Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Border checkpoint relies on honor system
We all know that security has been tightened at U.S. border crossings since 9/11. And that's why we were quite surprised when we found out the tale of one particular crossing on the border with Canada.

This official U.S. Customs and Border Protection reporting station is on the border between Manitoba, a Canadian province, and Minnesota, and relies on the honor system. Yes, the U.S. government is counting on all people who cross into Angle Inlet, Minnesota, to report themselves via telephone. There are no permanent customs or immigration officials who work at the checkpoint.

Angle Inlet is the northernmost city in the contiguous United States. To get there over land, you have to drive 40 miles within Canada to the other end of the Lake of the Woods, so the Minnesota town is in essence an enclave that sits within Canada. Because of that geographical quirk, and because very few people live up there, the checkpoint has always been laidback.

But in this day and age, law enforcement officials in Lake of the Woods County, Minnesota, are very concerned. The sheriff there says he has intelligence that drug smugglers and potential terrorists take advantage of the "honor system" to cross into Angle Inlet illegally and then take a boat across the Lake of the Woods to go into "mainland" Minnesota.

The checkpoint looks like a shack. You are supposed to stop your car when you get there, get out, and pick up a videophone that often doesn't work.

When we got there, we picked up the phone and pushed a button that has the American flag on it. Nothing happened the first six or seven times I pushed the button. Finally, I heard a Customs employee's voice. She said her name was Officer Johnson, and she cordially told me she was in the Customs office in Warroad, Minnesota, about 50 miles away.

She told me to stand in front of the camera so she could see me. Then video of her popped on the screen so I could see her. She asked for my name and my purpose for coming to the United States, and asked me to hold my passport in front of the camera so she could see it. I was then approved for entry into the United States.

While we were at the border "shack," other cars just zoomed by; not necessarily because the motorists were up to no good, but because many perceive the shack with the faulty phone to be a cumbersome waste of time.

Residents are given special permits to avoid going into the shack, but it's estimated by the local sheriff that 70 percent of the people who are supposed to stop don't bother doing so. So is this border checkpoint going to stay this way? That's what we asked U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials.

They told us that this is not considered the "highest risk" area. But officials did tell us some changes are in store.

Customs officers do make patrols to the checkpoint. They said those patrols will be increased. In addition, they said there will be technological changes, including the installation of cameras providing surveillance over the area, not just inside the shack.

Before we left Angle Inlet, we met one motorist from Manitoba who did his law-abiding duty and picked-up the videophone to report his arrival into the United States. But it would not work for him, so he picked-up an old-fashioned payphone and called the office. They couldn't see him or his passport, but customs officials thanked him for trying, and then let him into the United States.
Posted By Gary Tuchman, CNN Correspondent: 3:24 PM ET
Here's a new buzz we've heard lately around the coolers.

The Republicans are so behind in this coming elections that they have actually used this gut issue to fire up voters to keep them in power so that 'hard liners' like Rep. Tancredo, Sensenbrenner, Sen. Sessions, etc. will connect with the anger on this subject.

Politics of Fear... Iraq and WMD all over again.
Posted By Anonymous Jeff M. - Chicago, IL : 4:17 PM ET
This is one of the stupidest and most ridiculous things I've ever read. But that's our government for you. I guess I'm not totally surprised. US Government = Incompetence.

Hopefully, now that this has been pointed out in the news, this will be "fixed"? If not, hopefully someone will be brought to trial?
Posted By Anonymous BIll W, Coatesville, PA : 4:27 PM ET
Are people going to start building a fence across the Canadian border?

Personally, I would put that on my "cold day in hell" list, but I'll eat my words if they do.

This blatantly shows that border security is not the true issue in all of these illegal immigration debates. But honesty is in short supply when it comes to politics, and we lie to ourselves as much as the politicians lie to us, if not more so.
Posted By Anonymous Sarah, Baltimore, MD : 4:34 PM ET
What a joke!
Posted By Anonymous Saunts, Miami, FL : 4:40 PM ET
Announcing this problem to the World isn't very smart, nor is the Government smart to rely on honesty. Let's face it, there are many problems with our borders, but you don't have to PUBLICIZE our WEAKNESS to the ENEMY! You should take this piece and throw it in File 13, the trash!
Posted By Anonymous m.coleman, houston, texas : 4:40 PM ET
True, but I don't see 11 million illegal, I mean "undocumented", Canadians in this country
Posted By Anonymous Dudley, Saint Joseph, Michigan : 4:43 PM ET
In an increasingly dangerous world, the United States must secure all of our borders. Just because this check point is considered low risk, doesn't mean it won't be exploited.

I imagine at one time, the government thought flying hijacked planes into skyscrapers was low risk too.
Posted By Anonymous Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA : 4:43 PM ET
In a perfect world (which all of us should be striving for anyway) this is really how all 'borders' should be.

