- By Michael Wilkerson<p> Michael Wilkerson, a journalist and former Fulbright researcher in Uganda, is a graduate student in politics at Oxford University, where he is a Marshall Scholar. </p>
The perception among many Canadians is that today’s U.S. border officers are meaner. The reality is that they are likely to be younger, under more pressure and – should you give them a reason – yes, meaner….
The report notes that the U.S. border patrol has been on a massive recruiting drive, meaning more agents with less experience.
And of course there’s that whole terrorism thing keeping everyone on edge. In an incident feeding the mean image, Canadian Desiderio Fortunato was pepper-sprayed by a U.S. border agent after refusing to turn off his car until the officer said “please.” According to the Globe and Mail, Transport Canada puts the cost to the transportation industry of increased security at $550 million per year.
Though the image of the brutish U.S. border guard may be easier for both countries to imagine, Canada has been cracking down too. As many Americans are discovering to their shock, old misdemeanors, especially DUIs are causing them to be turned away by Canada. Any conviction considered a crime in either country is grounds for denial of entry.
I knew I should have paid my old parking tickets.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images