We've previously touched on the US-Mexico border (with the post about Boyle's Tortilla Curtain and Mexican immigration), but the northern border has been a little neglected. How are things going up there? Not well, it seems:
The union representing border patrol agents says it's being unfairly targeted for spending cuts under the sequester, and that there will be less of a law enforcement presence along the North Country's border with Canada. Starting next month, all U.S. border patrol agents will have to take a day's furlough for every pay period... Shawn Moran is the vice-president of the National Border Patrol council, the agents' union. Moran says the cumulative effect will be 5,000 agents out of the field at any given time. And that means, he says, less secure borders. "We're going to see more people successfully crossing the border. When agents call for backup, there's going to be a longer response time to get backup, there'll be fewer people out there. On top of that, the agency is trying to save money in terms or vehicles and gas. That's also going to slash the amount of area we can effectively cover."
Looks like the sequester will also have a major economic impact on the US-Canada border, as reported last month by Canada's Globe & Mail in its article "Massive spending cuts could have Canada-U.S. border plan shelved:"
Lengthy lineups at the Canada-U.S. border. Long flight delays. A loss of lucrative American business contracts. The much-heralded Beyond the Border initiatives placed on the back burner indefinitely. Canada will feel the sting if U.S. Congress fails this week to avert what’s known as sequestration, an array of massive, mandated spending cuts to a host of federal departments and agencies aimed at slashing America’s $16-trillion national debt... For Canadians, that means quick shopping trips to nearby border communities will almost immediately become a hassle as they’re confronted with waits of several hours at busier entry points. They’ll also feel the long hand of sequestration when they fly given there will be a ripple effect across North America as U.S. officials cancel flights and shutter some control towers and airports.
For a novel centered around the US-Canadian border and the US border patrol, try Jim Lynch's Border Songs:
Six foot eight and severely dyslexic, Brandon Vanderkool has always had an unusual perspective—which comes in handy once his father pushes him off their dairy farm and into the Border Patrol. He used to jump over the ditch into British Columbia but now is responsible for policing a thirty-mile stretch of this largely invisible boundary. Uncomfortable in this uniformed role, he indulges his passion for bird-watching and often finds not only an astonishing variety of species but also a great many smugglers hauling pot into Washington State, as well as potentially more dangerous illegals. What a decade before was a sleepy rural hinterland is now the front line of an escalating war on both drugs and terrorism.