The United States Border Control policies are the policies which help keep the order and peace between the US and its neighbor states. These are also policies which help protect the US borders and its citizens from illegal migrants, security threats, terrorist threats, and similar dangers. These policies however have been wrought with issues in implementation and such issues or problems have mostly been credited to the nature and the implementation of these policies. This paper will now address the various issues and issues involved in implementing these policies. It shall first present a background of the different border control policies and those currently in effect. An assessment of such policies shall then be discussed, followed by the different issues in relation to such policies. Recommendations to resolve such issues shall follow such discussion. This paper is being undertaken in order to come up with a comprehensive and academic discussion of the current topic. It is also being undertaken in order to present a more profound and issue-based evaluation of the topic – alongside possible solutions.
History of US Border Control
The US Border Patrol (USBP) was established in 1924 by the Labor Appropriation Act of 1924 (43 Stat. 240) and this marked the first of the official efforts towards gaining control of the US borders (Haddal, p. 3). This law included efforts towards the preventing illegal immigrants and contrabands from entering the US borders. Fifty years after the USBP was created, the strategy of border patrol shifted to a broader level with the establishment of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (Haddal, p. 3). The basic foundations of the I & NS strategies was on preventing the access to ports-of-entry and to quickly interdict and apprehend immigrants who illegally gained entry into the US (US Department of Justice, p. 9). In the 1980s, the focus of the US became centered on the prevention of entry and sales of illegal drugs in the US. Most government officials implementing border laws acknowledged the fact that most of the drug supplies in the US were illegally crossed into the borders by land, by sea, and by air. In effect, this led to a reassessment of the operational controls on illegal activities and to the focus on policies for the prevention of entry of illegal goods through increased manpower and resource deployment to the border regions (Haddal, p. 3).
Despite the remedies set forth by the INS, the Southwest borders were reported to have been overrun by illegal immigrants, as many as 6,000 illegal immigrants often attempting entry to the US through the San Diego border every night. Reports of illegal drugs making their way to the US through the same borders have also been reported (US General Accounting Office, p. 5). In response to the above threats, the USBP started to implement its first National Strategic Plan (NSP). The NSP was a solid effort towards gaining control over US borders through the concentration of USBP resources in areas presenting the highest threat to the illegal entry of people and contraband (Haddal, p. 3). Through the NSP, the focus of border control was turned to deterrence – by placing agents directly on the borders in order to prevent entry of illegal aliens. The elements of the NSP were later absorbed into the Comprehensive Border Control Strategy launched under the Clinton Administration (The White House, p. 7885). The prevention through deterrence policy was supported by the congress and the senate and this support translated to increased funding for the INS, allowing them to hire new agents, reallocate agents, and to allow the hiring of investigative staff (US Congress, p. 104).
In the 1990s terrorist threats became one of the major concerns of congress and this prompted them to create the following commissions in order to understand terrorist threats. These agencies included: the Gilmore Commission, the Bremer Commission, and the Hart-Rudman Commission (Haddal, p. 4). In 1994, the INS launched the Operation Gatekeeper program in order to increase border protection in the San Diego – Mexico border, giving agents military assistance and resources in order to implement border policies (Global Exchange, 1). Following the events of September 11, 2001, targeted measures were also implemented by the Congress in order to secure the US borders. The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States or the 9/11 Commission set forth its report by recommending that a biometric entry-exit screening into the US borders be implemented in the name of national security (Haddal, p. 4). The US already had the US Visitor and Immigrant States Indicator Technology (US-Visit) in effect and it was used as a basis for expanding border inspections. Laws that followed the 9/11 attacks focused on guaranteeing airline security, visa and border security, and maritime security (The Aviation and Transportation Security Act, p. 1).
Laws passed after the 9/11 attacks included the USA Patriot Acts and the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Reform Act of 2002 (Haddal, p. 5). These acts focused on the implementation of an automated entry and exit system into the borders; it also focused on the biometric identifiers in passports and visas and other travel documents in order to ensure national security. In 2004, the Congress included biometric provisions for entry/exit into the US through the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act and the congress also passed law for the creation of the DHS and to provide the tools in order to meet the challenges of national security (Haddal, p. 5). Through the Homeland Security Act of 2002, the functions of the Department of Agriculture, the INS, and the US Customs Service were merged into the Directorate of Border and Transportation Security (BTS) under the Department of Homeland Security or the DHS (Haddal, p. 5). The BTS was further subdivided and the functions of border enforcement were given to the CBP. This move helped to ensure that all agencies in charge of border security to have a freer exchange of information and resources. With the reorganization of the federal agencies through the creation of DHS, main agencies now in charge of the nation’s security included the US Customs and Border Protection or the CBP (patrolling the border and conducting immigrations and customs inspections at ports of entry); the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (investigation of immigrations and customs violations inside the country); the US Coast Guard (providing maritime and port security); and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) (securing land, rail, and air transport networks) (Haddal, p. 5). With the above laws and agencies in charge of US border control and protection, issues still abound in the implementation of policies. Such issues are presented below.
