Bob Haase’s Another Can Of Worms

U.S.-Canadian Border Security

I have been making trips to Ontario, Canada for years to go musky fishing.  I have to go through the Canadian border security going there and through the United States border security coming back.  There doesn’t seem to be much consistency in going through border security from year to year, especially coming back into the United States.  There is also a big difference in the border security at International Falls compared to Sault Ste Marie.

In July of this year we went through International Fall going to fish Eagle Lake.  Canadian border security checked our passports and asked few basic questions such as where we were going, how long we were staying, do we have an alcohol or tobacco products, and do we have any guns or ammunition. Coming back the United States border security again checked our passports and asked the same questions.

In September of this year we went through Sault Ste Marie on our way to Fishing the French River in Ontario.   The Canadian Border security again checked our passports and asked us the same questions.  Coming back we were behind a camping trailer and it took the United States border security about 15 to 20 minutes to search and check the camper.  They found and confiscated two oranges.  When they checked us they asked us if we had any fruits or vegetables and we had three apples and two onions that we had not eaten.  They allowed us to keep them.  The border patrol officer also complained because we did not have a license plate on our boat trailer.  I explained that we did not need one in Wisconsin and they said it messed up their system.

For the most part the border patrol are friendly and are doing their job to protect us.  The problem I have with the system is that they did not ask anyone with cars to open their trunks for inspection.  I had a tarp covering my boat like many others and could have hidden anything under it, but was not asked to remove it for inspection.  They seemed more concerned about fruits and vegetables than if I was hidding someone or something like drugs or explosives. 

I do not mind taking the time to go through border security if it means protecting the United States citizens from the wrong people or things getting into this country.  They could have one person in the booth checking passports and asking questions and a second person outside the vehicle checking trunks and looking into boats and trailers with a requirement to have the boat uncovered going through security.  They could also use drug and explosive sniffing dogs to check the vehicles.  Maybe there should be under vehicle inspections by the use of mirrors and cameras. 

You may think this would be overkill, but I get a better vehicle inspection coming out of the yards at Menards than I do crossing the border.  With everything that is going in our our world today, I think we need to take another look at border security and do more than ask if we have any fruits or vegetables.  We need better technology and more thorough inspections to at least include opening trunks of vehicles.  

Bob Haase is the host of “Outdoors Thursday” heard Thursday mornings at 9:10 a.m. on News-Talk 1450 KFIZ.