E.g., 02/24/2021
E.g., 02/24/2021

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

Commentaries
November 2018
By  Doris Meissner
A port in Mahdia, Tunisia.
Reports
September 2018
By  Doris Meissner, Faye Hipsman and T. Alexander Aleinikoff
Image of families belong together event banner in Houston
Articles
Commentaries
September 2018
By  Julia Gelatt, Michael Fix and Jennifer Van Hook

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Reports
January 2010
By  Rocco Bellanova, Susan Ginsburg, Paul De Hert and Hiroyuki Tanaka
Reports
October 2009
By  Frank Sharry
Reports
February 2009
By  Doris Meissner and Donald M. Kerwin
Fact Sheets
December 2007
By  Hiroyuki Tanaka
Reports
October 2007
By  Deborah W. Meyers, Rey Koslowski and Susan Ginsburg
Reports
September 2006
By  Doris Meissner, Deborah W. Meyers, Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Michael Fix

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Smugglers and migrants adapted their paths in light of changing conditions in 2016, including the construction of walls and closure of borders. Cuban and Haitian migrants increasingly chose to make their way to the United States through South and Central America rather than by sea. Meanwhile, migrant flows to Europe have splintered into a wider range of routes, seeking new openings through the Western Balkans.

In stark contrast to a Europe that is erecting new barriers and reinstituting border controls, other regions around the world are moving toward greater mobility for intraregional travelers and migrants. Regional blocs in South America and Southeast Asia have been working to ease intraregional movements of workers, and the African Union in 2016 launched a new biometric African passport.

Donald Trump has made a series of postelection statements suggesting he may backtrack on several campaign pledges on immigration, including building a wall across the entire U.S.-Mexico border and deporting all 11 million unauthorized immigrants. Still, his choice of top advisors points to a hard-line agenda. This Policy Beat article examines what some of the better known elements of Trump's immigration policy might look like.

In the wake of a hurricane that has once again devastated Haiti, the United States quickly reversed its toughened policy toward the thousands of Haitian nationals arriving at the California-Mexico border without prior authorization. This Policy Beat examines the shifts in U.S. admission and deportation policy toward Haitian migrants since the 2010 earthquake, and other national and state developments on immigration.

Over the past several decades, in response to the uptick in spontaneous migration flows, there has been a surge in construction of border walls and fences. This trend begs several questions: Why now? Did border walls work in the past? Do they work today? This article examines the history of border barriers and assesses how effective they are at deterring unauthorized migration.

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Audio
July 8, 2015

This teleconference, the first in a series from MPI Europe on the future of asylum policy in the European Union, focuses on the politics and mechanics of asylum seeker relocation and whether a recent contentious European Summit represents a new phase of intra-EU cooperation on asylum.

Video, Audio
March 31, 2015

A webinar examining the shifting pattern of Central American child and family migration between 2011 and 2014 and expectations for 2015, the policy challenges presented by the rising inflow, and how states, localities, the U.S. government, and other countries in the region are responding to this recent trend.

Video, Audio
December 3, 2014

A discussion with MPI experts of the less-examined aspects of President Obama's executive actions on immigration, with respect to immigration enforcement, legal immigration, and immigrant integration.

Video, Audio
October 21, 2014

This conference, keynoted by USCIS Director León Rodríguez, featured panels on local immigrant integration policies; expected executive action on immigration; the treatment of unaccompanied children from Central America; and innovations in government-funded legal counsel and accelerated court cases.

Video, Audio
October 16, 2014

MPI researchers, along with analysts from the Government Accountability Office and American Immigration Council, discuss the findings from an MPI report that examines the 3.7 million deportations that have occurred in the United States since establishment of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003, as well as lessons that can be learned for future policy and possible administrative action.

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Recent Activity

Articles

In less than two years as Attorney General, Jeff Sessions oversaw wide-reaching changes to the U.S. immigration system. Even as the zero-tolerance policy, fights with "sanctuary" cities, and DACA termination might be more visible, Sessions' enduring legacy may be his muscular use of a little-noted authority, which he wielded to significantly reshape immigration and asylum policy by referring immigration cases to himself.

Commentaries
November 2018

Asylum reform, not the "shock-and-awe" deployment of thousands of troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to deal with the migrant caravan, represents the real path to addressing the current realities of mixed economic and humanitarian migration flows, as the person who presided over the last reform of the U.S. asylum system in the mid-1990s explains in this commentary.

Video, Audio
October 1, 2018

At the 15th annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference, held in October 2018, leading experts and government officials discussed the role that immigration is playing in the mid-term elections; how the courts are handling key immigration questions; and recent changes in the U.S. asylum system, border and interior enforcement, and regulations surrounding legal immigration.   

Articles

In the face of an uptick in unauthorized arrivals in Italy from Tunisia in 2017, the European Union dusted off earlier policy proposals such as funding to increase Tunisia’s border-control capabilities and the creation of disembarkation platforms. This article explores why contemporary developments, including a fragile Tunisian political system, suggest the need for a different approach.

Video, Audio, Webinars
September 27, 2018

Speakers, including report authors, discuss the findings from an MPI report that analyzes the factors that have brought the U.S. asylum system to a crisis point. During the discussion, the authors propose common-sense steps that can be implemented now to jump-start the system's rescue.

Reports
September 2018

The United States has a long tradition of providing asylum to those in need. But in recent years, case backlogs have grown and many asylum seekers now wait years for a decision. This report examines the factors that have brought the U.S. asylum system to this crisis point and proposes common-sense steps that can be taken to restore timeliness and fairness, while deterring abuses.

Articles

As the Trump administration moves to be able to indefinitely detain parents and children intercepted at the U.S.-Mexico border, whether illegal border crossers or asylum seekers, recent apprehension trends and history suggest hardline policies might not be a slam-dunk deterrent with a Central American population often driven by the desire to escape gang or other violence, as this Policy Beat explores.

Commentaries
September 2018

In a commentary, MPI and Penn State researchers explain why an academic article suggesting the unauthorized population is significantly higher than previously estimated derives from seriously flawed assumptions. The researchers, who peer-reviewed the analysis, find the authors overestimate successful illegal crossings by misapplying data from the 2000s to the 1990s, when crossing patterns were much different.

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