this country when US citizens are denied entry to a neighboring county on what are more than likely misdemeanors, many or which are years in the past?
  2. Where are the cries of racism, sexism, or some other "ism" which, though it would have no foundation in fact, would be bandied about as an explanation for such treatment if the US were involved?
  3. Where are the tear-jerking stories of vacations and honeymoons destroyed, the hunting and fishing trips ruined, and the long-term emotional scarring left by the callous treatment of these individuals?
  4. Was Canada without the offenses of drunk driving, shoplifting, pot smoking, or the writing of bad check; except by foreigners?
  5. Have the number of these offenses been reduced or eliminated in Canada by the tougher enforcement of these immigration guidelines?
  6. Canada keeps people from entering their country legally, but the US is allowed to do nothing about illegal entry without outrage from both Mexico and Canada.
  7. Two border security agents are sitting in prison for their part to keep out a known drug runner, but Canada can deny entry to a person who smoked pot 20 years ago.
  8. Three of Canada's major exports are cars, beer, and whiskey; so who is really surprised when they are combined?
Now I have had brushes with some of these offenses in my past, and that may now prevent me from entering Canada in the future (I'm sure that they will recover from the revenue lost in the casinos), but those are not my reason for concern here. These are:
  1. Canada used to gladly except people who were violating the law by evading the draft, and now we have lesser violations as reasons for denial of entry.
  2. If these offenses are enough to keep someone from crossing the border now, what may be added to the list in the future: excessive speeding tickets, parking tickets, jaywalking, or bad credit?
  3. If Canada is allowed to enforce immigration law, why is the US not allowed to?
North America is suppose to be one big, happy family; and the term "Mexamericanada" is often tossed around as a name in our future, as is a currency by the funny little name of the "Amero". (These terms are meant, I suppose, to get us used to a European Union style alliance that may be in our future.) It appears however, that there is a red-haired stepchild in the family, and that this 2nd class family member is the US. We do not seem to have the rights to send our citizens where we will, or to keep out the citizens of other nations without criticism from all sides. Yes, it appears that all nations, like all men, are created equal; but some are more equal than others.

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