While the Southern border with Mexico, about 2,000 miles, attracts attention, the 5,500-mile Northern border with Canada offers more opportunity for illegal crossing, the New York Times reports. In many places, there are few signs of where one nation ends and another begins. In the past year, agents made 3,000 apprehensions along the Northern border, compared with 100 times that many along the Southwestern border with Mexico. They seized 700 pounds of marijuana and cocaine in the North, compared with 1.6 million pounds along the heavily gated Southern border. Authorities acknowledge that they cannot say with certainty how much criminal activity occurs with Northern border crossings because their means of detection are so limited.
The border with Canada, the largest in the world between two nations, has hardly warranted a mention in a presidential campaign dominated by Donald Trump’s call to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Law enforcement officers say that makes the region more vulnerable in many ways to exploitation by criminal enterprises and possible terrorists. Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Department of Homeland Security has increased the number of Border Patrol agents stationed along the Northern border to more than 2,000, from about 340, in addition to adding ground sensors, drones, and other detection devices. Nearly 18,000 agents patrol the Southwestern border with Mexico.