The Department of Homeland Security today released an updated strategy for the northern border that the department said will “improve DHS’s efforts to safeguard our northern border against terrorist and criminal threats, facilitate the safe and efficient flow of lawful cross-border trade and travel, and strengthen cross-border critical infrastructure protection and community resilience.”
The strategy is an update from 2012, taking into consideration findings from last summer’s Northern Border Threat Analysis Report to Congress.
DHS said in a statement that the next step would be drawing up an implementation plan that “would evaluate progress toward addressing any identified capability gaps on the northern border.” It will also take into account collaborative relationships with local, state and tribal law enforcement along the U.S. side of the northern border, and Canadian agencies on the north side.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein met with law enforcement officials in Montreal on Monday; the Justice Department tweeted that they “discuss shared goals and partnership opportunities.”
DHS said the updated strategy will “enhance border security operations through better information sharing, improved domain awareness, and integrated operations,” “facilitate and safeguard lawful trade and travel by enhancing rapid inspection and screening, enforcing a fair trade environment, and bolstering border infrastructure,” and “promote cross-border resilience by supporting response and recovery capabilities between federal, state, local, tribal, and Canadian partners.”
“In 2017, DHS conducted an assessment of Northern Border security and concluded that while the Northern Border remains an area of limited threat in comparison to the U.S. Southern Border, safeguarding and securing the Northern Border presents unique challenges. The most common threat to U.S. public safety along the Northern Border continues to be the bi-directional flow of illicit drugs. Transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) are also active along the border and they continually adapt their drug production, smuggling methods, and routes to avoid detection by U.S. and Canadian law enforcement,” the strategy states. “Potential terror threats are primarily from homegrown violent extremists in Canada who are not included in the U.S. Government’s consolidated terrorist watch list and could therefore enter the United States legally at Northern Border ports of entry (POEs) without suspicion.”