E.g., 04/01/2020
E.g., 04/01/2020

Border Security

Border Security

In an era when countries and their populations are increasingly exposed to the opportunities and risks associated with the ever-expanding global movement of people, policymakers are rethinking approaches to border controls and border management. These policies and programs run the gamut—from facilitating the legitimate movement of people and trade to thwarting the unauthorized movement of humans and contraband, the latter a significant preoccupation in the post-9/11 era and as publics have become ever less accepting of illegal immigration. The research offered here examines the management of borders, enforcement policies and initiatives, and technologies used in pursuit of border security.

Recent Activity

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Fact Sheets
September 2003
By Elizabeth Grieco, Deborah W. Meyers, and Kathleen Newland
Reports
March 2003
By Muzaffar Chishti, Doris Meissner, Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Michael Wishnie, Stephen Yale-Loehr, and Jay Peterzell
Policy Briefs
June 2002
By Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Deborah W. Meyers

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President Obama actively utilized the powers of the executive to reshape U.S. immigration policy in 2015. From signature deportation relief programs and changes to visa waiver eligibility to new grants of Temporary Protected Status and revised enforcement priorities, the administration made sweeping changes that touch all aspects of U.S. immigration policy. The actions prompted pushback, however, with 26 states suing to halt implementation of new deferred action programs.

Faced with a flexible, diverse, and seemingly ubiquitous smuggling industry, governments have struggled to respond. Smuggling and trafficking networks, while hardly new phenomena, were put under a harsh spotlight in 2015 for their role as intermediaries in shaping the scale and flow of migrants and asylum seekers around the world.

Citizenship came under fire in new ways around the world in 2015, with attempts to both restrict who is eligible to become a citizen and who can be deprived of citizenship. Driven by fears of international terrorism, a number of countries proposed or passed legislation making it easier to narrow citizenship and broadening the range of offenses for which individuals can be stripped of their citizenship.

As seemingly endless waves of asylum seekers and migrants arrived in Europe in 2015, politicians from across the political spectrum invoked forceful anti-immigrant rhetoric that resonated in some quarters. Mainstream politicians began co-opting the tougher, more enforcement-laden language of far-right groups as all parties sought to reassure voters in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris.

Child migrants traveling alone to Europe or the United States face similar dangers and are particularly at risk of abuse and trafficking. The arrival of tens of thousands of such children in Europe and the United States have overwhelmed accommodations as well as legal and integration processes. Furthermore, the unprecedented flows have sparked heated public debate in a number of cities.

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Audio
April 25, 2013

This MPI event discussed the Dutch model for fighting human trafficking and the strategic and operational dilemmas that public prosecutors in the Netherlands face.

Video
March 26, 2013
MPI's President, Demetrios G. Papademetriou, and the Editor-in-Chief of The American Prospect, Kit Rachlis, engage in a lively Google Hangout discussion about the policies and politics that have created the United States' antiquated, inflexible immigration system and how to create a modern-day, flexible immigration system suited for the competitiveness of the 21st century.
Video, Audio
January 7, 2013
MPI has released a major study that describes and analyzes today’s immigration enforcement programs, as they have developed and grown in the 25 years since IRCA launched the current enforcement era.
Audio
October 1, 2012
The conference offers thoughtful, evidence-based law and policy analysis and discussion of cutting-edge immigration issues.
Video, Audio
April 19, 2012

The Migration Policy Institute celebrated its first decade as the authoritative, unimpeachable resource on immigration and immigrant integration analysis and policy design in the United States and internationally.

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Recent Activity

Reports
September 2017

Following the 2015­–16 crisis that saw record numbers of refugees arrive in Europe, policymakers have shown interest in creating managed, legal alternatives to the dangerous, unauthorized journeys many asylum seekers make. While these discussions should be informed by an understanding of current pathways and protection channels, it is "nearly impossible" to know how protection seekers enter and what legal channels are available to them, as this MPI Europe report explains.

Articles

Hundreds of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers reached Europe via the Western Balkans route during the peak of the migration crisis. While Balkan countries initially facilitated movements northward, pressure from the European Union led to cascading border controls, which left thousands stranded in the region. This article examines the role of Balkan countries during the thick of the crisis and subsequent regional impacts.

Reports
July 2017

Mexico has apprehended more than 50,000 unaccompanied children since 2014 and introduced ambitious reforms to safeguard their rights. Yet the gap between policy and reality is wide: Most are held in adult detention centers rather than child shelters and report never being told of their right to apply for asylum. This report examines the child protection legal framework in Mexico, its implementation, and the gaps between the two.

Articles

Making good on campaign promises to toughen immigration enforcement, the Trump administration has acted swiftly to cast a wider net in the U.S. interior. The actions represent a sea change in enforcement practice, moving from a tight focus on high-priority individuals to an era in which all unauthorized immigrants may be subject to deportation. This article explores the shifts undertaken during President Trump's first six months.

Video, Audio
May 4, 2017

In the midst of efforts to further ramp up enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico border even as illegal crossings are a fraction of what they were at their peak in 2000, MPI research sketches the changing realities at the border and offers data that should help inform the policy debate. As the Trump administration and Congress consider constructing a border wall, adding thousands of Border Patrol agents, and other policies and measures, this discussion evaluates the state of the border, the effectiveness of various enforcement strategies, current trends in apprehensions and the flows of unauthoriz

Reports
May 2017

The revolving door of return migration is slowing significantly for Mexican adults deported or voluntarily returned by the U.S. government, with the number intending to attempt re-entry dropping 80 percent between 2005 and 2015. Drawing from an official survey of Mexican returnees, this report explores the years of residence repatriated Mexican adults spent in the United States, time in detention, and minor children left behind.

Reports
May 2017

In its first systematic attempt to track the effectiveness of different removal and enforcement strategies that migrants face after being apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border, the Border Patrol in fiscal 2011 launched the Consequence Delivery System (CDS). This report examines the strengths and limitations of CDS, and finds that as stricter measures have been implemented, attempted re-entries have fallen.

Articles

Amid a sense of declining welcome in the United States, growing numbers of asylum seekers have crossed into Canada in recent months, entering illegally to take advantage of a loophole in the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement. The result? Refugee advocates and politicians in Canada are issuing growing calls to change or suspend the treaty. This article examines the treaty's history, effects, and current challenges.

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