US Border Screening Starts

Today marks the rollout of a requirement that will be implemented at all US border crossings to Screen all visitors requiring visas.

Canadian Citizens are exempt… but Canadian immigrants are not. Now, if you’re entering the US through a border crossing… or even if you’re just making a stopover in Hawaii on your way back to Canada… you can, and will be photographed and fingerprinted.

Proponents of this technology say that “regular” people shouldn’t be worried because they have nothing to hide.

I say, this is just another serious and needless invasion of privacy that will do little to prevent terrorists from entering the United States. I will not stand to have my fingerprints in the database of another country no matter how benign they claim to be. Having my medical records, and those of my 6 month old daughter, available to the US Government is bad enough. How is it any of their business anyway?

I wonder how US Citizens would feel if they were told to hand over their identity at the border. I’m sure their reaction would be similar.

Just for kicks why don’t we list the ways Terrorists could circumvent these measures… if you’re a terrorist reading this blog, please don’t read this part…

  1. Walk across the Canada/US border… somewhere between one of the border crossings.
  2. Hitch a ride on a drug smuggling helicopter or boat
  3. If you’re feeling as though your skin colour may not jive with your pale Canadian cohorts… maybe try on the Mexican side… it’s a little tougher, but hey 4.8 million Mexicans must have got there somehow!
  4. There is always the old standby of disguise… but hey, you may not even need to worry about that when Fingerprints aren’t really as infallable as law enforcement like to think of it as being.

Luckily.. there is no word on mandatory DNA testing at the border… yet.

5 thoughts on “US Border Screening Starts”

  1. DNA identification? Never happen. Too expensive and time consuming.

    I’m curious since you brought it up, why on earth are your and Jade’s medical records in the US data base? I thought she was born and treated after birth in a Vancouver hospital. You don’t have to answer if you want to keep it private, but you did open it up yourself so I thought you might not mind my question.

    I’m kind of respectfully wondering if we had not invaded Iraq and there had not been a war ostensibly to fight terrorism which you vehemently object to, if you would mind so much having your finger prints taken by US customs in the aftermath of the 9/11 attack? or if we had a President that you approved of? Just curious.

    I just heard recently on a TV news program here that even with a suspect passport one would be allowed to enter Canada and that very few questions are asked of immigrants or visitors when entering your country even when their documentation does not appear to be geniune or valid. Any truth to that? If so, then I hope we are going to be increasingly vigilent at the border.

  2. Hi Jade.

    The reason Jade and my own medical records will be available to US law enforcement is because of the Patriot Act, and the privatization of medical records keeping by the Province of BC.

    If you hit the link in the story you’ll read about how my government is contracting out the handling of medical records to a US Based company. While the company has a Canadian subsiduary, the Parent company in the US is bound by the Patriot act to give up any information it has, if asked to by the US Government… being the Patriot Act, it can of course all happen in secret and not even the Canadian or BC Government would need to, or likely be, informed.

    This was all investigated by our provincial Auditor General and he recommended the BC Government to NOT proceed with their privatization plan until more was done to find out exactly what can happen to our information…. the government ended up passing a law stating information must be kept in BC… but the US Government is in no way obligated to abide by that law since it doesn’t apply to them.

    …..

    As for fingerprinting at the border… if there was no war in Iraq, and George Bush wasn’t President… then you’re right, there might not be as much of an uproar over the fingerprinting. It magnifies and exascerbates (sp?) the situation.

    That said… I’d still have a major problem if some customs officer, in ANY country forced me to be fingerprinted.

    ….

    and as for Immigration. I can’t really say for sure how accurate your news program is.

    I have an online friend in Iran, I think I’ve talked about her in the past… her family has been trying to immigrate to Canada for the past 3 years. It has taken them that long to go through the entire process and to finally win approval (She’s should be in Vancouver in the Spring! YAY!).

    But that’s an example of people going through the “correct channels”… not just showing up at the border or airport with suspect credentials.

    A few years (pre-9/)11 back there were a number of human smuggling ships that landed on the BC coast packed full of Chinese with no identification whatsoever. They were all held in cells at a military base for awhile while they were interviewed and their identities verified.

    Some where then allowed to stay, while others were deported back to China.

    There was a ton of debate about what to do… because deporting them likely meant their imminent death.

    I think as a whole, Canadians, and the Canadian government give people the benefit of the doubt initially. Everyone is allowed due process. Whether that process is more strict post-9/11. I’d say, most likely yes. I know my Iranian friend say that after 9/11 their immigration process became glacially slow.

  3. Hey, no problem. I answer to almost anything that starts with J as long as it’s feminine. lol. 😉

    Well, I’d have to agree that I myself would not be all that happy to be fingerprinted by Canada or any other close neighbor if I traveled their border. The connotation is too unsavory for most of us to be glad to do it. I would submit, I suppose, if motivated enough to travel.

    I have lived in Europe in my youth and have no plans to revisit old haunts and quite frankly at my age, the appeal of traveling to far flung Asian, Middle Eastern or African places is not strong. However, if I were younger and more adventurerous, I suppose, if fingerprinting were requisite to crossing borders, I’d quench my umbrage and do it so I could have the option of traveling where I’d like.

    The only place that I haven’t been that I REALLY want to visit is Israel but I’m not brave enough to risk the threat of violence to go there. From what I’ve heard, you are given a complete security going over to get in AND out of Israel and I would have no problem with that by the Israelis who can’t drop their vigilence for a minute.

  4. I too would love to go to Israel one day… indeed.. one day I hope I can go to Baghdad and see the beginnings of civilization!

    You might find this ironic, but the first time I encountered tough security was at Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris when I was 14 years old.

    I coming back from an exchange with a family in France… so I was on my own at the airport.

    I’ll never forget going through the bag check… i was really early, so i was the only one there pretty much. The guard took my bag and totally emptied it out onto the table. Went through everything… looking for I don’t know what… then gave me this dirty look and just left all the stuff on the table for me to try to shove back in.

    If I had been 10 years younger I might have given him a piece of my mind… but instead I nearly cried.

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