Being an Idealist, I still think that the template for the future of the world is right here in the U.S. If in a distant future all nations parallel the relationships and commerce of these 50 States then there will be no need for borders. Some nations will be poorer, others will have a different language like Alaska, Hawaii or Louisiana?

The central government then will be for the whole of mankind. We could have George K. Bush V as president in 2088.

This continues to be my dream (much like John Lennon's).
Posted By Anonymous R. Majors - Delavan, WI : 4:43 PM ET
One for the terrorist. It makes me feel safe knowing that our borders are so well taken care of. Just wait for the dirty bomb.
Posted By Anonymous Walter Stage East hartford CT : 4:46 PM ET
You have got to be kidding me.
Posted By Anonymous Teri, Ladera Ranch, CA : 4:48 PM ET
"The sheriff there says he has intelligence that drug smugglers and potential terrorists take advantage of the "honor system" to cross into Angle Inlet illegally and then take a boat across the Lake of the Woods to go into "mainland" Minnesota."

The same holds true from any point in Canada where there is a body of water that is shared with Canada..."The Lake of the Woods" has shores in Manitoba and Ontario, Canada. Perhaps the Sheriff would like to see floating border stations to surveil the area? If memory serves me right, the most if not all the terrorist-psychos who flew into the Twin Towers had entered the US legally...Does anybody really think that erecting border stations in every backwoods border crossing area will actually prevent these wackos from getting into the country?
Posted By Anonymous Eric, Austin. TX : 4:51 PM ET
This is unbelievable and exactly why we should be talking about border security first and not get distracted by all the amnesty talks. Lets not put the cart before the horse!
Posted By Anonymous Sarah, Portland Oregon : 4:53 PM ET
Having grown up on the Canadian prairies, I've often said that if I needed to move large numbers of people into the US undetected, I'd start in Manitoba or Saskatchewan. West of Lake Superior there is effectively 1000 miles of unpatrolled border, and that's before you get into the rough terrain of the Rocky Mountains.
Posted By Anonymous Ian (Vancouver, BC) : 4:56 PM ET
Send former Fema Chief Brownie up there. He needs a job.
Posted By Anonymous Matt, Plainfield New Jersey : 4:58 PM ET
Actually lived in that neighborhood for a year, but the ongoing issue of the all borders/ports needs to start with a change in an antiquated and hardly secure passport system with a poor data base/computer program. It's the need for the hi-tech world to invade government with the requirement of a tamper-proof universal ID with a biometric component. Can we call on Gates/Credit card companies and get in the 21st Century? Then we'd have a chance to secure borders, ports and the waving grains of wheat. Hopefully, those who avoid the road your talking about get lost in the amazing wilderness.
Posted By Anonymous linda, bella vista, ar : 5:04 PM ET
I guess I don't see the issue here. If a smuggler has to travel by boat to get to the US proper, then they could cross almost anywhere along the 547 mile watery border that Minnesota shares with Canada. Why does it mater where they sailed from?
Posted By Anonymous Aaron, Mounds View, MN : 5:05 PM ET
There is another "honor system" checkpoint I happened upon at the border between Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta and Glacier National Park in Montana. The actual border is marked by a pair of obelisks and has no guard infrastructure at all -- a hiking trail passes through there and there's a small clearing and a boat launch - perfect for lunch breaks! There are many stern signs instructing you to check in at the U.S. ranger station several miles down the way, at a peril of $50,000 fine, but the likelihood of being caught if this check-in is skipped is small. Being good citizens, we took the 1-mile detour to the station and registered, but if we had arrived after 7pm or missed the turnoff, we would have been in violation! I doubt this is much of a threat to national security - miles of hiking trails separate any illegal entry from emergence into civilization.
Posted By Anonymous Jon, Los Angeles, CA : 5:07 PM ET
We have spent over quarter of a TRILLION dollars fighting terror in Iraq and we have to rely on the honor system at our boarder crossings? I'm glad to see Washington has their priorities in order. Whats next - asking members of Al Quieda to voluntarily register themselves on the terrorist watchlists?
Posted By Anonymous Stan, Port Richey Fl : 5:07 PM ET
Good thing your not broadcasting that information across the internet.
Posted By Anonymous Richard, Virginia Beach, VA : 5:11 PM ET
I'd like to thank you for pointing out the absolute 'soft spot' for entry into the U.S. to every international terrorist.
Posted By Anonymous DS, Eugene OR : 5:12 PM ET
Good job pointing this out to everyone, just in case any Terrorists/Drug Smugglers didn't know this place existed.
Posted By Anonymous Rajan, Corpus Christi, Texas : 5:15 PM ET
There are plenty of places in the province of Quebec where there is no control over the U.S. border. The border even goes through towns and in some cases, through people's houses...
Posted By Anonymous Yann, Quebec City, QC : 5:19 PM ET
Gary Tuchman points out that once you pass the shack, you can't drive anywhere in the US, but you could take a boat across Lake of the Woods. I'd like to point out that the alarm seen at this is completely illogical. There are many other lakes and rivers between Canada and the US: the Great Lakes for example. I think boats float on these too. And they don't even have a shack with a sometimes functional video-phone protecting them. This kind of sensationalist 'reporting' is exactly the type of thing the keeps this country in fear and allows the Administration to do whatever they want.
Posted By Anonymous Damian, Palo Alto, CA : 5:21 PM ET
Why bother going into Angle Inlet if you are intent on crossing Lake of The Woods? There are dozens of public access points to the lake within Canada. Does it make it more evil if they "sneak" in at this remote point.

