E.g., 10/01/2020
E.g., 10/01/2020

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

Commentaries
June 2018
By Jessica Bolter and Sarah Pierce
Commentaries
June 2018
By Jessica Bolter and Doris Meissner
A woman walks alongside a train in Mexico.
Articles
A boy peers through fencing at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Troops at the border
Articles

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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
Policy Briefs
July 2006
By David A. Martin
Reports
February 2006
By Susan Ginsburg
Reports
January 2006
By Joanne van Selm and Betsy Cooper
Policy Briefs
November 2005
By Deborah W. Meyers

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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.

Two years on, the Australia-Cambodia refugee relocation agreement—the first of its kind involving a traditional resettlement country relocating refugees to a country with no resettlement track record—has proven to be underwhelming in its outcomes. Only five refugees have been voluntarily relocated under the deal, of whom just one remains in Cambodia. This article explores where the deal went wrong and what lies ahead for Australia’s detained asylum seekers.

The stark contrast between the Republican and Democratic parties on immigration was codified in their 2016 party platforms, and showcased in the rosters of convention speakers—featuring victims of unauthorized immigrant crimes on the one hand, and unauthorized immigrants living in fear on the other. This article explores the evidence, even compared to earlier platforms, of two divergent universes regarding immigration.

News of the Zika virus outbreak in Latin America has raised alarm bells, resulting in scattered calls for tighter restrictions on international entries to the United States. Evidence shows, however, that closing borders and restrictions on international travel tend to have little impact on the spread of infectious diseases. This feature article explores the linkages between public health and migration in the Americas.

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Video, Audio
April 29, 2014

This MPI panel discussion examines the U.S. deportation system with analysis on migrant apprehensions, removals, returns, and criminal prosecutions, and launches the report, "The Deportation Dilemma: Reconciling Tough and Humane Enforcement."

Video, Audio
March 12, 2014

This event with UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres features findings from UNHCR’s report, Children on the Run, which examines the increasing numbers of children from Central America and Mexico who head off alone to find refuge in the United States, fleeing violence, insecurity, and abuse.

Video, Audio
February 27, 2014

This panel discussion on unaccompanied minors focuses on a report by Kids in Need of Defense and the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies at UC Hastings College of the Law, whose primary conclusion is that children face a U.S. immigration system created for adults that is not required to consider the child’s best interests.

Video, Audio
February 7, 2014

This panel discussion offers perspectives on border policy management from leading officials in the Canadian, Mexican, and U.S. governments, and showcases the MPI book, "Managing Borders in an Increasingly Borderless World."

Video
February 5, 2014

During this public briefing in Guatemala City (conducted in both English and Spanish), the Co-Directors of the Migration Policy Institute-convened Regional Migration Study Group, MPI President Demetrios G.

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Recent Activity

Commentaries
June 2018

The House is set to vote on two bills that would largely dismantle the U.S. asylum system at the southern border by significantly narrowing grounds to apply for asylum, eliminating protections for the vast majority of unaccompanied minors, and unilaterally declaring Mexico a safe third country. The result would be a sharp reduction in the number of people permitted to seek humanitarian protection, as this commentary explains.

Commentaries
June 2018

Monthly apprehension statistics at the Southwest border have become a preoccupation for the Trump administration, which compares the 2018 numbers to 2017 and declares a crisis. Yet it was 2017, when the "Trump effect" temporarily paused illegal crossings, that was the outlier. Recent trends have reverted to the pattern seen in 2016, a result notable at a time of very low U.S. unemployment, as this commentary explores.

Video, Audio
June 5, 2018

Marking the release of MPI President Andrew Selee's latest book, speakers explore emerging trends in migration, economic interdependence, technology innovation, and cultural exchange that are transforming the relationship between the United States and Mexico, and the policy implications of these changes for the future.

Books
June, 2018

Wall or no wall, deeply intertwined social, economic, business, cultural, and personal relationships mean the U.S.-Mexico border is more like a seam than a barrier, weaving together two economies and cultures, as MPI President Andrew Selee sketches in this book, which draws from his travels and discussions with people from all walks of life in Mexico and the United States.

Articles

In recent years, women from Central America have begun to make up a greater share of migrant apprehensions in Mexico and at the U.S. Southwest border. Systemic insecurity, poverty, and corruption are among the factors driving women and others to flee. This article explores the increase in female migration from Central America and the challenges these women face on their journey.

Articles

Frustrated by an uptick in migrant apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border in recent months, the Trump administration unveiled a set of sweeping changes, aiming to prosecute for federal immigration crimes every migrant apprehended crossing illegally. The policy will likely be hindered by legal challenges and capacity limitations, as this article explores.

Commentaries
May 2018

The European Commission has proposed an 89.5 billion-euro fund to combat irregular migration by investing heavily in countries outside the European Union. This commentary argues the ultimate aims of the policy remain obscure, and with some of the money to be drawn from development aid funds is certain to raise tensions between institutions with conflicting goals and mandates.

Articles

Seizing on reports of a migrant “caravan” making its way northward through Mexico, President Donald Trump called for up to 4,000 National Guard troops to deploy to the Southern border. Although previous presidents took similar action in response to upticks in violence and apprehensions, the picture at the border today differs on several metrics. This article examines how the deployment compares to those under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

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