Issues in the Implementation of Border Control and Protection Policies
Identifiers in Travel Documents.
The policy of the United States of placing technology and biometrics identifiers in the travel documents is one of the recent border control measures implemented by the US. Some analysts however point out that in order for this practice to be effective, the US’ neighboring countries (Canada and Mexico) should implement similar policies (Seghetti, p. 11). Canada has agreed to implement a biometrics and identifiers policy which is similar to the United States. The US has also entered into an agreement with Mexico for the latter’s cooperation with the signing of the US-Mexico Border Partnership Plan; however, the US has not called for Mexico to implement a similar biometrics identifier system in its borders. As a result, “some contend that by not attending to biometric identifiers, Mexico could become a means for terrorists to sneak into the United States” (Seghetti, p. 11). In effect, the US measures do not seem to be wholly effective in preventing more standard immigration policies.
Infrastructure Issues seen at the Borders
The US VISIT program monitors the entry and exit of all illegal aliens in the US. Immigration experts point out that this policy is interfering with the free flow of commerce in and out of the US borders or ports of entry (Seghetti, p. 11). Others however claim that this policy helps ensure the security of the borders and the country in general. The critics of the US VISIT program insist however that the US has insufficient infrastructure to meet the needs of the program. “For example, additional lanes may be necessary at some ports of entry to accommodate the number of individuals seeking entry into the United States who will need to be processed through the system” (Seghetti, p. 11). And there is also a need to set-up an exit lane in order to process the aliens who would be leaving the US. There is no system yet for such exit lanes. Ports of exit in Canada and Mexico may not have the resources to set-up as many lanes as seen in the US and this causes delays in the implementation of the program (Seghetti, p. 12).
Before the 9/11 attacks, some of the northern borders were not adequately staffed. In contrast, the smaller southern border was staffed with significant manpower. Because of limited manpower in the northern border, the border patrol officials faced significant challenges in the enforcement of border control policies (Deering, p. 2). Understandably, throughout the years, because of the high incidence of illegal aliens and the significant criminal elements crossing the southern borders into the US, the border patrol policies have been strictly implemented in the southern borders. The insufficient number of staff available in the northern borders, however, has not been adequately filled (Seghetti, p. 12). As a result, it is still a major challenge to implement border control policies due to limited staffing. Since the 9/11 attacks border patrol agents in the northern border were increased, however, it is still significantly less than the staff in the southern border. This issue needs to be resolved in order to prevent entry of potential terrorist and criminal elements.
In the implementation of border control policies in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, tensions have been seen in the need to guard the country against terrorists, illegal aliens, illegal drugs, and the need to process people and goods quickly and efficiently through ports of entry (Wasem, Monke, & Vina, p. 45). It has been apparent after the 9/11 attacks that the wait time in the passage of trucks through ports of entry now take as much as 12 hours. “The land border between the United States and Canada was nearly closed, and as a result, some US auto parts began to shut down due to lack of parts” (Wasem, Monke, & Vina, p. 45). Critics point out that the CBP needs to strike a balance between the flow of goods and services and the implementation of safety measures. These critics also point out that the CBP seems to be more concerned about allowing the flow of goods and services considering that only about 22% of rail containers; 5.2% of sea containers; and 15.1% of trucks are inspected with about 45 seconds inspection spent for these transport conveyances (Wasem, Monke, & Vina, p. 45). Supporters of the current policies of the CBP point out that the latter is now armed with modern tools of inspection which allows the inspections to be analytical and discerning while ensuring the free flow of goods and preventing the entry of illegal aliens, terrorists, and contraband.
Targeting High-risk Shipments
The current developments in technology have given the CBP a chance to target high-risk containers. However, concerns have been raised about the progress made by the CBP in collecting advance manifest information. One of these issues is the fact that the main document used by the CBP in gathering data and conducting risk assessment on cargo shipments is the cargo manifest (Wasem, Monke, & Vina, p. 45). Cargo manifests have been considered as error prone and that these may not contain the necessary details for efficient screening (Flynn, p. 1).
