Department of Homeland EmploymentSunday, August 16, 2009
On Jefferson Avenue in Detroit, just east of downtown, stands a brand new, enormous, fenced-in building with the words “Department of Naturalization and Immigration.” Post-9/11, the Department of Homeland Security has created its own parasitic economy here in Detroit due to our ‘threatening’ border with our neighbors to the north in Canada. The border has been a terrific excuse to have the DHS crawling just about everywhere in the city – new buildings, scores of employees, and their own police force patrolling in cars, etc.
As a serious cyclist, I’ve been an advocate of cycling in the city and have been doing so for about eight years. Yesterday, while I was on a group ride through the city with a Detroit cycling club, one of the ladies on the ride put in a good word for a new, annual tour she had just put together for September 6th called, “The Inaugural Bike the Bridge Tour.” This tour is a rarity because cyclists will be able to cross the Ambassador Bridge from downtown Detroit into Canada by bicycle. I was very interested in doing this when I first saw it advertised. However, as she explained, the cost of the ride is high ($45) because of the immense “hoop jumping” that is required to get the ride put together, and also, registration forms for the ride are due two weeks prior to the ride with no late registrations taken. Why? To give Homeland Security time to do background checks on each and every rider in the tour. So a passport is good enough if I hop in my car and drive across the border into Canada (and the border crossing here is exceptionally creepy), but a pre-arranged ride requires background security checks of each bicycle rider in the group. That sure as heck leaves me out.