Dayton Wraps Up National Security Tours, Vowing to Fill Security Gaps Along Northern Border
Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Mark Dayton yesterday concluded his tour of state and national security operations along the northern and southern U.S. borders. In response to reports that the northern border lacks enough patrol agents, Dayton first surveyed the U.S.-Canada border in Minnesota last week. Dayton then visited the U.S.-Mexico border, including stops in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. Currently, the northern border has 950 federal patrol agents, as compared to 10,000 agents along the southern border.
"The security procedures and infrastructure in place along the U.S.-Canada border pale in comparison to those along the southern border," said Dayton. "While the South faces greater challenges to keep out illegal immigrants, this disparity leaves our northern border, and thus northern communities, vulnerable to other serious threats."
On Monday, Dayton participated in a southwest boundary line tour to survey the infrastructure, technology, and manpower currently employed there. Dayton also received briefings on southwest border security and immigration from the border patrol and visited a national canine facility to observe the training of border patrol dogs.
During his two-day swing through northern Minnesota last week, Dayton held discussion forums in Roseau, International Falls, and Duluth, to hear directly from law enforcement officials and local residents about the unique security challenges along the border. Dayton also toured the border patrol facility in International Falls and joined the sheriffs of Lake of the Woods and Kittson counties for an aerial tour of the border, to see its most vulnerable areas.
"The northern border has a severe shortage of federal patrol agents, leaving local law enforcement teamswhich are understaffed and under-equipped for the jobto pick up the slack," said Dayton. "With more than 50 identified terrorist groups in Canada and increasing numbers of illegal drug smugglers, such gaping holes in our border security are unacceptable."
In July, the Senate approved a Dayton measure to provide $44 million for the hiring of 236 additional agents along the U.S.-Canada border. The funds now await approval by the joint House-Senate Conference Committee.
Dayton has vowed that improving northern border security will remain a top priority during his remaining months in the Senate.