Saturday, March 10, 2007

US flapping again on CND immigration

Keep an eye on Canada's immigration rules, U.S. analyst tells legislators
March 10

U.S. officials should watch how Canada enforces its immigration rules to see if the neighbour to the north is being tough enough, an American analyst told a Congress committee this week.

"We should always keep an eye on what the Canadians are doing with their immigration controls and their visa policies," said Michael O'Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

"Because if they get sloppy or their civil liberties concerns get even more paramount in their own thinking, we may need to worry about tightening up that border even more."

Canada's procedures are "not airtight," he told a homeland security subcommittee in the House of Representatives.

"They're not as good as ours. The Canadians do have this Commonwealth issue. There are a lot of would-be terrorists who live in Britain, not to mention Pakistan and south Asia (with direct access to the Canada)."

"So I do think we have to be at least a little nervous."

Several experts at Thursday's hearing testified that Americans can't ignore security at the northern border just because illegal immigrants at the Mexican line are such a big problem.

"I believe we need to close the entire circle," said Representative Loretta Sanchez of California, who chairs the committee.

"I don't mean fence everything . . . But close it . . . so we have a pretty high level of confidence that we do have a say in who's coming in and going out."