Screening Aliens at the Border
The Terrorist Screening Center enabled the consolidation of various terrorist databases into one database. Interest groups have since pointed out that there were no definite government standards which set forth criteria on how a person makes it on and how he can have his name removed from such database (Krouse, p. 46). Moreover, the lack of defined boundaries and functions for the TSC, Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force (FTTTF), and the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, and other anti-terrorist and customs agencies created turf conflicts and became an impediment to effective information sharing (Wasem, Monke, & Vina, p. 45). The US VISIT program has also been criticized for its ability to identify all potential terrorists and whether it can effectively track the activities of suspicious foreign nationals. Most Canadians, 6.4 Mexicans who were issued border crossing cards, and about 13.8 million foreign nationals placed under the Visa Waiver Program were not made part of the US VISIT program and such practice may have allowed illegal aliens and terrorists to slip through the net (Wasem, Monke, & Vina, p. 45).
The CBP is still coming up with ways in order to complete its advanced manifest submissions, while the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has already come up with ways for advanced notifications for some food imports. The FDA advanced notices are based on standards different from the CBP and it is currently not clear how these two sets of rules can be integrated with each other (Wasem, Monke, & Vina, p. 49). There is also a conflict of agencies when it comes to the handling of refugees or asylum seekers, with different agencies like the Coast Guard (interdiction), Customs and Border Protection (apprehension and inspection), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (detention), and other agencies having their own field or area of concern in the management of these refugees (Wasem, Monke, & Vina, p. 49).
Training of Personnel
For border authorities who are tasked to implement the different border control policies, it is often considered too much to expect them to have the ability and the skills to recognize fraudulent documents (Shelley, p. 2). Customs inspectors, for example are accustomed to ascertaining the veracity of travelers based on their cargo; this is very much different from the work of immigration inspectors who evaluate people and their documents, not their cargo. Many inspectors are also not adept in accessing databases and evaluating travelers as security threats (Shelley, p. 2).
Some groups contend that developing databases which can be used by different agencies is a costly and time consuming venture (Wasem, Monke, & Vina, p. 51). They also point out that these difficulties are founded on competing technologies of various agencies involved in border control and patrol. Moreover, privacy concerns due to breaches on these databases are an ever present risk which would likely be seen with the use of a centralized database under the border control programs (Ham & Atkinson, p. 4). In some instances, the databases for customs and for immigration have been unevenly automated, often interfering with the effective monitoring of cargo and people through various ports of entry. Expert analysts also emphasize that the interaction between existing databases and the new interconnected databases have not been fully evaluated and remain a major concern in the implementation of border control policies (Wasem, Monke, & Vina, p. 51).
Fourth Amendment and Racial profiling
The Fourth Amendment of the US succinctly states that a person cannot be subjected to unlawful searches and seizures. Consequently, in order to carry out searches and seizures, warrants must be issued in behalf of the searching party and based on the specific terms set forth in the warrant. Moreover, evidence or materials gathered from such illegal searches and seizures are inadmissible in court (Kim, p. 2). Based on the provisions of the Fourth Amendment, some groups claim that border patrols, seizures, searches, and inspections violate the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution. Therefore, anything seized from the searches or seizures by border patrol officials cannot be considered admissible in court. Legal experts however emphasize that such border seizures and searches are based on the police power of the state – in the name of national security – and is superior to the right of an individual against illegal searches and seizures (Kim, p. 2). This has not however stopped various interest groups from pointing out that the border searches can sometimes be used as a means of abuse and a means of implementing unfair and unjust practices.
In the recent implementation of the Arizona immigration laws, the issue of racial profiling has once again been raised. This is an issue which has been considered a potential outcome of the implementation of the provisions of the Fourth Amendment. Various interest groups point out that the implementation of searches and seizures is often based on the race of the individuals crossing the borders (Johnson, p. 1009). The Supreme Court has veered away from definitively settling the issue of racial profiling in relation to the implementation of the Fourth Amendment. In the case of Whren v. United States, the SC legalized the application of more, not less profiling in the implementation of border patrol policies. This case further gave power to police officers to solely depend on racial characteristics in the implementation of border control policies (Johnson, p. 1009). The practice of racial profiling has been severely criticized by various interest groups because of the practice of some law enforcement officials in making broad and sweeping statements or descriptions in order to justify some of their actions. For example, they may apprehend or search a person’s cargo and truck because the driver looks like a Mexican. However, as pointed out by human rights activists, just because a person looks like a Mexican, does not automatically make him an illegal immigrant, or even a Mexican, for that matter. Nevertheless, this is how border patrol policies are often being implemented. An unfortunately, these actions and judgments are often seen not just near the border, but also in America’s heartland (Johnson, p. 1009).