Next you will have to do a major expose on the customs stations between Quetico Provincial Park and the Boundary Waters Wilderness canoe area. How about the thousands of miles of U.S. - Canada border you can simply walk across with no one within a dozen miles to see you?

All this is is a pathetic attempt to rile the nation.
Posted By Anonymous Scott - Minneapolis, MN : 5:26 PM ET
Please build a fence real as soon as possible to keep all those war-mongering gun-toting Americans out of Canada!
Posted By Anonymous Rick, Toronto Ontario : 5:29 PM ET
If anything, I think Americans should take advantage of it, and move up to Canada. This would be a great opportunity for seniors to get out, and enjoy lower cost perscription drugs. Plus we love our immigrants. America should too! Only Native americans deserv the right to say they are true North Americans.

So with that said... Go ahead and build a big azz wall so you can all stay inside, and I'll sit back up here and throw snowballs at it.
Posted By Anonymous David M, Ontario Canada : 5:29 PM ET
As a Canadian, I am not surprised by this. In fact I think there is a similar situation somewhere in Quebec where the border splits a suburban street and runs through a local community hall. So what? We're good with the honour system. Maybe we should be worried that some Americans might try to sneak into Canada! But seriously, I do understand the concern from your side of the border because you have legitimate issues re/ threats of terrorism and perhaps it makes sense to tighten security - in case someone tries to use Canada to get into the states - esp. now that this weak link in the border has been publicized.
Posted By Anonymous Dianne, Toronto, Ontario : 5:30 PM ET
Maybe we should put the honor system into effect on the Mexican border as well. The present system doesn't seem to be keeping out all of the illegals anyway. And, of course, with the honor system, we could outsource the video checking to India or Pakistan, so we'll save even more.
Posted By Anonymous Paul, Vernal, UT : 5:32 PM ET
I went to Angle Inlet two summers ago and also had problems getting the phone to the customs officials to work. I horsed around for thirty minutes before I could get a hold of anyone, which is still an hour and a half less than it takes to get through the checkpoint at International Falls, MN. Since you cannot get anywhere in the US from Angle Inlet (via land), I don't think the security need be any tighter there unless the people of Angle Inlet themselves want security tighter...and since tourism is the only business up there, I doubt that the people of Angle Inlet would want that.
Posted By Anonymous Scott, New Albin, IA : 5:33 PM ET
Here's my theory, the U.S. is trying really hard to keep a peaceful relationship with Canada - I mean imagine the P.R. nightmare that would come from having a bunch of "angry" Canadians picketing for the right to cross the border unchecked, in one of the coldest and most remote regions of the country - that might just be a can of worms this entire government isn't prepared for, eh!
Posted By Anonymous Lori Missoula, MT : 5:38 PM ET
This is what the terrorist's want, they want us to spend all our money on security and drive this whole country into bankruptcy and paranoia,to self destruct, change our way of living, I hope they did not win this one.
Posted By Anonymous Eric, Marlborough MA : 5:42 PM ET
It takes ppl to to man those posts. Where is the money going to come from when tax cuts to those who least need them take priority?
Posted By Anonymous Michael, Gaithersburg, MD : 5:47 PM ET
Hi Gary,

I live in the Metro Detroit area just across the river from Windsor Ontario. From there we have two ways to get across - the Windsor Detroit Tunnel and the Ambassador Bridge. Both of these have checkpoints manned by Border/Custom Agents. And believe me these guys are no nonsence. When they ask you your country of residence eeach person in the car better answer individually or they won't let you cross until you do.Since 9/11 the time to get to Canada has increased considerably because of all the scrutiny so you had better plan on the extra wait time.

During boating season many people like to take their craft across the Detroit River for Dinner and it use to be very simple, but now you must have a special pass to go over for each visit. The problem is that a lot of new boaters aren't aware of this and get bogged down when they try to enter Canadian waters.

