Shared Border Management: They Choose Not To
The United States Government claims that it just can’t implement any sort of shared border management with the Canadians along the length of the Niagara River. The American personnel from the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) allegedly cannot be permitted to work on the Canadian side of the border because of two factors – their firearms, and the requirement that American inspection personnel be able to stop, question, and fingerprint people who make a U-Turn before entering a US customs plaza that is on Canadian soil. Because liberty.
The fact that Southern Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area has millions of people, and represents a tremendous market opportunity for western New York, we are stymied by Washington’s and Albany’s unwillingness / inability to help integrate the region. We can’t get shared border management approved when the real discussion should be about a customs union with Canada.
Two solutions have been proposed for this very simple solution to the problem of Buffalo’s West Side and Front Park – the first is the “embassy” solution, whereby an American entry inspection plaza in Fort Erie is legally considered to be United States soil, and the second is the “airport” solution, whereby travelers are simply pre-screened by American personnel authorized through treaty to operate on foreign soil. Pre-screening takes place in myriad Caribbean and Canadian airports, so that flights from those countries can arrive at US airports and be treated as domestic ones, easing the burden on CPB here at home, and widening the number of airports that can be served.
You know what else? Look at this picture:
That’s a sign in the Dublin airport. Dublin, Ireland, European Union. There are CPB personnel in Ireland – across the Atlantic Ocean – who are there to pre-screen travelers to the United States. They do it in Toronto, too.
The shared border management idea was first proposed and rejected under President George W. Bush and his Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff in 2007. The Obama Administration killed the idea in 2009 after briefly toying with it earlier that year.
If we can accomplish this across the ocean, certainly we can get it done across the Niagara River?