In the current implementation of border patrol measures, agencies seem to rely more on race in order to pinpoint groups for immigration inspections and in strictly enforcing immigration policies. Interest groups also point out how the general trend in the law enforcement practices in the US reflects a racially biased trend – with blacks more likely to be stopped in the streets while they are driving, as compared to their white counterparts (Lyle, p. 248). This practice is said to be a trend which was started in the 80s when random stops and inspections were conducted by police officers in response to the drug wars raging across many US territories at that time. In the Chavez v. Illinois State Police case, Hispanic and black motorists were singled out by the police for drug searches (Lyle, p. 248). In this case, despite the fact that the Hispanic and the black population in the area was relatively small and the frequency of their road travels is also lesser than the whites, the percentages of inspections made on the Hispanic and the black population still registers at relatively higher incidents (Lyle, p. 248). In various SC decisions, the discussion of the adjudicators in relation to racial profiling in the implementation of border patrol policies seems to boil down to the abuse in the implementation of searches and seizures. In the course of administration, these searches and seizures seem to target minorities and certain races (Lyle, p. 248). It is also unfortunate that in the course of administering such policies, some races are unfairly harassed or searched more than others. In effect, this makes the implementation of some border patrol policies wholly biased and controversial.
The Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution provides for procedural due process in distinguishing between aliens seeking admission and those seeking admission after entry, wherein the SC has recognized some rights for the latter which are not extended to the former (Wasem, Monke, & Vina, p. 53). Those seeking entry to the US have to wait for the country to grant entry based on the due process policies of the country. This policy is especially controversial in instances when a certain alien seeking entry is suspected of being a terrorist, and the US decides to return him to his native country or to refuse him entry as an asylum seeker. There is an inherent danger, in this case, of returning the alien to his home country where he may be tortured or persecuted (Good & Schmeichen, 1).
Humanitarian conditions including violence against aliens
Violence against aliens
Various incidents of excessive violence and harassment against illegal aliens and other foreign nationals have also been reported. In the case of Arizona v. Manypenny, two border patrols ordered three Mexican males to stop for questioning regarding their immigrant status. One of the males suddenly turned and ran in the direction of the Mexican border. Manypenny ordered him to stop but the man kept on running. Manypenny opened fire and one of his bullets lodging in the male’s spine, eventually making him quadriplegic (Trevino, p. 98). The Mexicans turned out to be illegal aliens working in the US. Manypenny was eventually convicted for assault with a deadly weapon. Other similar incidents have also been seen in various border towns with reports of unnecessary violence from border patrol agents. Reports from some agencies pointed out that May 1989 to May 1991, there were about 1200 reported cases of violence by immigration officers at the Mexican-US border (Trevino, p. 98). These reported incidents have included: sexual, verbal, and physical abuse, as well as false arrests, and illegal deportations (Trevino, p. 98). Human rights organizations have also reported that violent activities in the borders have included shootings, beatings, and other acts of torture. The INS has also been accused of covering up the violent acts of their agents and not charging them with the appropriate criminal charges (Trevino, p. 99). The INS has also been accused of not properly screening the qualifications of their employees; and not adequately equipping or training them with the essential tools and skills in the implementation of border control policies.
Sexual abuse acts perpetuated against illegal aliens have also been one of the more controversial and offensive offshoots of the border patrol activities of different involved agencies. Reports from human rights organizations reveal a case where an illegal immigrant was raped in the Nogales, Arizona border by border patrol agents. At first, rape charges were filed, but a plea bargain was later arranged for a lesser charge of transporting illegal aliens across the border (Trevino, p. 100). Other incidents of kidnapping rape, and sexual assault were carried out throughout the years and in most of these cases, insufficient charges or no charges at all were filed. Many of these illegal aliens are fearful of the fact that they are in the US illegally, and some border patrol agents take advantage of this fact by carrying out sexual and violent acts against these aliens. Moreover, border patrol agents often work over wide tracts of land and they are often unsupervised in the conduct of their legal and illegal acts (Trevino, p. 100). These agents also claim that most of the charges against them are unfounded because of difficulties in corroborating statements from immigrants. All in all, these factors make the implementation of border patrol policies challenging and difficult.