I am all for keeping the border safe, but there has to be an easier and less time consuming way than they have right now. One last thing there seems to be no problem bringing hazardous trash over to the US by way of MI, but when it comes to people we have to sit and wait.
Posted By Anonymous Gracie, Detroit MI : 5:48 PM ET
Rather than criticize the honor system, why not recognize how well it works? Millions of people cross the U.S. - Canada border every day without threat to the security of either nation. Meanwhile, underground censors, television cameras, satellite surveillance, and old fashioned police work do an excellent job of catching those who do try to cross the border illegally. Let your reporter try to make the crossing with a trunkful of illegal drugs, and I bet he would find the border a lot more secure than it first looks.
Posted By Anonymous David Wood, Prince George, B.C. : 5:52 PM ET
You don't need to hike through mountains or take a boat across a lake to cross the Canadian border into the US...just find the open prairie land of Montana or North Dakota and walk right in....no one is around for miles. There might be a ranchers barb wire fence as your only impediment.
Posted By Anonymous Bob, Tampa Florida : 5:55 PM ET
Great !!!

Now everybody who knows a 'secret' pass from Canada to the U.S. now post their comments OK? There's such a thing as too much information, no?

All the anger and hysteria about security along the Mexican border was then just smokescreen and red herring for the terrorists that really come through Canada? Or is this just a white and brown thang?

Somebody please inform the Minutemen... (they'll have some good fishing spots while guarding the border - a refreshing break from that desert heat down south)
Posted By Anonymous Geoff Mayers, - Gary, IN : 6:11 PM ET
That's why the best marijuana in the country is called, "Manitoba Bud."

Allegedly it is easy to get across the border.
Posted By Anonymous JD, Cincinnati, OH : 6:12 PM ET
I love it! My wife and I were actually AT this checkpoint last September- on a trip to fish for Muskies (not Edmund). All true- the video phone did not work. The payphone worked but then cut-out. The power outages in the area often render the entire thing useless. It is a riot and of course we had great fun making political satire while we tried to figure the system out. I wouldn't worry too much though- if you are an un-friendly and do make it through undetected and aren't prepared- the bears and wolves will do the job that security can't. The word "remote" doesn't do the setting justice. Beautiful place, terrible sytem and we did get two muskies but not the 50" fish we were looking for!
Posted By Anonymous Todd, Mundelein, IL : 6:14 PM ET
Well if this doesn't beat all....I mean have you ever heard of an "honest" terrorist....come on Homeland Security. I am absolutely appalled.
Posted By Anonymous Tina, Las Vegas Nevada : 6:21 PM ET
You are worried over nothing. Im a canadian, there are many more al qaeda in the usa than in canada. The 911 terrorists were legally allowed in the usa by us customs. All we do in canada is drink beer and watch hockey. Stop picking on us up here
Posted By Anonymous bill ottawa canada : 6:23 PM ET
Who knows...maybe there will be a mass exodus to Canada from the US. Then they'll have the same problem the US faces with it's southern border.
Posted By Anonymous Stewart Denver, CO : 6:31 PM ET
All borders, including the Canadian, should be secured. The socialist/communist forms of government will not work. Laying down our weapons to all become one big happy family will not work. It's a 1960s concept and it's time to get over it.
Posted By Anonymous Kathy Lenexa KS : 6:32 PM ET
What I can see by reading the notes on the latest immigration topics is that the average american is becoming xenophibic and tending to talk in a "as matter of fact" style when they are really not well informed about what they are talking about.
War against terror and fight illegal immigration are very important issues but they do not seem to understand the difference. Please get informed on the real dependence on illegal immigration = cheap labor to sustain the american way of life. Without illegal immigration America will have to be ready to pay 30 - 40% more for almost everything in the food, construction and services industry. Are you guys ready for that??
Posted By Anonymous Roberto Gayol. CanCun Mexico : 6:35 PM ET
This kind of thing isn't uncommon. The US / Canadian border is the longest unguarded border in the world and there are hundreds, if not thousands of local roads that skip between the US and Canada sprinkled all around the US. I grew up in rural western Maine and we often drove into Canada (as I did last summer while on vacation) and never we crosed until we saw the welcome sign...
Posted By Anonymous John D. Concord, NC : 6:36 PM ET
All of the questions surrounding the debate over the issues with illegal aliens in our nation are all rhetorical in nature. People who claim to be of the Christian faith(and alot of people do!)should already know the answer:
Leviticus 19:33 states: "When a foreigner lives with you in your own land, don't take advantage of him. Treat the foreigner the same as a native. Love him like one of your own. Remember that you were once foregeigners in Egypt. I am God, your God." Then again, why would this little verse mean anything? We're a nation where we allow debate over taking away the Ten Commandments. Nothing good can be bestowed upon us. Our nation is turning against the God who gave it to us - along with a manual on how to live here. We just don't follow it.
Posted By Anonymous Jodi Rae, Valley City, ND : 6:37 PM ET
Seriously folks, look at a map of the Minnesota-Canada border. It is essentially indefensible. Try building a fence through 400 feet of water. The bulk of the aquatic border (around Warroad east to the edge of Lake of the Woods; and International Falls east to Lake Superior) is true wilderness. The reality is that if you can get into Canada, you can boat over to Minnesota in a zillion places and never be noticed.

