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OTTAWA DROPPED THE BALL IN DEALING WITH RESSAM

Niagarans who experience delays in crossing the border into the United States will feel frustration at the delay, but they shouldn't blame American paranoia for those lineups. They should blame Ottawa.

The delays are due to U.S. Customs' detention Dec. 14 of Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian believed linked to his country's Armed Islamic Group, as he entered the United States in a car full of explosives. Five days later, Canadian Lucia Garofalo and Bouabide Chamchi, an Algerian male, were arrested at a Vermont border crossing. Both are believed linked to a terrorist group. . . .

Ressam and Chamchi are among hundreds of undesirable radicals using falsified passports who should have been expelled from this country years ago. The fact they were still here shows our law enforcement and immigration authorities have dropped the ball again. . . . Canadians enjoy a laissez-faire attitude toward most of the world's terrorists because we like to think their violence doesn't affect us. We have no enemies, our reasoning goes, and . . . these countries which so vehemently oppose American foreign policy say they like us.

Well, they like us because our security system is so inept, our politicians haven't the will to deal firmly with terrorists and our border with the U.S. is so lightly monitored. . . . If we want to continue to have the world's longest undefended border, we had better do more to clamp down on those who advocate political action through violent means. . . .

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