It is also important to note that the implementation of new and stricter border control policies have caused various unintended consequences to the illegal practice of wanting to cross the border into the US. The INS border control policies have caused undocumented migrants to pass through the
“rural and remote passages where many have died from exposure, drowning, and dehydration; vigilantism by US citizens against apparent undocumented migrants who have crossed the country; the international legal implications of US border policy resulting in migrant deaths; and the inherent contradictions generated by immigration policies that collide with America’s dependency on and demand for low-skilled labor” (US Commission on Civil Rights, p. 2).
Reports from experts on immigration studies point out that because of the construction of high-technology and concrete fences, 24 hour surveillance, infrared scopes, and other monitoring measures in the southwest border, the attempts of illegal migrants in crossing into the US have been shifted to the inhospitable Arizona desert. This shift however has led to more deaths of illegal aliens. In 2002 alone, more than 300 of them died while trying to cross the border, and 130 of these dying from heat exposure in the Arizona desert (US Commission on Civil Rights, p. 2). The services of smugglers paid to guide migrants into the US have also become indispensable and the services from these smugglers have also increased in cost due to the increased risk incurred in transporting and assisting migrants.
The US Commission on Civil Rights (p. 3) was also able to note how incidents of vigilantism increased after stricter border patrol policies were implemented. Migrants trying to cross into the US border via remote rural towns were detained, injured, or killed by American landowners, ranchers, and vigilantes. Human rights advocates have pointed out that many US residents coming across or encountering migrants wanting to cross into US soil have resorted to extreme physical force in order to detain these illegal migrants (Sapkota, et.al., p. 1282). Some vigilantes have even associated terrorism or other threats to national security to the illegal migrants. Another alarming point made by human rights groups is the fact that some vigilantes have links to white supremacist groups which use the border control policies as an excuse for their extremely violent measures against illegal migrants (Nunez, p. 800).
Experts on immigration policies also point out that the United States policy, especially the Operation Gatekeeper policy, has international implications which generally boils down to the responsibility of the US to protect civil and political rights of all individuals within its borders (US Commission on Civil Rights, p. 4). As a signatory of the UN Charter and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the US is required to respect people’s right to life and to value human dignity and integrity. The US is well aware that the Operation Gatekeeper would likely lead to threats on people’s lives, and yet it has failed to come up with measures in order to ensure that no deaths or injuries would result from the implementation of the operation (US Commission on Civil Rights, p. 4). For which reason, these border patrol policies represent dangers which the US government has not prepared for.
On the economic front, there also seems to be an inherent contradiction between the immigration control policies and the US dependence on low-skilled labor (Ring, p. 1). INS representatives have also stated that the immigration policies are creating a push/pull effect on the implementation of border laws, making it more difficult for border patrol officials to implement border control laws. As border patrol officials are expected to prevent entry of illegal aliens, the economic trends in the US entice many migrants to try to elude border officials and cross into the US (US Commission on Civil Rights, p. 4). A major percentage of migrants cross the US for economic reasons and as the US border patrol officials continue to push migrants away from the borders, the nation’s reliance on cheap labor will go on to attract more migrants.
“The border control initiatives fail to reflect the present-day reality of this nation’s economic dependency on migrant labor…This nation can no longer continue to place ‘help wanted’ signs for menial work that many Americans are unwilling to pursue for little pay, while at the same time imperiling the lives of the human capital (economic migrants) by funneling them through remote desert passages” (US Commission on Civil Rights, p. 4).
In effect, the policies being implemented by the border patrol officials run counter to the economic needs of the US – needs which are satisfactorily being filled by illegal migrants.
Recommendations to Resolve Issues on Border Patrol Policies
National Identifying System
Since the main issue involving illegal aliens primarily involves Mexican illegal immigrants, it is important to implement a US/Mexico border crossing card (BCC) in order to help identify the citizens in the country and all citizens within its borders – illegal or otherwise (Shulman, p. 2). This card will give access to Mexican citizens, allowing them to enter the US for 72 hours and within 25 miles of the border (Shulman, p. 2). Such BCC holders cannot be allowed to work in the US. Making this identifying card of a more widespread use in the US and can help ensure that the US has sufficient control and tracking measures for such migrants. This national ID system would also help keep track of migrants and their engagement in employment or illegal activities. It is also an effective means of combating terrorism (Shulman, p. 2). Opponents to this ID system need to remember that most US citizens are already within a national ID system through their Social Security Numbers (SSN). If our citizens are under such system, then all other individuals, i.e. migrants (illegal or otherwise) should also be placed under a national ID system (Schulman, p. 3). These IDs however need to be machine readable in order to allow an easy review of status in the US with the latest in the methods of identification.
Improve Infrastructure for Border Patrol
In order to improve infrastructure in the implementation of border patrol laws, funding has to be increased for border patrol policies. Once funding is increased, the infrastructure for an expanded infrastructure system at the border can also be implemented (Seghetti, p. 12). Infrastructure needs may include the building of more lanes in order to facilitate entry and exit into and out of the US. This would help expedite entry and exit and ensure that minimal delays on commerce would be met in the implementation of border control policies (Seghetti, p. 12).
The increase in funding can also be used as additional resources which can allow the hiring of more staff to implement the border control policies (Seghetti, p. 12). Increased staffing can help ensure that more agents would be patrolling the borders, ensuring that no illegal migrants would cross into US borders. Increased staffing would also help deter potential illegal aliens from crossing the US borders. Better funding for border patrol implementation would also mean funding for training of border patrol staff and agents. This would include training in the detection of fraudulent documents and in the proper, legal, safe implementation of border patrol policies, and the proper use of database technologies.
It is also important for the appropriate laws to be passed in order to meet the needs and resolve issues on border patrol. As seen in the discussion above, despite the seemingly extensive laws and policies set forth by the government in order to restrict illegal entry into US shores, various problems and issues are still rampant. Various government leaders are currently urging other legislators to pass bills which would give the DHS the power to identify current porous or high-risk entry areas, and the power to close such areas (Vakharia, p. 1). Suggestions on specific technologies such as radiation detection equipment for the border inspectors are also effective measures which can assist border patrol agents in securing our borders.
Improve coordination between agencies involved in the implementation of policies
It is also important for the different agencies and government officials involved in implementing the different border control policies to improve their coordination with each other. The coordination between the different agencies would help ensure that these agencies are all working towards a similar goal, and that their actions to reach said goals would not interfere or come in conflict with each other. This coordination also needs to extend to other countries, especially Mexico and Canada, because these countries present the nearest and easiest ports of entry into the US. With improved coordination, these different countries can have an improved sharing of information – information which can help them implement the essential elements of the border patrol policies (Ramos & Shirk, p. 17). Moreover, improved coordination can also help curtail the activities of terrorist groups and organizations. This coordination and cooperation between countries and agencies can help implement better control measures against terrorist organizations through intelligence gathering, information sharing, and freezing of terrorist accounts (Weiss, p. 26).
General review and revision of border control policies
Alternative programs that assist solve border control problems in the United States should include three primary points: (1) That the program must guarantee adequate control over unauthorized entry and work or that the program must complement, not replace, illegal activity in the United States; (2) That employers must also have adequate incentives to hire domestic workers before they are recruited by overseas employees; (3) That the program should provide remedies for the protection of the rights of temporary workers (LoBreglio, p. 958). In ensuring effective alternatives to border control problems, the protection of the freedoms of immigrant employees is an significant consideration and requirement. Historically, illegal aliens and even guest workers did not enjoy labor rights and political rights as people (LoBreglio, p. 958). Illegal aliens, most of whom are economic migrants, point out that they enjoy better life in the U.S. and emphasize that the issue is also with their own government and the inadequate possibilities they have in their home nations. To solve the problem of illegal aliens, the US must coordinate its efforts with other countries, particularly the Mexican and the Canadian government. The Congress can do this by concentrating its attention on particular communities and ensuring their privileges by “integrating the human rights and transparency aspects of Canadian and European Union policies directly into immigration law.”” (LoBreglio, p. 959).
Furthermore, Congress must protect guest workers by including measures for allocating resources to state or non-governmental organizations for educational programs that would educate guest workers about their rights and responsibilities under US law (LoBreglio, p. 959). These programs also need to be based on their native language and concentrate as migrants on their problems and concerns. Such programs must also not concentrate too much on legal terminologies that migrants would not understand; instead, they must concentrate on providing practical and related directions to migrants, in particular instructions that they would need to guarantee that their stay in the United States is within legal limits. Sound education programs can successfully reduce the burden on American society of such aliens and help them reintegrate into their society when they return to their home countries (LoBreglio, p. 959).
In addition, programs that try to inform the general public about the reasons and implications of illegal immigration can assist to decrease violence and negative stereotypical thinking against migrant workers (LoBreglio, p. 960). Sanctions imposed on employers recruiting illegal aliens can also assist discourage or decrease the recruitment of aliens. It is also important to educate employers about the process they can undertake in order to gain legal workers and the repercussions of illegally employing aliens (Lobreglio, p. 960).
The officials involved may also consider the possible passage of a law that specifically protects the freedoms of illegal immigrants. Such law can lead immigrants to obtain immediate access to the Ombudsman or other organizations for human rights. For instance, telephone numbers can be published at Mexican alien detention centers for the Mexican National Commission for Human Rights ‘ Department of Immigration (LoBreglio, p. 960). This would give detainees the chance to contact legal counsel and ensure that their rights are protected. Legal counsel for these detainees can also help relieve the process of legalization – and expedite the legal process for aliens. Notably, ‘ a self-petition provision is an appealing concept that gives thousands of undocumented people the opportunity to alter their status, but in the lack of legal counsel and precise data on the process, it seems unlikely that uneducated workers will actually be prepared or able to apply for self-petition” (LoBreglio, p. 960). Hence, legal counsel made available to these migrant workers can facilitate the process of gaining legal status in the US, thereby, reducing border control problems.
Strict implementation of criminal laws against vigilantes and abusive border patrol officials
The double standards in the implementation of criminal laws must be forsaken. In this case, border patrol officials must ensure that their agents do not engage in excessive violence and other criminal activities against illegal migrants. Anyone found violating these policies must be dismissed and charged immediately for their acts (Brunet-Jailly, p. 43). In order to ensure that the concerned officials do not abuse their discretion, the public must be vigilant about the violence inflicted against these illegal migrants. The public must be vocal and must help protect the rights of these aliens. In other words, the public must make itself part of the solution – not part of the problem.
The above discussion comprehensively presents a picture of the border control policies, issues, and possible solutions to such issues. Before and after the 9/11 attacks, America’s government implemented various policies to protect the US from illegal migrants, cross-border criminal activities and terrorists. These policies however have not been fully effective in addressing the issues and gaps in border patrol policies. Issues in relation to border patrol violence, inadequate staffing, legislative inadequacies all affect the efficacy of border patrol policies. Solutions to these issues relate to the implementation of better policies which bring the focus to the root of these issues. In resolving such issues, peace and order can be achieved in the US borders and better US relations with its immediate neighbors can be achieved.
- Brunet-Jailly, E. (2007) Borderlands: comparing border security in North America and Europe. Canada: University of Ottawa Press
- Deering, T. (n.d) Dysfunctional Border Control Undermines National Security And Foreign Trade Analysis and Policy Recommendations. Taylor. Deering.com. 02 November 2010 from http://www.taylordeering.com/MockPolicyAnalysis.pdf
- Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act (P.L. 107-143) signed on May 14, 2002
- Good, E. & Schmeichen, M. (2006) Representing Asylum Seekers Through the Immigration Process. Timberlake Publishing. 02 November 2010 from http://hennepin.timberlakepublishing.com/article.asp?article=1018&paper=1&cat=147
- Haddal, C. (2010) People Crossing Borders: An Analysis of U.S: Border Protection Policies. Congressional Research Service. 02 November 2010 from http://trac.syr.edu/immigration/library/P4765.pdf
- Ham, S. & Atkinson, R. (2002) Using Technology to detect and prevent terrorism. Progressive Policy Institute. 02 November 2010 from http://www.dlc.org/documents/IT_terrorism.pdf
- Johnson, K. (2010) How Racial Profiling in America Became the Law of the Land: United States Brignoni-Ponce and Whren v. United States and the Need for Truly Rebellious Lawyering. Georgetown Law Journal. 01 November 2010 from http://www.georgetownlawjournal.com/issues/pdf/98-4/Johnson.PDF
- Kim, Y. (2009) Protecting the US Perimeter: Border Searches under the Fourth Amendment. Federation of American Scientists. 01 November 2010 from www.fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/RL31826.pdf
- Krouse, W. (2004) Terrorist Identification, Screening, and Tracking Under Homeland Security Presidential Directive 6. CRS Report for Congress. 02 November 2010 from http://www.ndu.edu/library/docs/crs/crs_rl32366_23dec04.pdf
- Labor Appropriation Act of 1924; 43 Stat. 240
- Lobreglio, K. (2004) The Border Security and Immigration Act: A Modern Solution to a Historic Problem? St. John’s Law Review. 03 November 2010 from http://new.stjohns.edu/media/3/306580de4f5c4e53ac9a1b58c16d646f.pdf
- Lyle, P. (2002) Racial Profiling and the Fourth Amendment: Applying the Minority Victim Perspective to Ensure Equal Protection under the Law. Boston College. 03 November 2010 from http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/law/lwsch/journals/bctwj/21_2/02_TXT.htm
