America's Other Border: High Tech, High Trust ; the 4,000 Miles That Join the US and Canada Are Heavily Trafficked and Easy to Cross. A Photo Expedition

By Sosa, Alfredo | The Christian Science Monitor, September 26, 2006 | Go to article overview

America's Other Border: High Tech, High Trust ; the 4,000 Miles That Join the US and Canada Are Heavily Trafficked and Easy to Cross. A Photo Expedition


Sosa, Alfredo, The Christian Science Monitor


Debate about America's borders is decidedly a one-sided affair. Rising illegal immigration and lingering worries about security have focused a bright light on the southern border. Left in the shadows is the northern border - a 4,000-mile stretch of land that's sparsely guarded even though it's twice as long as the US-Mexican border and sees far more international commerce. It's also much more varied.

The Ambassador Bridge in Detroit has all the high-tech capability of its southern counterparts - radioactive sensors, video surveillance, and cameras that capture license plate numbers. It handles, along with the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron, Mich., 21,000 vehicles entering the United States every day. More than 60 percent of US-Canada trade passes through the Michigan border. Average time to cross: 14 minutes.

But in places like Derby Line, Vt., crossing the border is as easy as changing seats at the local opera house, visiting another section of the library, or, in some homes walking from one room to another. …

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