Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Border Agency Needs Tighter Controls, Some Dangerous People Get In: Auditor

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Border Agency Needs Tighter Controls, Some Dangerous People Get In: Auditor

Article excerpt

Border needs to be tighter: auditor


OTTAWA - Border controls need to be tighter because some dangerous people still manage to slip into the country despite stricter post-9-11 scrutiny, the auditor general said Tuesday.

Michael Ferguson's latest report said the Canada Border Services Agency doesn't always get the information it needs to pinpoint threats.

The agency is supposed to get advance information about arriving air travellers, but an audit sample shows that the data can be incomplete or missing entirely.

And the RCMP, which watches for people sneaking across the border between regular ports of entry, can't say for sure what percentage of those people get nabbed.

Ferguson said improvements have been made in a border agency program to target air passengers who pose a danger to national security, but some still slip past the controls.

The agency also needs to improve its monitoring of high-risk individuals trying to immigrate.

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said he has asked the agency and the RCMP to address Ferguson's findings and recommendations.

"Indeed, officials are already in the process of implementing systems to further improve the safety of our border," Blaney said Tuesday.

"We will also be bringing forward entry and exit systems to improve information-sharing between law enforcement agencies at the border to better protect Canadians and to safeguard our fair and generous immigration system."

The audit acknowledged the government has a big job. In 2011-2012, the agency processed 99 million travellers at points of entry, about a third of them foreigners. It denied entry to 54,000 people at the border and intercepted another 4,000 overseas.

In an effort to understand how people sneak in, the auditors looked at a random sample of 49 people who entered the country illegally in the last five years.

In 15 cases, the people came in at a regular point of entry. In 11 of the 15, they were found inadmissible, but were allowed in temporarily with a requirement to report back the next day for departure or further examination, in accordance with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. They never showed up.

The other four cases involved what are called port runners -- people who go through a port of entry, but don't stop or don't complete an examination. …

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