How secure are our borders?

SAULT STE. MARIE — Last night, ABC 10’s Melanie Palmer brought you the first part of a two part series on border security between the U.S. and Canada. Tonight, Melanie Palmer shares her experience crossing over the international border and how the two countries work together to keep the border secure.

Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world by area, divides the Upper Peninsula from Canada. When standing in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario is just a stone’s throw away, with how physically close these countries lay, how easy is it to enter one from the next? When I tried crossing over the international border, I found the process slightly difficult.
Although my position may have been a facture in this process, I was asked to pull aside and speak with the Chief of operations for the Customs and Border Patrol in Canada.

I was then a series of questions pertaining to my intentions for entering the country. Coming back to the U.S. was understandably a breeze. The main priority of these departments is to stop terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States. Although these departments work 24/7 to maintain this priority, drug smuggling is something that has always plagued border crossings.

“Locally being a completely water border here in Michigan, 863 miles to be exact, we’ve been challenged with this for years. Going back to the early 1920’s, the Detroit border patrol sector was the first in the country because of prohibition and people smuggling both ways across the border,” said Stalnaker.

Despite a tangible border dividing two countries, law enforcement officials still collaborate when it comes to international threats.

“There’s a program in place called the ship rider program and it’s a program where we’ll jointly man cruise with the royal Canadian police. All those law enforcement officers on those boats, have authorities from both countries to enforce laws on both sides of the border. That enables us to weave back and forth across the border, it enables us to position ourselves to where the known threats are on the border, it allows us to go investigate suspicious activity regardless of where it is in relation to the border,” said Prado.

Border security over Lake Superior follows as many regulations as other border crossings throughout the country. The agencies involved with border protection are focused on maintaining safe and lawful entry into the United States.

“We’re on the job 24/7, those of us that are at the ports of entry and are making sure that trade and travel and that lawful movement of people moves efficiently and effectively,” said Hammond.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection has three uniformed agencies which include; the U.S. Border Patrol, Officer of Field Operations, along with the air and marine operations. Members of the U.S. Border Patrol wants to remind all residents that they are force multipliers to Border Security and are encouraged to contact them anytime they see something that is not right.