Nearly a million people use one of the 300 official border crossings every day, leaving open the possibility of passport fraud and human smuggling.
Lone-wolf terrorists heeding Islamic State’s call to attack inside North America could move easily between the U.S. and Canada, where the enormous border cuts through four Great Lakes and vast areas of remote tundra crisscrossed by back roads seldom seen by either nations’ border patrol agents, experts say.
Last month’s attack on the Canadian capital sparked fresh concerns about the potential cross-border movement of jihadists, an issue former CIA Acting Director Michael Morell raised last month, saying terrorists radicalized in Canada can easily make their way into the U.S. But Canada may have just as much to fear from terrorists coming north from the U.S., and experts say the only practical solution is close cooperation and careful monitoring of threats by both governments.
“To have a secure border, there has to be a partnership with the person on the other side,” said Mike Milne, spokesman for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. “I can’t emphasize enough that the partnership with the Canadians is really what makes the border work and we have a great team. They go hand in hand.”