“It’s not something I even think about a lot,” LSA freshman Allie McGongle said. She said she feels more threatened in her hometown of Chicago because it is a more likely target than Ann Arbor for terrorist attacks.
But opinions about Michigan’s recently bolstered border with Canada vary.
LSA sophomore Kikora Hosey said, “I go through Detroit often. It is a hassle.”
But Hosey added she is sacred of how easily people can get across the borders that consist of wilderness and water.
Chief Patrol Agent Daniel Geoghegan of the Detroit Sector Border Patrol said Michigan border security has been improving steadily since Sept. 11.
“The number of agents in this sector has been doubled,” Geoghegan said. “The strategy is forward deployment to deter unlawful entry of persons into the country.” Geoghegan added that the agents detailed are not “fresh out of the academy,” but seasoned veterans from states on the southern border such as California and Texas.
“With the additional resources, I feel better than I did last year, and I am given to understand we will be receiving additional resources in the future.”
The Detroit Sector Border Patrol, which handles all border security for Michigan, Illinois, Ohio and Indiana, has also received a helicopter and better, undisclosed technology.
For the past year, National Guard units have been assisting the U.S. Border Patrol, Customs Service and Immigration and Naturalization Service.
“We had 54 troops on duty as early as three days after the attack,” said Lt. Gen. Gordon Stump, adjutant general of the Michigan National Guard. Stump added that the National Guard’s presence on the border was temporary. Its units have already been withdrawn from the Detroit Sector Border Patrol and INS, and after mid-October, its deployment in Customs will be reduced to two soldiers.
But Stump stressed that their presence was not intended to be intimidating.
“We were there to help them do their jobs. … The National Guard is a diverse force that is flexible and ready to step up to most missions that involve homeland security.”
The Detroit District INS has also augmented its presence.
“We have received funding for 105 new positions, a technological upgrade and an overhaul of our computer systems,” said Carol Jenifer, director of INS Detroit District.
While the increase in security has not caught any terrorists, it has caught many trying to smuggle illegal immigrants from countries such as China.
Jenifer added that they have also managed to keep traffic through Detroit down to acceptable levels, backing down from the post-Sept. 11 12-14 hour waits. “Traffic has been moving good for the past month.”
However, some have had different experiences in Detroit, experiencing long lines and extensive searches.
“Going to Canada, I see that it’s more thorough,” Kinesiology senior Adam Rabin said. “I don’t mind waiting at the border because they are trying to protect us. It’s something I wish more people would understand and appreciate. … It’s unfortunate that it took an event like Sept. 11 to realize the lack of security.”