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Are We Safer Yet? — Why Now?
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Are We Safer Yet?

From the Associated Press: A border runs through it: Tiny town worries feds

DERBY LINE, Vermont (AP) — Step through the front door of the Haskell Library and you’re in the United States.

Walk across the carpeted floor to the circulation desk and you’re in Canada. But if you sit down on the couch, you’re back in the U.S.

The 106-year-old Romanesque building, which straddles the international border, has enjoyed a kind of informal immunity from border restrictions through the years.

But a U.S. Border Patrol crackdown focusing on three unguarded streets linking Derby Line with Stanstead, Quebec, across the border, could soon change that.

“There’s been an increase in illegal activity, both north and south, in the last little while,” said Mark Henry, the operations officer for the Border Patrol’s Swanton sector, which runs across northern New York, Vermont and New Hampshire. “There have been some significant cases.”

Under the crackdown, instead of parking their cars outside the library in Quebec and walking to the front door in the U.S., Canadian patrons would have to detour through one of two ports of entry linking the municipalities.

You can’t be too careful. Those Canadians in Quebec are known speakers of French.

The article at CNN has a picture inside the library with a line on the floor noting the border.


1 Steve Bates { 05.27.07 at 12:38 am }

Did you see this article in the LA Times, about a couple living just barely on the US side of the US/Canada border, who built a wall to keep their dogs (and one child) from inadvertently crossing the border, but were informed that the wall, entirely on their private property, violates a 1925 treaty of some sort… and both governments intend to enforce it against them?

All of this makes about as much sense as the contrived war in the South Park movie. Shall I accompany myself in an (ahem) extraordinary rendition of “Blame Canada”?

2 Arthur Welser { 05.27.07 at 5:13 am }

this is non-sense, its time we clamped down on, through our cooperation with canada all illegals entering both countries, it far easier to control illegal immigrents entering canada then our US-canadian border, Arthur, former Canada-US border resident.

3 Michael { 05.27.07 at 10:01 am }

In a way, it’s kind of funny. The U.S. and Canada are two of the biggest nations on the planet, and share the longest open border between them–and people are worried about fences. Yet over here, where everybody lives cheek-by-jowl, there’s no fuss. Had the weather been a little clearer yesterday, I could have seen both Germany and Switzerland from the top of the hill at the Sigolsheim military cemetery. Wouldn’t have seen fences, though.

4 Bryan { 05.27.07 at 11:08 am }

Before hurricane Katrina finished what hurricane Ivan had weakened, one of the best live music venues in the area was the Flora-Bama Lounge, home of the interstate mullet toss. They are rebuilding because it is the answer to some really odd liquor laws down here. The state line runs through it. This is what happens when you draw arbitrary lines on maps, instead of using physical features for borders.

I saw mention of the wall, Steve, and it seemed to be as much a retaining wall to stop erosion, as a fence. That ditch is a better indicator than what they have in North Dakota, little markers every so often.

Actually, Arthur, the Canadians do a better job than the US on immigration, but no system is going to stop it. It is a diplomatic problem that needs a diplomatic solution, i.e. cooperation by governments, but I don’t see that happening any time soon. Having to take your passport to the library certainly isn’t the solution, maybe both goverments should station a member of their border patrols in the library.

I know what you mean, Michael. When my Dad when stationed in Germany we lived in a little village that was near the German-Belgian-Luxembourg border and wandered around in all three countries when berry picking. My brother spent a month in Belgium helping a cousin of our landlady on his farm.

5 Mitch { 05.27.07 at 11:51 am }

There is a sign in one of the shops here in Saumur (Pays de La Loire) – “English Spoken, aussi Quebecois”

I used to work in Luxembourg. During the working day the population was at least doubled by all the ‘migrant’ workers, and at the time one-fifth of the population was Portuguese it was claimed!

Luxembourg (city) is called the Gibraltar of the north. I drove round Luxembourg (the country) in about half an hour.

Ol’ Blood and Guts is buried there and there is a fine memorial on the Battle of the Bulge “http://www.abmc.gov/cemeteries/cemeteries/lx.php”

Every village has at least one second world war American tank in the centre it seems.

Just a bit of trivia.

6 Michael { 05.27.07 at 12:30 pm }

Having heard Quebecois, I can understand the sign. I was watching some news-ish program last week on one of the French channels where they were interviewing one of the new ministers in Sarkozy’s cabinet. After the presenter had finished asking his questions, they brought in a couple of journalists to have at him, one of whom was from Montréal. And his French was a lot harder to follow than the West African journalist who preceded him.

7 Bryan { 05.27.07 at 1:38 pm }

Mitch, I have an uncle who drove a tank in Patton’s army. My Mother complained that he should have been more careful where he was shooting because there was a draft in our living room in Mettendorf caused by a bad patch after the house was hit by tank fire during WWII. She said it was his fault because he was always claiming he was so good. [Sibling rivalries never die, they just get sillier.]

Guys I almost got arrested going to France with a member of the Canadian Defense Forces. She got into it with a French border guard over language. The Quebecois claim that their version of French is the purer as it has not been contaminated by allowing Russians or Germans to occupy them at various times. It is a pretty nasty fight that I choose to avoid.