Legislation Requires Examination of Threats and Security Needs at 5,500 Mile Long Northern Border to Improve Resources, Safety
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), a member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, today applauded the passage in the U.S. Senate of the bipartisan Northern Border Security Review Act. Peters, along with Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Ron Johnson (R-WI), introduced the legislation last year, which requires a comprehensive examination of how to strengthen American security at the Northern Border with Canada, protect Michigan’s ports and prevent human trafficking. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives.
“The Northern Border is critical to our economy, allowing goods and travelers through some of the busiest border crossings in the nation,” said Senator Peters. “This bipartisan bill will help protect the Northern Border and prevent criminal activity like human trafficking as we work to promote more efficient trade and travel to help grow our economy.”
The Northern Border is 5,500 miles long and has 120 border crossings ranging from major exchanges to small and rural crossings. Michigan has the second longest section of the border behind Alaska, measuring 721 miles. Michigan is also home to two of the busiest Northern Border crossings—the Detroit-Windsor Crossing and the Port Huron-Sarnia Crossing. Approximately 300,000 people and $910 million in trade cross the Northern Border every day, representing the largest bilateral flows of goods and people in the world.
The Northern Border Security Review Act aims to address challenges at the Northern Border by requiring the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to complete a full assessment of the security threats and challenges at the border. The United States and Canada last conducted a joint border and threat risk assessment in 2011, and the DHS published its Northern Border Strategy in 2012.
This legislation will update the United States’ threat assessment to effectively respond to emerging challenges, and will examine numerous issues, including recruiting and retaining border security officials to cover the Northern Border to protect Michigan’s Northern ports. It would also determine tools to effectively combat drug and human trafficking at the Northern Border, identify improvements needed at ports of entry and along the maritime border between the United States and Canada, and find vulnerabilities in cooperation between Canadian, state, local and tribal law enforcement.