E.g., 07/30/2021
E.g., 07/30/2021
Border Security

Border Security

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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.

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Commentaries
November 2016
By  Muzaffar Chishti and Michelle Mittelstadt

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With so much political attention focused on the southern border, the MPI staff has updated this guide to regional population numbers, border crossings, border enforcement, and the economic ties between the United States and Mexico.

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After watching the immigration reform debate intensify in the last few months, Thor Arne Aaas, Norway's Director General of the Department of Migration and a Visiting Fellow at MPI, characterizes the debate as "unfocused, unstructured, and very emotional." More on his views in this interview with Migration Information Source Editor Kirin Kalia.

With Congress considering immigration reform, Susan Ginsburg argues that it's time to examine how counterterrorism strategy relates to border security and how terrorist mobility can be hindered.

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Border control has evolved from a low-tech, one-agency exercise focused strictly on the Southwestern border to a far broader concept. MPI's Deborah Waller Meyers provides a detailed look at border-enforcement strategies and policies since the 1980s.
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In 2003, the U.S. merged all of its border-related agencies to create a unified border inspection process. MPI's Deborah Meyers reports on the positive and negative effects of the merger to date.

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Recent Activity

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As Europe begins to move beyond the overwhelming flows of asylum seekers and other migrants it experienced starting in 2015, policymakers are paying significant focus to integration coupled with stepped-up enforcement. 2016 saw a wave of policy innovations facilitating integration as well as returns and deterrence, but it remains to be seen whether Europe will be able to continue and scale up this work in 2017 and beyond, as this Top 10 article explores.

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With the incoming Trump administration pledging a crackdown on illegal immigration, construction of border walls, reductions in refugee and immigrant admissions, and greater screening of newcomers, U.S. immigration policy is likely to significant change. With Republicans holding the White House and both chambers of Congress at least through 2018, conditions may be favorable for a major transformation of the U.S. immigration system, as this Top 10 article explores.

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The success of populist movements on both sides of the Atlantic in 2016, including Donald Trump's victory in the United States and the United Kingdom's vote to quit the European Union, have sparked an identity crisis in the West. Campaigns effectively tapped into the anxieties of voters who feel left behind by societal change and out-of-touch elites, while normalizing anti-immigrant rhetoric in mainstream discourse, as this Top 10 article explores.

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While Europe and the United States saw terror attacks in 2016 carried out by radicalized immigrants or members of the second generation, policy responses varied on either side of the Atlantic. The perceived security threat posed by refugees was the main concern in the United States. Meanwhile, European debates centered more on concerns over loss of control of migration flows and lack of social cohesion.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Commentaries
November 2016

There has been much interest—and confusion—regarding the number of unauthorized immigrants who could be deported because of criminal records under the Trump administration. This commentary examines what we know about the number of unauthorized immigrants with a criminal conviction and traces how the U.S. immigration enforcement system has already been recalibrated to identify and remove this population.

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