The issue with the Canadian border isn�t the checkpoints; it�s who gets into Canada in the first place. Canada�s immigration and tourist visa policy is the first line of defense for the US. The same holds true for Mexico. We need to stop diluting ourselves that this is a border checkpoint issue.
Posted By Anonymous DS, Minneapolis, MN : 6:37 PM ET
In all honesty defending all of the 49th parallel is a waste of time and energy. First of all, it is the longest boarder in the planet. To man and opperate the boarder would be ridiculous and expesnsive. Secondly, how do you defend a boarder with entire communities split by it. There are towns and villages on the boarder that have hospitals on one side and schools on the other. In fact, there is a town in Saskatchewan that has a diner at the end of the main street with one side in the US and the other in Canada. The idea of this and the passport issue is absurd.
Posted By Anonymous Tiffany, Vancouver B.C. : 6:38 PM ET
Who cares that this tiny enclaved border crossing isn't manned? Do you really think it matters? I mean, how easy is it to just get in a boat on some border lake and make the crossing nowhere near this station to begin with?

If bad people want in, they'll get in, whether or not the Minnesota Angle Inlet station is manned or not.
Posted By Anonymous Mike, Medford, MA : 6:47 PM ET
Perhaps the people of the United States should consider themselves lucky as to have a neighbour like Canada on their northern border. It's one of the more positive things you have going for you in this day and age.
Posted By Anonymous A.Magnan, Ottawa, ON : 6:52 PM ET
Isnt the US and Canada just one big country?
Posted By Anonymous A.A, miami,FL : 7:18 PM ET
Thank God for the 175,000 Homeland Security people actively trying to protect us. Thank God their efforts and devotion are not simply invalidated by some foolish oversight, taking place in some provincial outpost.
Posted By Anonymous George Gatter, NYC : 7:21 PM ET
I once served on a very secure border. It was so secure, people even got shot for trying to cross it.. Sure no one got out but it also kept freedom out. It came down, it was the wall between West and east Germany. I was a U.S. soldier on that border. Only tryannts build walls.

If a wall goes up, the terroist have won!! They did their job on 911 and like lambs to slaughter we give into our fear and our freedom up for the promise to be safe. A wall will not keep the evil out, it will find another way. But it will keep the good people out.. We need to stop fighting a war on terror, and instead change to being for peace.

If you believe peace doesnt work. Then I invite you to slap the next person you see.. The person will respond with another slap to your face.. hate breeds hate... You cant give something different than what you want to recieve..
Posted By Anonymous Todd, Taylor Michigan : 7:32 PM ET
I think all of the people who are pointing out the lax security at other points on the boarders of the US are missing the point. Securing our boarders is something we CAN do if we have the will to do so.

The 50 states have about 20,000 miles of boarder - both land and water. If our elected officials cared as much about securing our boarders as they do the war in Iraq we could spend nearly $3000 for each and every linear FOOT of the boarder. I dont know about anyone else, but I'd think $3,000 / ft would buy a HECK of alot of security. If nothing else it sure would buy a very sturdy fence - even for a government used to spending 400$ on a hammer and 800$ on a toilet seat.
Posted By Anonymous Stan, Port Richey Fl : 7:53 PM ET
Yikes! Protect my country! How crazy is this government? Why must our nation be so lethargic in preserving the sanctity of our borders?

