While the shutdown continues over President Donald Trump’s fixation about building a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, House Democrats plan to investigate staffing at the porous U.S.-Canada border, where there are nearly 200 vacancies for Border Patrol agents.
Dems running the House Homeland Security Committee say the terrorist threat at the northern border is real and the Department of Homeland Security has warned that terrorists can cross the U.S.Canada border legally and easily.
“Where is it that, you know, there’s porous areas in our homeland security structure?” said Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.), who is expected to chair the House Homeland Security Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee. “And I think looking at the Canadian border is definitely a place I want to go.”
The White House is asking for $211 million to hire 750 additional Border Patrol agents, mostly for the U.S.-Mexico border, where more than 17,000 agents are already stationed.
Only about 2,000 agents now patrol the U.S.-Canada border even though it’s nearly twice as long as the U.S.-Mexico one, according to a recent report by House Homeland Security Committee, which plans to “ensure security of the northern border hasn’t been ignored by the administration,” a committee spokesperson said.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has found it challenging to recruit and retain agents at the 5,525-mile-long northern border, which is dotted by waterways and significantly sparsely populated sections.
Possible terrorist threats may stem “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 … without suspicion,” according to a recent Department of Homeland Security report.
Canada had three terrorist attacks in 2017 and “the main internal threat is from lone actors” inspired by organizations such as the Islamic State and al-Qaida, according to a recent State Department county report, while “there was no credible evidence” that global terrorist groups are in Mexico or have sent members into the U.S. via the U.S-Mexico border.