The U.S. border with Canada has been subject to increasing scrutiny in recent years, especially since September 11, 2001, when security concerns have overshadowed economic ones, despite the fact of Canada remaining our foremost trading partner. Stewart Rabinowitz, an immigration lawyer with the Dallas-based firm Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, believes that a crucial balance can be achieved along with improved functioning of border crossings.
The international border between Canada and the United States has inherited a different kind of priority since the attacks of September 11, 2001. Four geographically distinct corridors or “gateways” exist along the 3,000+ mile U.S. – Canada border: the Cascadian gateway in the Pacific Northwest, the Great Lakes gateway in the Midwest, the extensive Rural gateway in unpopulated areas, and the Continent spanning Perimeter gateway. “Each needs a different mix of infrastructure and technology to respond to unique regional conditions,” says Rabinowitz.
What’s just as important to consider are the different types of U.S. Canadian users. “Five types of users predominate,” Rabinowitz explains, “Commercial shippers, energy shippers, regular commuters, tourists, and perhaps most crucially, illicit border crossers. The prevalence of these five types of people in varying degrees of concentration says a great deal about the surprising heterogeneity of our northern border.” What Rabinowitz objects to is that the post-2001 border strategy stresses uniformity while downplaying this diversity. “We employ one-size-fits-all rules that ignore this diversity, and sometimes conflate conditions at the U.S. – Canadian border with those at the more difficult U.S. – Mexican border,” he argues.
One contentious issue is that borderland communities have little or no channel for regular input on key policy issues. Regional differences are often minimized or even overlooked by “one border” rules and programs. “Some categories of U.S. border users have seen their needs addressed, but overall the picture is less positive, and a balance between security and prosperity is lacking,” Rabinowitz says. All too frequently, “one border” rules falsely equate U.S-Canadian border conditions with those of the more challenging U.S – Mexican border.
A complicating factor is the current recession. The auto industry has been struck with particular force and this industry remains critical to U.S. – Canada trade. “Without a bi-national integration of North American manufacturing, the economy of not only these two countries but the global economy continues to suffer,” Rabinowitz explains.
Rabinowitz advocates several initiatives that may prove conducive to achieving the necessary balance. “It’s important to publicly adopt a two-speed approach to the Canadian and Mexican borders,” he stresses, “while emulating the 30-point U.S. – Canada Smart Border Action Plan on a local level.”
To learn more about Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C., call 1.972.233.6200 or visit http://www.rabinowitzrabinowitz.com.