APPROACHING THE BREAKING POINT?: THE UNITED STATES-CANADA BORDER IN THE 21ST CENTURY Arizona State University Victor Konrad, BPRI, WWU/Carleton University April, 2009
Breaking Borders? “Napolitano’s Priority: Canada Border” Washington Times January 26, 2009 “Homeland Security chief says Canada-US border review ‘misconstrued’ Vancouver Sun February 27, 2009 “The thickening situation is getting worse” Chairman, Blue Water Bridge Canada, Today’s Trucking March, 2009 “ ‘Thickening’ of the border still a worry for local and national officials” Brockville Recorder and Times April 7, 2009
‘Broken’ Borders? “Our economy and security only function as well as our borders function.” North America Next, NACTS, ASU, February, 2009. “Although border management processes relate to a range of policy areas, those related to cross-border trade and travel flows are particularly significant in the context of the recent economic crisis and the new post-election momentum to rethink Canada-US policy options. Our nations must aim to ensure adequate security while not compromising our shared economic future nor accepting cultural degradation in our borderlands.” BPRI Border Policy Brief, Winter, 2009.
“Mending Walls?” “A policy narrative on North American borders…requires a discourse pattern that acknowledges asymmetries yet constructs components of effective interaction and alignment.”-Konrad, 2009 1. Platform of trust 2. Brand 3. Convey and celebrate integrative process 4. Dimensional alignment: articulate cross-border constructs with cross-border processes
“The Border” The ‘problems’ of the border: negative discourse ‘Priorities’ developed to deal with the problems Transition from security to insecurity border Dialectics of trade/security, trust/suspicion etc. “Breaking points” emerge in border policy Border policy responds to breaking points rather than to underlying problems “Sustainable Security and Competitiveness”?
Border Problems Abound Need to differentiate, not lump problems: New, visible problems: terrorism, guns Endemic problems: environmental impacts Recurrent difficulties: smuggling, immigration Structural issues: exchange rate impacts Geography: extent, variation, fluctuation, extremes. Most Canadians live in the borderlands; most Americans do not.
InsecurityResponse Re-Bordering Congestion and wait times: the paradox of waiting in an expedited world Barriers to trade/lost time and money: $ billions Security-scapes: the bristling border, “walls” Expense of re-bordering: $ billions Firearms: exploding concern crosses the border Drugs: the constant battle of supply interdiction Illegal immigration: “the real problem”? Disease: the unpredictable killer
The 20th Century Border • Multiple, convenient crossings • Loosely defined hierarchy of crossings • ‘Port Authority’ • Smooth, eventless operation • Strong border regionalization • Community across the border • Borderlands culture • Socialized border • Layered border governance
The 21st Century Border • Rationalized crossing system • Defined hierarchy of crossings • Variable thickness along the line • Centralization and delocalization • Mobilization and militarization • Streaming and corridor development • ‘Chain of command’ enforcement • Strained borderlands culture • Breaking points in operation
“Thick Line” Border Priorities Fighting terrorism: initial DHS focus Identity verification: WHTI Regulating immigration: new DHS focus Sustaining trade flows: Canadian emphasis Balancing security and trade: both sides Enhancing corridors: both sides Managing the border: both sides
The 9/11 Effect “Blame Canada-A new US Army text says our border is no safer than Mexico’s” Maclean’s Dec. 1, 2008, 24. 9/11 had a sustained impact on export trade (Globerman and Storer) Travel and tourism down in US; lost 1.6 million jobs in 2002, Milken Institute Does the WHTI enhance identity verification?
21st Century Canada-US Border • Border crossing network is product of interdependencies • Changes in traffic patterns, operations or procedures, compound, ripple through systems, and strike barriers • Impacts of traffic shifts, intensified scrutiny, new technologies and rule changes often most intense at outset • New procedures aimed at securing and streamlining the border may alter as well the way the border works within and between systems of security, transportation, trade, tourism, environment and other aspects of border structure and culture
Breaking Point: Limit, threshold, tipping point or critical level in re-bordering. • The point at which physical, mental or emotional strength gives way under stress. • The point at which a condition or situation becomes critical. • The point at which something or someone gives way under strain.
Breaking Point: When the impact of changes within or between border systems is sufficient to disrupt or halt the use and operation of the systems, a breaking point may have occurred. Breaking points are significant thresholds in the operation of systems because they may severely damage a system, and its related systems, or shut it down.
Breaking Points What leads to breaking points in re-bordering? Dissonance: inconsistent messages Misinformation: not true Delocalization: taking authority from locale Centralization: keeping power in DC Increased flows of people and goods Funneling, re-routing, corridor enhancement Sudden changes, revisions, reorientations
Identifying Breaking Points WA-ID-MT/BC border area The border POE hierarchy Sectors of cross-border activity (eg. Transport) Survey research design: interviews, mail survey, focus groups Policy makers and policy analysts Breaking point model