Canada's Border Officials Go by the Book

I never thought I'd be saying this, but I admire Canada for something. They're hanging tough when it comes to border security.

Anti-war protestors Medea Benjamin and Ann Wright were recently arrested when trying to enter Canada because their names popped up on a list maintained by the FBI, the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). Why are they on a list "meant to track fugitives, potential terrorists, missing persons and violent felons"? 

Benjamin and Wright believe it's because Canadian officials are in league with the Bush administration in trying to suppress free speech, but a Canadian border official says,
"all foreign visitors must meet longstanding admissibility requirements, such as having valid travel documents and a clean criminal record."
Benjamin and Wright held a press conference outside the Canadian embassy in Washington D.C. to vent their spleen about this episode. It's shameful how their free speech is being suppressed, isn't it?

Though Benjamin and Wright may have only been arrested here in the U.S. for non-violent offenses like disturbing the peace, they do have records, which are on a list that Canadian border officials routinely check when processing visitors. While they whine that they are "certainly no threat to the Canadian people," Canada has a policy and it's sticking with it, no matter whose eligibility in question. Even tackily dressed war protestors.

Now, if Benjamin and Wright pay $200 and file papers in what Canada calls a "rehabilitation" process, they are welcome to enter Canada free and clear. Maybe it's just one of those scams that government bureaucrats dream up in order to drum up income. But Code Pink ladies could decide to suck it up and get into Canada just like anybody else with a record.

Our neighbors to the north are wise to keep an eye on their border, as the illegal immigration problem that is plaguing America is threatening to spill over. Scam artists who convince illegals here that they can get sanctuary in the Great White North have prompted an influx of illegals to enter Canada and apply -- only to be swiftly deported. And why wouldn't they prefer Canada to the U.S., what with Canada's much more generous welfare system and "free" healthcare? 

And if they can't get in via sanctuary status, maybe they'll just start doing what they do here, which is to simply walk in uninvited. There's a large expanse of border up there just waiting to be violated. Who knows how many potential border crossers are violent criminals?

So while the ladies of Code Pink may not pose a threat to Canada other than noxious behavior, there are people who do. Canada may be squishier than America when it comes to their military expenditures, multiculturalism, liberalism, freebies and so on, but they have every right to enforce their border laws, even if that means the "outrageous" practice of "turning away peacemakers" and deporting aliens who don't meet immigration requirements.

Pamela Meister is proprietor of the website Blogmeister USA.