WASHINGTON-President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Harper today outlined a plan for the two governments to work cooperatively to establish a security vision that will foster and support economic development and security for both countries. U.S. Senator Susan Collins, R-Me., Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, made the following statement about the initiative.
"I am pleased that the Administrations on both sides of the border re-emphasized their commitment to establishing the right mix of resources to help ensure the most effective use of personnel, technology, and international, state, and local agency partnerships that will promote legitimate trade and travel while protecting against unlawful cross-border smuggling.
"This week, the Government Accountability Office released a report that I requested along with Senator Lieberman that found that the U.S. Border Patrol does not have the ability to detect illegal activity across approximately three-quarters of the northern border. There are close relationships among Canadian border agencies and U.S., state, and local law enforcement that have promoted information sharing and coordinated approaches to border protection. These joint border security operations enable state and local law enforcement, who are already near the border, to work as a force multiplier. I applaud the President and the Prime Minister for highlighting this vulnerability and proposing solutions.
"Residents of northern border communities live, work, worship, and visit friends and family on both sides of the border. Every day $1.5 billion in commerce traverses the border. The U.S. and Canada have a long history of working together to ensure security and facilitate trade and travel. One of my top priorities has been to ensure that our border is open to our friends but closed to those who would do us harm."