S. - Canadian border. And what makes it all even worse is that even U.S. Border Patrol Agents need to sleep every once in a while so less than a third of the 1,000 are on duty at any one moment. The real number is secret but a safe guess could be that fewer than 250 agents are on-duty defending us from the dozens of known terrorist cells operating in Canada. Of the 22 U.S. Border Patrol Sectors, there are only seven are considered absolutely critical to a secure America (Northern Border, n.d.).
The Detroit Sector for instance is one of these. It is accountable for 804 miles of total wilderness between Michigan and Canada. The Detroit area is home not just to wilderness but to the city of Detroit which has the largest Muslim populace anywhere outside of the Middle East. With a Muslim population exceeding 150,000, Detroit is amending the city noise ordinance so that mosques might use loudspeakers for the call to prayer. According to federal records the Detroit Sector doubled its pre 2001 staff. The number of Border Patrol Agents now positioned between Muslim communities with known terrorist cells operating on both sides of the border is 76. The Detroit area agents patrol 806 miles of Great Lakes coastline and use boats, SUVs, and even snowmobiles. Taking into consideration shift work, days off, vacations, and sick leave, at any given time there are probably fewer than 10 agents guarding America from the known terrorist cells in Canada who are just waiting for their chance to attack (Northern Border, n.d.).
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has expanded the use of security cameras on the northern border with Canada to reduce the chances terrorists, illegal aliens, or contraband will slip over the northern border into the United States undetected. The department has positioned 44 cameras in Detroit along Lake St. Clair, which divides the city from Canada, and 20 cameras in Buffalo along the Niagara River. There are currently about 20 cameras along the entire 4,000-mile border between Canada and the continental U.S. The $20 million program is the department's first major effort to see whether the northern border, which has large swaths of woods, hills and lakes, can benefit from the extensive camera network. The new cameras were positioned in trees and buildings to monitor the border. This new program is part of the Secure Border Initiative run inside of DHS by Customs and Border Protection (Harwood, 2009).
Due to the vast size of the U.S.-Canadian border it is not feasible to be able to position enough human capital along the stretch in order to make sure that it is completely secure. All of the research points to the use of technology as the way to go in the future. The government has begun to move in this direction with the implementation of cameras along the border, but more research needs to be done in order to see what other technological advances could be used in order to help the cause. The security threat along this border is a very real one and is something that needs to be addressed sooner than later. Everyday that goes by allows for the opportunity for a breach of security to happen which would not be a good thing to happen at all. There needs to be more work and effort into making sure that the Northern Border is as secure as possible so that everyone is safe.
Ackleson, Jason. (2009). From "Thin" to "Thick" (and Back Again?): The Politics and Policies
of the Contemporary U.S. -- Canada Border. Review of Canadian Studies. 39(4), p. 336-
Harwood, Matthew. (2009). DHS to Deploy More Cameras at Northern Border. Retrieved March 14, 2010, from Security Management Web site: