8 Items

The US-Mexico border fence with Tijuana, Mexico, on the left, the Pacific Ocean in the background

U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Josh Denmark

Report - Migration Policy Institute

Migration at the U.S.-Mexico Border: A Challenge Decades in the Making

| Jan. 25, 2024

U.S.-Mexico border security has been a central policy matter and divisive political issue in the United States for decades. The U.S. border control enterprise has faced two distinctly different eras of unauthorized migration: The first, from the 1980s through the early 2010s, was addressing overwhelmingly Mexican seasonal adult flows. The current era has been marked first by a rise in arrivals of Central American children and families beginning in 2014, and most recently unprecedented flows of asylum seekers from Latin America and beyond. Earlier strategies that dramatically reduced the levels of illicit border crossings have been no match for the sharply diversified migration patterns of today, with the government struggling to adapt its policy and operational structures.


 

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Paper

Closing Critical Gaps that Hinder Homeland Security Technology Innovation

| Apr. 23, 2020

Rapid technological advances are making nonstate actors much more capable than they were even a decade ago. Malicious actors like terrorist groups, criminal organizations, and state proxies are increasingly able to threaten American civilians and their interests around the world. At the same time, we are increasingly vulnerable to the emergence of new disease and natural disasters, as vividly shown by the hurricanes of 2017 (Harvey, Irma, and Maria) and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Effectively countering these threats, including by developing and supporting private sector-generated new technological solutions, is a core government responsibility. DHS is the U.S. government’s primary civilian public safety agency and the main source of government funding for nonmilitary development of public safety technologies. Unfortunately, DHS has a poor record of developing new technological solutions to advance its mission and address emerging threats. This article assesses the current situation, identifies lines of research that are urgently needed, and makes recommendations on how DHS can more effectively partner with industry and how new technologies can be quickly seeded.

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Analysis & Opinions - San Diego Union-Tribune

What U.S. can do to reduce, deter illegal migration

| Nov. 21, 2018

President Donald Trump has talked tough on border security and immigration enforcement, with extreme rhetoric and harsh actions. Yet his administration has not materially changed the situation at the southwest border.

As measured by apprehensions of those who cross illegally, the southwest border today looks similar to what it was under the Obama administration. In fiscal year 2017, President Trump’s first year, the U.S. Border Patrol apprehended 310,531 people. Apprehensions were up in fiscal year 2018 to 396,579. By comparison, apprehensions during the Obama administration’s last six years ranged from 340,252 to 486,651. President Trump’s numbers are toward the lower end, but they are not materially different.

His failure to drive down the number of unauthorized migrants results from policy prescriptions that are not grounded in the reality attendant to illegal crossing. To the contrary, the administration’s policies — zero tolerance, troops at the border, prohibiting asylum claims — have been geared to stir political effects not achieve operational results.

There are effective steps that can be taken to further reduce and deter illegal migration. Migrants continue to arrive at the border because they succeed in entering the country in a legal way by claiming asylum, establishing credible fear (a low standard), and then being granted entry to await immigration proceedings. These proceedings, however, occur years later because of a hopelessly backlogged immigration court system.

The immigration courts require an infusion of resources to hire more judges and expand capacity so that cases can be fairly resolved in weeks — not years. Since the majority of cases that go to a decision result in a denial of asylum, fair but expedited proceedings would create an effective deterrent to irregular migration. The costs of undertaking a dangerous journey more likely than not to end in deportation would close the loophole that is the essence of the illegal migration problem today. The president’s current gambit of restricting asylum by executive decree, by contrast, is both legally questionable and does not address the underlying court-capacity problem.

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Analysis & Opinions - Politico

Banning Family Separation Won’t End the Border Crisis

| June 20, 2018

Even the Trump administration is now backing away from the immoral and unsustainable policy of separating the families of migrants when prosecuting the parents for illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexican border. That’s welcome, but the current proposals—whether banning family separations or expediting the legal processing of apprehended migrants—fail to address the source of the crisis. 

Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ bluff on the border will hurt security, not help

| May 31, 2018

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen recently announced a zero tolerance policy on border security. Though its contours have not been described in great detail, at its core, it is a commitment to criminally prosecute every person who illegally crosses the border.

This strategy may provide sound bites, and harsh rhetoric may generate some short-term deterrent effect, but it is impossible for this policy to actually be implemented over any reasonable time period. By announcing a threat that is effectively a bluff, the Trump administration likely will harm border security rather than enhance it.

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Analysis & Opinions - Philadelphia Inquirer

Abolishing ICE is a very bad idea

| Mar. 23, 2018

There has been an increasing drumbeat from progressives arguing in favor of abolishing or defunding U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, for instance in a recent column for the Inquirer and during an interview with Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.). In essence, activists are arguing that ending ICE should be the position of the Democratic Party and a litmus test for its presidential candidates. This is a bad idea.

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Analysis & Opinions - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Reducing Transaction Costs at North America’s Borders

| Mar. 20, 2018

The North American market is a significant driver of U.S. economic activity and competitiveness. Mexico and Canada are the United States’ two biggest export markets, making up over a third of overall U.S. exports valued at more than $580 billion. Imports from both countries contain far higher proportions of American content than goods that are imported from Asia or Europe.

Nonetheless, and even recognizing the new era of North American trade created by the North American Free Trade Agreement, there are still significant logistical constraints to commercial flows within North America, with the result that the United States, Mexico, and Canada are effectively leaving money on the table in terms of competitiveness and job growth. And many of these constraints are tied to the efficiency of the countries’ ports of entry.

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Analysis & Opinions - The Hill

Missed opportunity: Ports of entry are critical infrastructure

| Mar. 15, 2018

For as much attention as U.S. border issues receive from the Trump administration, the president's proposed infrastructure plan leaves out any mention of building or modernizing land border ports of entry, the crossing points where goods and people legally move across U.S. borders. This omission may be deliberate, or it may have been an oversight. Whatever the reason, this is a major missed opportunity to address a critical national infrastructure need.