Canadians to require biometric IDs to enter US

I had this particular news tidbit passed along to me today from an American I speak with online.

As a Canadian, no more than a 45 minute drive from the US border, I find this horrendously disturbing. Day trips to Niagara Falls, NY or to Buffalo were regular events for my family. Now, we will not be able to experience this kind of travel without some creepy “Minority Report”-esque proof of identity.

I can understand a need for greater security, but this kind of thing just seems a little too bizarre for me. The US is going to shut themselves away from the rest of the world and live in fear from attacks from all sides. Isn’t that what the terrorists strive for?

I am having a horrible time wrapping my head around this one, as I do see it from both sides, but keep coming back to the thought that this is wrong and disturbing. Perhaps if I were on the other side of the border, I’d be able to understand it more. Are Americans really willing to all but close themselves off from the rest of the world, unless they have advanced biometric proof of ID? Is this going too far or is it a great advancement for security and technology?

To me, it seems wrong, an infringement of personal privacy, and simply disturbing.

Not the former, but we all have to live in a sort of constant knowledge that “someone may do it again…” So we are taking steos to eliminate that possibility. Canada, last I heard, was not under US law. So when we raise immigration security for people coming directly, it won’t help if people are coming across the Canadian border.

Regardless, we are hardly closed-off. All you need do is show your ID and maybe look at a blinky light eye checker. Thenyou drive on.

Well, that does sound strange if other immigrants or visitors don’t have to look at “the blinky light eye checker.”

As you can see from the location line, I live very near the US-Canada border, and I go back and forth about every week. I’m still surprised at how lax the Canadian security is (they don’t even check ID). Meanwhile, on the US side, I get grilled even if I bring along driver’s license, passport and birth certificate. My feeling is that, for good or ill, the US will continue to ramp up security on the border, and it’s going to continue until the Canadians get tougher, or more likely, appear to the US Government to get tougher on border security issues. (Of all the countries I’ve visited and lived in, I have to say that Canada seemed to have the least strict measures–of course, I’ve only ever flown there from the US or England, so I could be wrong.)

And you wonder why the US has to have tighter security? Maybe if Canada did its job, the US wouldn’t have to worry as much as it (apparently) needs to.

Boy are we nasty! Color me skeptical regarding the differences in U.S. and Canadian border security, as contrary to Duke, I haven’t really noticed a difference one way or the other in level of security going back and forth (recently, it’s been mainly the Buffalo/Niagara Falls crossings). In fact, last time I went into Canada, they pulled us over and searched the car (fairly quicky), something I have never had coming into the U.S. as I recall. And, the time before, we were given a big hastle by the Canadian border guard because two people in the car didn’t have proof of U.S. citizenship; he eventually let us through with the comment “Good luck getting back into the U.S.” In fact, we had no problem whatsoever coming back!

As an aside, I will also note that when I was living in Montreal back in 1992-1994, I could almost never get through the metal detector there without it going off and triggering the hand search with the wand. That was the only place that ever happened, so it seems to me that security was tighter there than when I flew out of any other cities in the U.S.

So, there you have it, Duke gives us anecdotal evidence that Canadian security is weaker, I give anecdotal evidence that it seems stronger. (I’m not claiming it is stronger on the basis of such weak anecdotal evidence…But, I am questioning the assumption that it’s weaker.)

In case it’s not obvious, I switched to talking about airport security here.

This is an outrage. I’d rather tough out a few terrorist attacks than see this “minority report” esque stuff be implemented.

If you drive an RV with Texas plates just try getting into Canada without having it searched.


I think this kind of thing is really silly. No one has crossed into the US from Canada that was a confirmed terrorist. Those 5 men looked for by the FBI? Snopes shows that was a big false alarm cause by bad info.

With all the hate in the US, I’m sure America is doing a lot to “home grow” their own terrorists. No need for outside help!

I don’t really care, I no longer order from the US (internet orders) because of all the “security” I have to pay for to get stuff delivered. My next trip was planned to Florida, cancelled, because of the horror stories from here about American airport security. We’re now going to Cuba.

This sounds really bizarre – surely most passports don’t have a fingerprint or an eye scan? Are they seriously thinking of requiring these things from Canadians when people of just about every other nationality can get into the US without them? Or am I missing something, and this just applies to people traveling without passports?

By the way, having been thoroughly grilled on my first and only trip to Canada, I’m inclined to disagree with Duke about the laxity of Canadian immigration. It all depends on who asks the questions, I guess, and which profiles you trip.

I live a 5 minute drive from the Canada/US border and, up until the last 4 or 5 years, I crossed the border at least once or twice a week. Then (and now) security measures have always seemed to be pretty much up to the discretion of the individual Customs officer. Depending on your luck that day, you may be waved through or you may be subjected to vehicle searches, criminal background checks, intense questioning, etc. that could eat up hours of your day.

The last time I crossed was in December to see a Buffalo Sabres game (a very dull tie with the Chicago Blackhawks) and the US Customs officer waved us through and didn’t even look at our faces. Apparently, he saw that my buddy was wearing a Sabres jersey and put 2 and 2 together. Easiest border crossing ever. On the other hand, when we crossed back into Canada we were grilled because we came back over in Niagara Falls and not Fort Erie where we’d crossed. So there’s yet more anecdotal evidence that US customs is more lax than Canadian.

Of course, I know that’s not really true. More than anything, its the luck of the draw. However, its in the interests of both countries to maintain a more or less open border in the interest of neighbourliness and, most importantly, business. The amount of personal and business traffic crossing the borders is huge as we are each others biggest trading partners. If either country were to implement such a scheme I’ve no doubt that it would cause significant delays in traffic and cost businesses on both sides of the border large sums of money.

Color me NOT in that camp. I have this little thing called “life”. I enjoy it.

Irrelevant. This is not about what has hapened but what may happen.

Nice strawman. care to back it up, with cites proving we Americans are hate-filled demons?

Well given that I have yet to see any passports with fingerprints or retinal scans embedded in them I’m not holding my breath. Besides I would imagine that if everyone entering needs these, the American’s will also require their passports to contain the same markers.

But just as an aside, the US is misdirecting their fear. Aside from the millennial bomber there has yet to be any confirmed linkage of terrorist acts in the US from Canada. The first round of WTC bombers were in NY, the Okalahoma city bombing was home grown and 9/11 was entirely from inside. I agree that the Canadian Immigration laws should be tightened, but that is a different matter from US/Canada border crossings.



Are you serious? What “security” do you have to pay for? The only extra charges I ever notice on stuff I order from the States are duty, taxes and delivery. Our company imports goods from the States for re-sale and I haven’t seen anything about “security” charges on the brokerage bills or anywhere else. Not yet, anyway.

When did you first notice this? Who’s doing the charging?


You know, I should read links. It’s not the US government that is pushing for this (though perhaps indirectly as a “do as we do” type thing) It’s my own wonderfully progressive Liberal government out to make sure I am who I am. Bless 'em.

I love how the article makes an Italian photo id the equivalent despite the fact that there is no biometric information on the damn thing. Kind of the point don’t you think boys!? What the hell is the passport for then? In fact the only equivalent is in Hong Kong and I’m not sure I want to be following the Chinese lead on this one thanks.

McVeigh. Unabomber. ALF. The hate crime * du jour *.

And this is frigging stupid. How many illegal immigrants are in the U.S. now?

Well, at least the system is clear. It’s a three-tiered system:

Canadians: Biometric ID, DNA proof of identity, or the word of God

Most Other Countries: A passport.

Saudi Arabia: Come on in! Join a flight school!

Interesting how the level of scrutiny seems to be inversely proportional to the risk presented. But it’s a system.

I’ve done a little more research on this, and it appears that it is not only Canadians that will require Biometric IDs. All travelers will, but the article linked above, from Canada’s leading news source, CBC, is explaining how the Canadian government might decide these technologically advanced ID cards will be mandatory.

An article on the Government Security website indicates this kind of border control will exist at all customs entry points.
This kind of security is competely understandable, however, this article seems to indicate that the border guards who check IDs are the ones at fault. So instead of better training, the US goverment is going to use this technologically advanced method, which will cost millions to put into place (I’m assuming).

My main problem is that the US may think they are increasing their security and advancing technologically, however they are, in many ways, cutting themselves off from the rest of the world by denying entry to people without these biometric IDs. What about international governments who do not have the means to implement a system where these cards can be easily obtained?
Doesn’t it naturally follow that the US will lose a great deal of tourism due to the beefed up security needs? I know that many Canadians prefer to vacation in Florida because they do not require a passport (recommended, but not required). Won’t this deter people from travelling to the US?

  • Ehhh… iffy. He was a probably a bit nuts.
  • Fer crying out louf, this man was nuttier than a fruitcake.

Who? I’m assumig you don’t mean the muppet rip-off.

-So because we call mass attention to the evils in our midst we have more of it?

I just crossed the US/Canadian border this weekend at Sault Ste. Marie and was very disappointed in the level of security. With the US on “orange” alert, I would have expected a more stringent security check. We were asked a couple of questions about what we had purchased in Canada and just waved on. He didn’t even look at our ID’s. That bugs me.