I am outraged that undocumented Americans may enter The Great White North, and demand an RCMP station and a donut shop be constructed immediately!
Posted By Anonymous K. Manchester, Toronto, Canada : 8:07 PM ET
Here's another example of CNN using a NON-ISSUE to whip up some more fear, like there isn't already enough going around. We aren't about to build a wall/fence/minefield around the entire US. Stop worrying, stop living in fear. Get over it. Instead of being afraid of the boogyman coming across a lake from Canada (oh PLEASE), maybe the question we should be pondering is, "Why does the media and government try so hard to perpetuate fear and dread in the US population? Being afraid doesnt make you any safer, folks.
Posted By Anonymous Brian Dowell, Roeland Park, KS : 8:08 PM ET
Obviously, our borders need to be protected in order to ensure that terrorists with a bomb do not sneak across. But politicians on both sides have once again demonstrated their incompetence and inability to provide sensible answers to two very distinct issues. Rather than addressing immigration and the threat of a terrorist sneaking across our borders as two unrelated issues, politicians have resorted to the easiest of all emotions, fear, in an attempt to ensure their political survival. Building a wall along the Mexican or Canadian borders to keep terrorists from sneaking past our borders will not address the fundamental causes that lead people from 3rd world countries to risk their lives to enter this country. We must stop kidding ourselves and think that once we solve the immigration issue, we will also be safe from terrorists coming across the borders and setting off a bomb in a major American city. The last thing I want to see is Condeleeza Rice testifying in front of Congress stating that we never could have imagined a terrorist would sneak across the Canadian border and set off a bomb in the Pacific Northwest. But of course, our politicians will use immigrants as the scapegoats to work the masses into a froth and once they have survived the next election cycle, we will have accomplished absolutely nothing.
Posted By Anonymous Juan Felipe Bermudez, Las Vegas : 8:36 PM ET
American guns illegally brought into Canada are a much bigger threat to the Canadian way of life, than Canadians crossing into the USA could ever be to your way of life.
Posted By Anonymous Lawrence, Toronto ON CANADA : 8:38 PM ET
It's the numbers man... 6,500,000,000 people in the world, 298,000,000 in the U.S. - roughly 4 and a half percent. Developed nations are probably less than 10 percent of the world population. So at least nine out of ten people at least consider immigrating to a developed nation, with the U.S. being the Number One destination. Where's your messiah now?
Posted By Anonymous DF, Fairfax, VA : 9:30 PM ET
The borders have to be contained for security reasons. Any other country in the Western Hemisphere would take that same action, if they had an Osama bin Laden committed to its/their destruction. Once the borders are secured, we will be better able to equitably address the immigrant situation. In the meantime, I shudder to think of the reaction in the US if bin Laden is able to infiltrate the US through Mexico and cause major destruction here.
Posted By Anonymous Jim Hopewell Ft. Washington, Maryland : 9:51 PM ET
I've visited Angle Inlet several times and let me say, it's a terrific place. Home to the last one room school in Minnesota (known for producing top students), the Northwest Angle offers a way of life almost extinct in the U.S. today. Everyone knows and cares about everyone else in this isolated but hardly lonely place. If the U.S. has *any* community that would know when something is out of place, it's Angle Inlet.

Say we place a manned checkpoint on the road to the 'Angle. Do you seriously think that a terrorist would DRIVE in when they could instead bushwhack their way across the black cedar swamp along the other ten miles of border? Of course not... They're far more sophisticated than the average Joe/Jane American can comprehend. For instance, most people wouldn't think to defend the Minnesota border more heavily in winter when it would be easier to cross.

If we put a checkpoint on the road to the 'Angle, will we then build one on Elm Point north of Warroad because -- God forbid -- we have another undefended spit of U.S. territory attached to Canada? How about on all of the U.S. islands in Lake of the Woods? The lake has 14,500 islands and over 65,000 miles of shoreline, and that's no typo. The first survey crews sent to mark the international boundary gave up because the myriad bays and inlets prevented them from determining the northwesternmost point of the lake. Not until the days of aerial photography was the border finally settled.

How many of our tax dollars will it take to keep guards on patrolling the border up there when the temperature plunges to -40F? I'll bet more than you're willing to spend for such a minute increase in "security".

