The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne (MCA), the governing body of the northern, or Canadian, portion of Akwesasne, has learned of United States legislation recently proposed by U.S. Rep. John Katko, R-Syracuse, that calls for a security study to be conducted on the Northern U.S. –Canada border. In previous interviews, Rep. Katko accused Akwesasne of being a high-smuggling route that his colleagues fear will be used to smuggle terrorists into the United States from Canada.
The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne has not been consulted or contacted by Rep. Katko or his colleagues with regard to border security or any other matter. MCA is more than willing to share with Rep. Katko the numerous border security plans and projects that are already underway between Akwesasne and the Canadian and U.S. authorities. Rep. Katko’s bill appears to be purely political. Any sincere concern regarding security should have first been addressed with the United States, Canadian and Akwesasne authorities that are already tasked with increasing border security.
High-level meetings have taken place in Washington, D.C. and in Ottawa with U.S., Canadian, and Mohawk officials, to actively pursue border security projects and improvements such as a marine patrol and border security force in Akwesasne that will work in conjunction with the Akwesasne Mohawk Police and all other law enforcement entities. Previous collaborations between our security forces have produced positive results for Akwesasne as well as the United States and Canada.
It is not uncommon for Akwesasne to be used as a scapegoat. When 9/11 happened, the national media was quick to point to Akwesasne as the route terrorists used to enter the country, and for weeks this information was shared around the world erroneously. This false accusation has lingered at the Akwesasne community’s expense and our community continues to be a target for politicians who use propaganda and fear mongering without any regard for our community and, more importantly, our attempts to have progress in border relations.
Rep. Katko’s bill is reflective of his lack of true understanding regarding the Canadian-U.S. border and the amount of border security work that has already transpired, and continues to be conducted on a daily basis with all major parties involved.
The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne cautions the public to review Rep. Katko’s proposed bill H.R. 455 carefully and to not be persuaded by the political propaganda that surrounds it.
The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne is prepared to participate in a new joint meeting between U.S. and Canadian officials to further discuss our mutual concern for border security. Akwesasne has on numerous occasions taken part in this type of problem-solving meetings to identify solutions that benefit all parties concerned.