Category: Archive

Stop right there

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Long seen as a less hazardous exit and entry point for undocumented Irish immigrants in the U.S, Canada is becoming a more difficult prospect as both Canadian and American border officials ratchet up the level of scrutiny along what is the world’s longest “open” border.
This view is being reinforced this week after the indictments handed down against nine Irish nationals being linked by federal authorities efforts to secure entry to the U.S. from Canada.
Both federal and state scrutiny of the border was heightened after 9/11. The level of fingerprinting of overland arrivals from Canada has been stepped up as part of US-VISIT, the identity-check system that visitors to the U.S. must already undergo at airports.
And both aerial and electronic surveillance of the 5,500-mile frontier, much of it uninhabited wilderness, has also being increased.
America’s “carefree approach” to its border with Canada was “no longer applicable,” Department of Homeland Security Undersecretary Asa Hutchinson said at a 2004 meeting with officials from Canada and six U.S. states with either land or water borders with Canada: New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
That “carefree” approach referred to by Hutchinson has been a lifeline to many undocumented Irish over the years.
Immigrant advocates and those who work at Irish immigration advice centers around the country often encounter undocumented individuals who have revealed travels outside the U.S., even against the backdrop of potential bars from the U.S. of either three or 10 years.
Not infrequently the point of reentry had been the Canadian border.
That may be less so the case from now on.
“It goes to show that in the current climate no border is porous,” Siobhan Dennehy of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center said in relation to the indictment of Irish nine nationals out of Buffalo.

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