My Border Blues

I really dislike crossing international borders. I've been doing a lot of it lately in the past few years, particularly since my partner and I got a summer place outside Nelson, BC. Even when I was spending a few weeks or months in Nelson, I was often off to the US—for a meth conference in Salt Lake, the NORML annual conference in San Francisco, to score cheap cigarettes on the Indian reservation in Washington state—or crossing into the US to get to the nearest big time airport to fly off to more exotic locales. And I'm tired of it, particularly along the US-Canadian border. The US border guards have a worldwide reputation for being hard asses, but I find that to be true only about half the time. The Canadians, on the other hand, have a reputation for politeness, but they are also an intensely bureaucratic nation, and they sometimes subject visitors to relentless questioning and truly bizarre questions: "Do you have a copy of the title to your home with you?" One wants to reply: "Ah, gee, I must have left it in my other jacket." I don't like dealing with these border cops because I like my freedom and I like my freedom to travel, and when I arrive at the border, I suddenly enter a "no rights" zone. Not only can I be stopped from crossing that invisible line, but I also get to be interrogated, searched, and possibly probed in the bargain. And have my belongings rummaged through, my notebooks read, my vehicle turned apart. We have this international system where money flows across the globe at the push of a button, massive amounts of commodities (licit and illicit) flow across borders through the channels of commerce, and jobs fly to wherever offers the lowest wage. Why can't we just flow like everything else? I guess I don't see any way of getting around borders short of the dreaded UN global government, but I'm starting to think North America should emulate Europe, where the European Union allows free movement among its member countries. Here's a link to the Wikipedia pages on North American Union, not because I think Wikipedia is the holy scripture on contentious topics, but because I think it shows the nature of some of the debate around the whole notion. I'm interested in borders as a drug policy issue, but also as a human rights issue, and I feel that very personally each time I have to deal with these uniformed agents of various national governments. I guess I feel especially cranky (if not crankish) about the issue today because I just had to recross the border back into the United States from Canada, then come back into Canada with certain papers they had never wanted before. That made it my second cross-border trip to deal with this particular issue, a grand total of four border crossings on Friday and Monday. Enough with those borders!
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Well, Phillip....

...don't ever leave the Lower Forty-Eight: that's my policy if one wants to avoid what you have described. Americans need and expect TIGHTER borders, not EASY ones: you may be a great guy (I know you are) but there are a whole lot of BAD GUYS who want to do our country harm and we need to keep them out. Juz a suggestion, pal: THIMMESCH

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Yeah, but

Do you have any idea what the Canadian Border looks like? If bad guys want to come to the US from Canada badly enough, they will and hassling people more at crossings will not help at all. Look how well tightening border crossings with Mexico has worked to keep people from entering the country who shouldn't be. Totally closing the Mexican border is a ridiculous enough proposition. How much bigger and difficult to secure is the Canadian border?

SourceWatch

The Wikipedia does, indeed, have an article on the NAU, but SourceWatch has a more comprehensive one with numerous related links to treaties, issues, etc. See http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=North_American_Union

Slight Difference

Phillip, you say that, "The US border guards have a worldwide reputation for being hard asses...." As an American living overseas for the last 30 years, I believe it is more accurate to say that they are seen as as-h---s.

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