Face it, the U.S.-Canada border is indefensible without massive expenditures and disruptions to commerce for which I doubt anyone has an appetite. Let's worry about more important matters like energy independence, corruption in Washington and getting our troops home safely. And let's hope that this publicity doesn't spoil access to one of America's most unique destinations.
Posted By Anonymous Rich K., Minneapolis MN : 11:17 PM ET
The fact of the matter is that Canada's borders with the rest of the world are a heck of a lot less porous than Mexico's. So if a terrorist/criminal wants to slip into the US, he'll have an easier time going through Mexico. Also, if someone can make it through Canadian immigration into Canada, he can probably make it through US immigration straight into the US. Why bother crossing borders illegally when you can fly here with a nice US visa stamped in your passport?
Posted By Anonymous Phil, Los Alamos, NM : 9:24 AM ET
Apparently, the difficulty in getting half-way across Canada to enter at this remote checkpoint is lost in all the fear-mongering. With the thousands of miles of un-monitored coastline alone in the US, there are far too many easier ways of entering the country. This isn't the only "honor" system entry point by far--years ago I lived in South Florida and took trips to the Bahamas, an easily accessible island chain just hours by boat off the coast of Florida. All boats entering Florida from the there were "required" to call US Customs from a phone on various ports, detail passengers and passports etc. and be approved for entry. No video, no verification, nothing. Just fly into the Carribean, charter a boat, land anywhere on the Gulf Coast, then disappear. Much easier than trekking through Canada, and you'll get a nice suntan too.
Posted By Anonymous Patrick Clay, McKinney, TX : 9:31 AM ET
I really don't think anyone needs to worry that publicizing this hole in U.S. security is giving any terrorists ideas - they already know where all the holes in our security are and have been using them. Result: 9/11. These are ruthless and heartless people, but they are also very cunning. Obviously, this President doesn't care about the safety and security of American citizens (e.g., Katrina, border/port security), since he and his own family will be very well taken care of in the event of an attack, so maybe we should be more careful about who we elect next time, and make sure it isn't someone born with a silver spoon in his mouth.
Posted By Anonymous Rita, LaGrange, IL : 9:51 AM ET
In case some don't realize it, the problem at the southern border is hotter right now. Look around you, listen and learn; it is NOT a fabrication of the "Republicans". It is a very real threat allowing not only illegal immigrants that take mid level jobs, it is drugs and gangs.How many cities have we nearly lost to gangs and drugs? 3 guesses as to where these gangs originate. Yes we need the northern border policed as well, but let's tend to the hottest one first.
Posted By Anonymous M.S. in Dale City, Virginia. : 9:54 AM ET
The only answer to this problem is to have a world federal state, which means no boarders anywhere and so no boarder problem, next question.
Posted By Anonymous Paul Jackson Santa Fe, NM : 10:16 AM ET
Yes, We need to secure our borders...increase patrol in the vincinity that matter most. Again, with all the expenses we wasted on the healthcare and support for the "illegal" We could spend that on security and borders protection.
Posted By Anonymous Peter, Atlanta GA : 11:20 AM ET
Like some of the other commentators, I remember how nice it used to be to be able to cross the U.S. / Cdn border based on the honour system (border security on both sides worked effectively and efficiently). Usually, Border Security asked a couple of questions, and off you went. Interestingly enough, this was during the Cold War, when the big bad Communist bogeyman was perched and ready to pounce.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, this fear generator disappeared. In its stead, we have now found a new bogeyman to be afraid of - Global Terrorism. Granted, there are some new challenges in our post-9/11 world, but to claim that the U.S. is on the verge of being indundated by Al-Quaeda / Islamist Extremist Terrorist infiltrators is paranoid in the extreme. The U.S. has as much to fear from its own citizens as it does the outside world, i.e. rogue militia groups blowing up federal buildings in the Midwest (ring a bell anyone???!!!), and plotting the overthrow of the United States Government.

I am not opposed to carrying travel documents such as a passport, and will gladly go through the screening/questions whenever I travel. This is the new reality in North America, and has been a reality in other parts of the world for a very long time - those of you who are complaining or opposed to getting a passport might as well just stay home. You are missing out on the opportunity to travel and experience the world.

Of greater concern is the fear-mongering and the paranoia that articles like this generates at ports of entry and more unfortunately, the population in general. It is out of proportion to the real situation which is simply that the U.S. and Canada share the longest continuous border in the world, parts of which cross through massive freshwater inland seas (the Great Lakes).

The use of fear to control is not a new phenomenon, and has been used by human beings/governments for millenia - history shows us this time and time again. When you get right down to it, this all sounds like the same rhetoric we have heard in the past, albeit the "threat" is different.
Posted By Anonymous M. Simonetta, Calgary AB : 11:40 AM ET
Okay, so Angle Inlet is not being properly served by the ICE. What is their population now maybe 200 people.
The Lake of the Woods is 90 miles long and 55 miles wide, with 14.5 thousand islands and 65,000 miles of shoreline. Approximately 1/3 of the lake is in US Territory and 2/3 in Canadian Territory.

How do you suggest ICE secure this border. But ask any local on the Minnesota side of the border and they will tell you if a stranger is in town!

