The strengthening of the security of the border between the United States and Mexico remains an important issue in the U.S. presidential campaign, and why shouldn’t it be? Borders are important to countries throughout the world.
If you don’t believe that, try sneaking into Canada.
Yes. During the Vietnam War, many American draft dodgers fled to Canada, through the light wire fences that then constituted most of the Canadian border.
However, the Canadians didn’t like being “invaded” by Americans fleeing the draft, and they got tough. Over the years, as a result, Canada is one of the harder countries to enter, and to settle in.
There’s still a fairly easy movement back and forth over the Canadian border, but that can be deceiving. The Canadians are having to defend themselves against smugglers, especially smugglers of drugs. They also are tightening regulations against people who want to go to Canada to take advantage of that country’s almost-free medical care and the low prices on prescription drugs that can be obtained in Canada.
And some people just want to move to Canada because of a perception that it is environmentally superior to the United States. There’s no evidence for that, of course.
However, Canadians are pretty fervent about keeping their country clean, in many ways.
If you decide to be a litter bug in Canada, expect to pay a hefty fine if you get caught, and it won’t matter if you’re a tourist who claims he “didn’t know.”
They also want to keep their country clean in other ways — by keeping dirty-mouthed rap musicians from performing there.
Many is the rap group that has found itself turned away at the border because of the lyrics they want to bring with them and perform in public.
The Canadians and the U.S. last year signed a “pre-clearance” arrangement to allow Canadian customs agents to work on the U.S. side of the border, and armed U.S. agents to work on the Canadian side.
That is making it tougher for smugglers to take advantage of crowded border-crossing stations and their tendency to allow people a little more leeway in crossing, just to clear traffic jams. Now, Canadian border agents can detain Americans they suspect of trying to get contraband over the Canadian border, and U.S. agents can do the same in Canada, before those suspects ever reach a crossing station.
Canadian customs agents are tough. If you argue with them, they will move you out of line, cuff you and sit you on the curb. Then they will take your car and park it somewhere you may not be able to find later.
Because of terrorism threats, the U.S. is as tough on Canadians as Canadians are on Americans.
At nearly 4,000 miles, the U.S.-Canadian border is the longest undefended border in the world, but the Canadians take that border seriously.
For their part, the Mexicans are just as tough with their border.
It is only the Americans who seem to have a light touch on their border ... and yet, that has been changing for a long time.
Nations value their borders, enforce them, and take steps to make sure they aren’t violated.
That’s a reasonable expectation world wide.