Washington, D.C. — The Trump administration on Tuesday announced efforts to strengthen security along the northern U.S. border in the wake of a “tense” meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security said its new strategy “establishes a clear vision and concrete actions that will improve DHS’s efforts to safeguard our northern border against terrorist and criminal threats, facilitate the safe and efficient flow of lawful cross-border trade and travel and strengthen cross-border critical infrastructure protection and community resilience.”
The announcement comes just days after President Donald Trump’s meeting with Trudeau at the G7 Summit in Quebec, in which he referred to the Canadian leader as “meek” and announced steel, aluminum and auto tariffs on its northern ally, on the grounds of “national security”.
Trudeau, angered by Trump’s remarks, called the president’s tariffs “insulting” and vowed to “move forward with retaliatory measures on July 1, applying equivalent tariffs to the ones that Americans have unjustly applied to us.”
“I have made it very clear to the president that it is not something we relish doing, but it is something that we absolutely will do,” Trudeau said. “As Canadians, we are polite, we’re reasonable, but also we will not be pushed around.”
The war of words between the two leaders continued with Trump swinging back hard at America’s long time ally by removing the U.S. from a joint G-7 communiqué “based on Justin’s false statements at his news conference and the fact that Canada is charging massive tariffs to our U.S. farmers, workers and companies.”
Although the DHS report states that the Northern border “remains an area of limited threat in comparison to the U.S. Southern border,” it concludes that “safeguarding and securing the northern border presents unique challenges.”
“The most common threat to U.S. public safety along the Northern border continues to be the bi-directional flow of illicit drugs,” the DHS report states. “Transnational criminal organizations [TCOs] are also active along the border and they continually adapt their drug production, smuggling methods, and routes to avoid detection by U.S. and Canadian law enforcement.”
The U.S. also faces “potential terror threats…primarily from homegrown violent extremists in Canada who are not included in the U.S. Government’s consolidated terrorist watch list and could therefore enter the U.S. legally at the Northern Border ports of entry without suspicion,” the report warns.
The DHS has said it will work with “key state, local, tribal and Canadian partners” to implement its new strategy and plans to “develop the ‘Northern Border Strategy Implementation Plan’ within 180 days of the Strategy’s approval.”