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Northern Border Strategy

The international border between the United States and Canada separates two friendly nations with a long history of social, cultural, and economic ties. United States and Canadian economic and security interests rest on the facilitation of safe, secure, and efficient flow of cross-border traffic and securing the border against threats. Security and facilitation of trade and travel are not competing goals, but rather are mutually reinforcing. To preserve and uphold U.S. economic security and prosperity, and secure our border, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) must facilitate lawful trade and travel, reduce security risks and vulnerabilities, and promote cross-border resiliency and collaborative partnerships.

In 2017, DHS conducted an assessment of Northern Border security and concluded that while the Northern Border remains an area of limited threat in comparison to the U.S. Southern Border, safeguarding and securing the Northern Border presents unique challenges. The most common threat to U.S. public safety along the Northern Border continues to be the bi-directional flow of illicit drugs. Transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) are also active along the border and they continually adapt their drug production, smuggling methods, and routes to avoid detection by U.S. and Canadian law enforcement. Potential terror threats are primarily from homegrown violent extremists in Canada who are not included in the U.S. Government's consolidated terrorist watch list and could therefore enter the United States legally at Northern Border ports of entry (POEs) without suspicion.

The Northern Border Strategy establishes a clear vision and discrete actions that will collectively improve DHS’s efforts to safeguard the Northern Border against terrorist and criminal threats, facilitate the flow of lawful cross-border trade and travel, and strengthen cross-border community resilience. It aligns with the requirements of the Northern Border Security Review Act. The Strategy will improve the Department’s ability to identify capability gaps and evaluate measures to address them, allowing DHS to improve management oversight and optimize taxpayer resources.

Last Published Date: June 12, 2018

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