Report : More People Entering Canada Than U.S.

Report: More people illegally entering Canada than U.S.

POSTED: Friday, Sep. 24, 2010

More people are sneaking into Canada from the U.S. than the other way around, according to a border threat assessment report.

The report, which examined activity for 2008, showed that 952 people were detained trying to illegally enter Canada at areas other than the designated crossings. That's compared to 819 people who attempted to get into the U.S. the same way.

Although the trend was the same in 2007, it increased significantly the next year. In 2008, there were 1,771 apprehensions compared to 996 the year before.

The threat assessment report was released Tuesday, Sept. 21, to The Bellingham Herald by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Customs is one of six agencies that comprise the Integrated Border Enforcement Team threat assessment working group. The others are the Canada Border Services Agency, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the U.S. Coast Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Joint Task Force.

The report covers the entire border between the U.S. and Canada.

Several factors may have contributed to the increase of apprehensions in 2008. Stronger enforcement in the U.S. along with the economic recession could compel more illegal migrants to move on to Canada. Border awareness campaigns and enhanced information sharing between law enforcement agencies also may have played a role.

Human smuggling and illegal migration are ongoing concerns for law enforcement. Human smuggling groups have international contacts and exploit the weaker areas between the ports of entry along the border, according to the report.

“They charge excessive fees for directions and send many uninformed migrants on their way to the U.S. and to Canada to claim refugee status,” the report stated.

The unknown intentions of people trying to sneak across the borders “will always be a challenge and will remain a priority,” the report stated.

The report also assessed the smuggling of drugs, currency, firearms and contraband tobacco at the border:

? Cocaine is transported through the U.S. and smuggled into Canada. Marijuana and Ecstasy produced in Canada are smuggled into the U.S.

Marijuana seizures increased while seizures of Ecstasy decreased in 2008. Cocaine seizures have steadily declined since 2006.

The first smuggling bust of Benzylpiperazine pills, a stimulant that's popular as an alternative to Ecstasy, occurred at the Pacific Highway crossing in Blaine. The report did not indicate if the pills were bound for the U.S. or Canada.

– Currency seizures on both sides of the border in 2008 indicate that large amounts of money are being made from the sale of illicit drugs, contraband tobacco and from human smuggling. Unlike previous years, more currency was smuggled into the U.S. from Canada than vice versa.

– Firearm seizures declined both U.S.- and Canada-bound.

– Organized crime groups are smuggling contraband cigarettes into Canada from the U.S., mainly through First Nations reserves.

Reach ISABELLE DILLS at or call 715-2220.