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Homeland Security

Secretary Napolitano Announces DHS Northern Border Strategy

Release Date: 
June 5, 2012

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today announced the release of the DHS Northern Border Strategy (NBS). The NBS is the first unified DHS strategy to guide the Department’s policies and operations along the U.S.-Canada border -  providing a framework for enhancing security and resiliency while expediting lawful travel and trade throughout the Northern border region.

"The U.S.-Canada border is the world’s longest common border. With communities and businesses that reach both sides of the border, the economies and security of the United States and Canada are inextricably linked," said Secretary Napolitano. "The Northern Border Strategy provides a unifying framework for the Department’s work focused on enhancing the security and resiliency along our northern border while expediting legitimate travel and trade with Canada."

The DHS NBS is the first Department-wide strategy to guide policy and operations at the Northern border. The NBS identifies three key goals for the Northern border:

  • Deterring and preventing terrorism and smuggling, trafficking, and illegal immigration;
  • Safeguarding and encouraging the efficient flow of lawful trade, travel, and immigration; and
  • Ensuring community resiliency before, during, and after terrorist attacks and other disasters.

DHS's strategy for the Northern border is built on the premise that security and lawful trade and travel are mutually reinforcing. Separating higher-risk traffic from lower-risk traffic, utilizing advance information, and inspecting people and goods bound for our shared borders at the earliest opportunity enables officials on both sides to expedite the processing of lawful travel and trade while preventing illegal crossings and activities, as well as diseases and dangerous goods from entering either country.

To accomplish these goals, DHS will leverage resources to improve information sharing and analysis within DHS, as well as with key partners. The Department will also enhance coordination of U.S.-Canada joint interdictions and investigations, deploy technologies to aid joint security efforts along the border, and continue to update infrastructure to facilitate travel and trade.

The NBS leverages the expertise and experience of components across the Department, considering all of DHS's authorities, responsibilities, and capabilities in developing a cross-cutting all-missions approach to the Northern border. DHS will partner with federal, state, local, tribal, and private sector partners as well as its Canadian counterparts to carry out key elements of the NBS throughout the region. The NBS is consistent with and will support the vision articulated by President Obama and Prime Minister Harper in Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness.

For more information, see the full DHS Northern Border Strategy or this fact sheet.

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