United States Border Patrol’s (USBP) Blaine sector is currently overseeing the construction project on the international boundary between the United States and Canada.
By last Wednesday afternoon, the U.S. fence continued west from Ross to Bradner Roads in Abbotsford. In total, it will span about 3.8 kilometres.
Though it does not appear to have anything to do specifically with COVID-19, a Blaine immigration lawyer thinks there is a lot the USBP is not saying.
“They’re not being up-front as to why they are doing this,” lawyer Len Saunders told the Star.
The fence project addresses what acting chief patrol agent Tony Holladay calls bi-national safety concerns related to a “vulnerable section” of the border located between Boundary Road in the U.S. and Zero Avenue in Canada.
The construction project involves the installation of a cable barrier system along this section of the border to prevent vehicles from either accidentally, or purposefully, crossing the boundary and endangering citizens in both countries.
“This safety cable barrier not only protects people in the United States and Canada, but it also aids in securing this portion of the border by deterring illegal vehicle entries in both directions,” Holladay said.
“Locally, in our community, trans-national criminal organizations have capitalized on this vulnerable area by smuggling both narcotics and people. The enhancement to this specific border area mitigates the threat posed by these dangerous criminal enterprises.”
Saunders, a resident of Blaine, Wash. for 20 years, said he doesn’t think the fence addresses any safety issues at the U.S.-Canada border.
“To begin with, there is very little vehicle traffic on the U.S. side of the road, so why build a fence?” Saunders questioned.
“And just how many Canadians want to come to this country [America] right now? They can fly if they want,” Saunders added.
“People are scared for their health here. If anybody should be putting up a wall it is the Canadian government.”
The immigration lawyer said the northern border has been fence- and barrier-free for more than 200 years due to an international borderer convention between the two nations.
Established after the Treaty of 1908, the signed agreement called for a clear demarcation and maintenance of the border from coast-to-coast, including keeping the vista clear of unapproved structures or barriers.
“This new fence is in direct contravention of the Treaty of Ghent, which specifically says nothing is to be built within 10 feet of either side of that border,” Saunders related.
PHOTOS: Metal fence erected along U.S./Canadian border in areas known for cross-border visiting https://t.co/T2Fg14vb9X
— Aldergrove Star (@AldergroveStar) August 19, 2020