Feds try to tamp down fears of fence on northern border

Oct 12, 2011

BELLINGHAM, Wash. – The U.S. government is considering whether to build short segments of fencing along the northern border with Canada. But the fences won’t stretch very far.

That’s what a U.S. Customs and Border Protection planner told a small audience gathered in Bellingham Tuesday night.

A planning document describing possible security enhancements along our northern border is raising eyebrows both in Canada and in the American Northwest.

The draft study for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency mentions among other things "enhanced electronic surveillance," access road improvements, as well as fencing portions of the border. Agency planner Don Beckham did his best to tamp down alarm caused by the idea of fencing.

“The document very specifically says we have no interest or intention of building a fence on the northern border like the fences that have been built on the southwest border. The situation is entirely different,” Beckham says.

What Beckham says could happen is “selective” fencing at known trouble spots or around remote border crossings. Beckham’s assurances largely satisfied the handful of people who turned out at this public meeting.

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