- Neto-Nunez, B. (2005) Border Security: The Role of the U.S. Border Patrol. CRS Report for Congress. 02 November 2010 from http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA453705&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf
- Nunez, A. (2008) Civilian Border Patrols: Activists, Vigilantes, or Agents of Government? Rutgers Law Review, volume 60, number 3, pp. 797-823
- Operation Gatekeeper (2004) Global Exchange. 01 November 2010 from http://www.globalexchange.org/countries/americas/unitedstates/california/dayofthedead/gatekeeper.html
- Perrotta, D., Escobedo, M., Stern, C., Zane, D., & Nolte, K. (2006) Unauthorized Border Crossings and Migrant Deaths: Arizona, New Mexico, and El Paso, Texas, 2002–2003. America Journal of Public Health, volume 96, number 7, pp. 1282-1287
- Ramos, J. & Shirk, D. (2003) Binational Collaboration in Law Enforcement and Public Security Issues on the U.S.-Mexican Border. UC San Diego. 02 November 2010 from http://escholarship.org/uc/item/92f7c3cw;jsessionid=004CCAB5C31E9F919C3F23F996A7A3C9#page-17
- Rodriguez, C. (2008) Guest Workers and Integration: Toward a Theory of What Immigrants and
- Americans Owe One Another. New York University School of Law. 02 November 2010 from http://lsr.nellco.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1078&context=nyu_plltwp
- Sapkota, S., Kohl, H., Gilchrist, J., McAuliffe, J., Parks, B., England, B., Flood, T., Sewell, M., Ring, W. (2009) Vermont dairy farms count on illegal immigrants. Immigration Works USA. 02 November 2010 from http://www.immigrationworksusa.org/uploaded/file/051309Vermontdairyfarmscountonillegalimmigrants.pdf
- Seghetti, L. (2004) Border Security: U.S.-Canada Immigration Border Issues. CRS Report for Congress. 01 November 2010 from http://www.ndu.edu/library/docs/crs/crs_rs21258_28dec04.pdf
- Schulman, A. (2002) The US/Mexico Border Crossing Card (BCC): A Case Study in Biometric, Machine-Readable ID. Computers, Freedom, and Privacy. 02 November 2010 from http://www.cfp2002.org/proceedings/proceedings/schulman.pdf
- Shelley, L. (n.d) Chapter 13 Border Issues: Transnational Crime and Terrorism. World Net daily. 02 November 2010 from http://18.104.22.168/serviceengine/Files/DCAF/29442/ichaptersection_singledocument/5b31d746-2d0d-4ad1-8da6-2f24a80d4681/en/13_paper_Shelley.pdf
- Testimony of Stephen Flynn, Council on Foreign Relations, US Congress, House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations hearing, A review of assess progress with the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection’s targeting for Sea Cargo, March 31, 2004
- The Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA, P.L. 107-71) signed on November 19, 2001
- The Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-295) signed on November 25, 2002.
- The White House, “Deterring Illegal Immigration: Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies,” 60 Federal Register 7885, February 7, 1995.
- Trevino, J. (1998) Border Violence against Illegal Immigrants and the need to change the border patrol’s current complaint review process. Houston Journal of International Law, volume 21, number 1, pp. 85-114.
- U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (2003) Summary of Migrant Civil Rights Issues Along the Southwest Border. University of Maryland. 01 November 2010 from http://www.law.umaryland.edu/marshall/usccr/documents/cr1200315.pdf
- U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Appropriations, Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, The Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, 1996, report to accompany H.R. 2076, 104th Cong., 1st sess., S.Rept. 104-139 and U.S. Congress, House Committee on Appropriations, Making Appropriations for the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, The Judiciary, and Related Agencies For the Fiscal Year Ending September 30, 1996 and for Other Purposes, report to accompany H.R. 2076, 104th Cong., 1st sess., H.Rept. 104-378.
- U.S. Department of Justice (1974) A Secure Border: An Analysis of Issues Affecting The U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC, p. 9.
- U.S. General Accounting Office (1994) Border Control: Revised Strategy Is Showing Some Positive Results, GAO/GGD- 95-30, pp. 5-8.
- Vakharia, A. (2009) Border Security: Massachusetts Representative (D). IDIA. 03 November 2010 from http://www.idia.net/Files/PositionPaperFiles/5350/PositionPaperFile/Cyber%20Security%20Mass.doc
- Wasem, R., Monke, J., Vina, S. (2004) Border Security: Inspections, Processes, Policies, and Issues. Federation of American Scientists. 01 November 2010 from www.fas.org/sgp/crs/RL32399.pdf
- Weiss, M. (2005) Terrorist Financing: U.S. Agency Efforts and Inter-Agency Coordination. CRS Report for Congress. 03 November 2010 from http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA444936&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf