While president-elect Donald Trump wants to tighten borders, officials in Canada are looking to ease them. Currently, the Canadian government is running pilot project that involves the automation of border crossings into the country via a "drive-thru" system.
The testing is currently being held at a small border post in Quebec, at the crossing by Morses Line, Vermont. Travellers looking to enter Canada at this border after 4 pm will be subject to the drive-thru customs process which involves a series of steps. First, a gate will rise to let vehicles drive into a covered garage that is monitored by a slew of security cameras. Next, travellers are to insert their passports or border IDs into a document reader, and a customs officer will ask them an array of standard questions through a speaker.
The customs officers addressing the travellers are actually located in a service centre in Hamilton, which is 435 miles away .
The Morses Line border post is one of many along the Canada-US border that still serve a sizeable amount of people living in surrounding small towns, despite not being high-traffic areas. While some government officials think automating border posts such as these ones would be beneficial, the concept raises concerns among border workers and citizens alike.
The union which represents Canada's 10,000 border guards believe the project is "a waste of money and a threat to security." Accroding to union president Jean-Pierre Fortin, to cut two jobs, the government would have to invest $16 million. Additionally, the automated system cannot evaluate whether a driver is under the influence of a drug or alcohol, and the lack of border security would open up opportunities for criminals to escape by foot.
To withdraw customs officers from the posts and have them work remotely in a far-off location is yet another issue. Small border posts like the one by Morses Line are situated close to each other, making it easy for customs officers to travel between them should problems arise.
So while the Canadian government has stated that the project has been going well so far, it's still hard to say whether or not the entire concept is a feasible one to implement.
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