There are 18 border crossings across North Dakota at the border with Canada. The Border Patrol Station in Sarles is one such crossing and is operated by the Customs Border Protection (CBP) Division of the Department of Homeland Security.
The Department of Homeland Security has spent $1 billion to improve its border facilities along the northern border. As part of this effort, a contract of $6 million was awarded in 2010 to building a new border control station at Sarles and to demolish the old one.
Role of Border Patrol Agents in Sarles
Security across the northern border of the U.S. has been dramatically enhanced since the events of 9/11. Although the Sarles Border Patrol Station receives a relatively low amount of traffic, it contributes to national security through the actions of its Border Patrol agents.
A primary goal of the Border Patrol jobs in Sarles is to prevent potential terrorists and other attackers from entering the U.S. Such efforts are vital to protecting U.S. citizens from potential attacks.
Another goal is to prevent the importation of drugs and other types of illegal contraband into the U.S. Smuggling efforts have plagued the border since its inception. Canada is the source of most of the Ecstasy (MDMA) smuggled into the U.S. and is also the source of a substantial amount of high potency marijuana. Border Patrol agents play a key role in intercepting drug smugglers by closely monitoring the contents of the vehicles that cross at the Sarles border crossing.
Human trafficking remains a persistent problem along both the northern and southern borders. Border Patrol agents avidly monitor the citizenship status of those who try to enter the country. Since 2008, both a photo ID and proof of citizenship in the form of a passport, naturalization certificate, or birth certificate have been required of those crossing into both the U.S. and Canada. Long gone are the days when friends and family members casually strolled across the border to visit each other.
A substantial amount of goods enter the country through the Canadian border, and part of the jobs of the Border Control agents in Sarles is to help facilitate cross border trade. To streamline the process of the import of goods across this border crossing, trucks have been required since 2007 to provide electronic manifests of their contents.
A final goal of the Border Patrol agents is to provide assistance in times of emergencies such as natural disasters. Agents also support local law enforcement efforts. Part of a multi-agency exercise at Walhalla was to discuss a hypothetical scenario in which an agent from Sarles disappeared in an intense winter storm. Such international multi-agency efforts help to ensure the safety of U.S. and Canadian citizens in times of crisis.