Try crossing the border in Warroad coming or going without stopping and you will get a much different response. Three years ago we stopped at the border checkpoint in Warroad and didn't see anyone there. After a few minutes we started to slowly roll thru the checkpoint and I thought the ICE officer was going to arrest us. He told us it didn't matter how long it took, we needed to sit and wait. He had seen us but was busy, so we needed to wait for him to come out to our car.
I have lived in Warroad and my family still does. Now, lets talk about the southern border. That is a much bigger problem with drug and illegal alien smuggling.
Posted By Anonymous L. Grossinger, El Paso TX : 11:47 AM ET
The exact same system is in place in Florida for boaters who arrive from the Bahamas. They are supposed to dock, then drive to the nearest immigration officer at a U.S. port. Unless the immigration office is closed, like on Sunday afternoon. Then they have to come back on Monday and report.
Posted By Anonymous Mark, West Palm Beach, FL : 12:07 PM ET
I saw this show this morning,and I laughed and I laughed.With all the terrorist talk,we are still in the dark ages.Heck,where I live,they have a reporting station on a lake for crying out loud and ya phone to report in.Yep,SECURITY AT ITS BEST. But only if the phone isn;t under water
Posted By Anonymous terry halloran,manitoba,canada : 12:53 PM ET
a border is a border period
if we secure each and every border with trained USA staff just think of what that would do for both unemployment and future militray failures we have seen that have cost us how much
Posted By Anonymous George and Stephen, Glenoma WA : 1:09 PM ET
What a mess we (humans) have made, dividing this earth into pieces and us (humans) into nationalities.
Posted By Anonymous MJ, Columbia, MD : 1:10 PM ET
...Gee, I wish we could all get as fired up about UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE AND SOCIALIZED MEDICINE!

Not that immigration is a backburner issue, maybe US citizens can learn something about social action from the recent protests.

Universal Healthcare. Socialized Medicine.

Think about it.
Posted By Anonymous Louis- San Diego, CA : 1:17 PM ET
How does this pose a threat to the US? Angle Inlet is a tiny spec of land surrounded by Canada and water. This means that in orer to smuggle anything into the "mainland" US out of Angle Inlet, they would need to drive 40 miles through canada and then cross a "regualr" border/customs checkpoint on the Minn/Man border. Angle Inlet is a dead end street with no direct land link to the rest of the US.
Posted By Anonymous Matt, Ottawa, ON : 2:13 PM ET
I'm not surprised. In Rock Island, Vermont my girlfreind and I walked across the border without any customs office or honor system in place. No one stopped us and nothing was posted stating that we had any obligation to stop. The street in question is next to the Haskell Free Library and Opera House. It is a tourist attraction because the "border" goes directly the building due to the treaty sign following the War of 1812.
Posted By Anonymous J.B. Brooklyn, NY : 2:14 PM ET
Who cares! Everyone needs to get over this whole fear thing because it's starting to become pathetic.
Posted By Anonymous Rebecca Sunderman, Minneapolis, MN : 2:16 PM ET
No matter where our borders are there should be some kind of defense mechanism in place, no matter if the borders are in water, swamps, deserts, etc. Yes this nation is spending billions of dollars, our troops are all over the world, and people are willing to die to come to this nation. We are a great and powerful nation no matter what is said or done.

As a taxpaying American citizen as well as others, we as Americans need to take care of this now, we have sat back too long and complained about what is wrong with this government, money, weapons, military, well nothing gets solved unless we voice our oppinion. This a nation that was made for the people and by the people, our forefathers fought long and hard to get this nation where it is today, no its not perfect, but we are the super power of the nations. As Americans we owe our friends, family, and other Americans of all race and nationality to protect our borders and people.

Last, over a million illegal immagrats boycotted our government on Monday right........If they want change why not boycott the mexican government?
Posted By Anonymous Debbie Salem, VA : 2:57 PM ET
The US/Canada border is about 3,500 miles long. If we put a border patrol post every 1/2 mile, that would be 7000 border patrols...and there would still be 1/2 mile gaps that anyone with the ability to walk could just slip through.

It is physically impossible to control that much territory, period.
Posted By Anonymous Peter, Coeur d'Alene, ID : 3:09 PM ET
All you people who complain about this being publicized, should think it through - terrorists that want to come into the U.S. illegally, already know about this and other unsecured passages. The rest just come here legally.

And yes, the media sensationalizes everything - fear makes people believe almost anything
Posted By Anonymous bryan t., los angeles, ca : 5:02 PM ET
We Americans are selling ourselves short. There are hundreds of thousands if not millions of people who want to live here because of the free, opportunity-rich society we've built for ourselves. We are still the promised land for many, so why make it easy to wander across the border? There's no shame in immgrants' laws and in protecting our land with impenetrable checkpoints at the borders.
Posted By Anonymous Tina - Chicago IL : 6:38 PM ET
Has anyone seen the movie "Canadian Bacon", probably not. Anyway, we could solve this glaring security breach by invading Canada! We could get the prescription drug companies and satelite TV providers to foot the bill.
Posted By Anonymous David Witcraft, California : 12:54 AM ET
It's interesting how some Canadians, have said put a fence up there to keep out Americans, when just a few weeks ago one of their legalized citizens, was caught transporting illegal immigrants into, the U.S.. If Canada is so wonderful, why weren't they just stayiing there? Yeah, please build a fence North too, since Canada is worried about the rights of everybody, EXCEPT the U.S. citizens!
Posted By Anonymous Kerri Beaudoin, Arvada CO : 9:20 AM ET
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