Our Nation’s Borders

By Kris Plunkett at 10:21 pm on February 6, 2008Comments Off on Our Nation’s Borders

The security of our nation’s borders is a topic of great importance. The importance of border security, like most forms of security, can only be truly appreciated when it fails. Some forms of border security failure can have devastating consequences (9/11, though I don’t presume to say that border security was alone at fault for this tragedy), while other failures can have less obvious consequence, such as the draining of tax dollars to support illegal aliens receiving free health-care and education. The problem comes down to foreigners wanting to illegally enter our country for two contrasting reasons: to either benefit from a superior quality of life or to inflict damage on our nation. Defending against illegal immigration is no easy feat, as we have to consider the vast Southern border, the even bigger (though much less troublesome) Northern border, the coasts, and all international airports. Furthermore, distinguishing via identification and authentication between a foreigner who is legally residing within our borders and one that is doing so illegally is also a very hard problem.The two main assets at stake here are the safety of the American people (as well as our legal visitors and legal immigrants) and our nation’s economy. Our safety and general well-being comes under fire from illegal aliens who have any malicious intentions by crossing our borders. This includes terrorism (three of the four pilots in the 9/11 events were illegal immigrants), drug trafficking, etc… The economy takes a hit when illegal aliens are given access to education and health care but, because they are undocumented residents, do not have to pay taxes. Furthermore, illegal aliens often are willing to work for wages that fall way below the prevailing minimum. This has put many Americans out of work and/or business already. Current laws are either insufficient or are not properly enforced to mitigate either of these issues.

The vulnerabilities in our borders are many. First, they are physically hard to monitor. Every small stretch of border, whether it be coastline or on land, represents a potential location where foreigners can illegally enter our country. I’m sure that the Border Patrol do all they can do prevent unauthorized entries, but it is a daunting task, and our current system is riddled with inefficiencies. Furthermore, each international airport also represents a potential entry point for illegal immigrants. Other vulnerabilities include the lack of accurate and accessible databases for tracking potential criminals attempting to gain entry as well as insecure means of identification and authentication (such as passports). Furthermore, the risk factor for illegal aliens entering our country is 100%, as it happens everyday that illegal immigrants make it across the Mexican border without detection.

There are currently many controls in place to protect our borders. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) works at airports to ensure safe flights and that unauthorized individuals do not enter our country, and the Border Patrol is responsible for securing our Northern and Southern borders. Finally, the Coast Guard is in charge of monitoring our two coasts. The effectiveness of these controls is questionable, but this is most likely due to a lack of funding. This causes a stretching thin of resources, especially for the Border Patrol in the South. There is simply too much area to cover and not enough surveillance, be it electronic or by physical patrols, to monitor all possible entry locations at all times. Some new technological advances, however, might someday mitigate this shortfall. One example is the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to automate the process of patrolling our borders. These machines can be in flight for prolonged periods of time and are able to detect the presence of humans at ground level while relaying that information back to a control center.

The protection of our borders is an important task that needs to be taken seriously. The safety of all Americans and the economical well being of many depend on it. It is by no means an easy task, but hopefully in the future a vigilant citizenry, wise administration, and advancement in technology will help alleviate the many current inefficiencies.

Filed under: Miscellaneous,Physical Security,Policy,Security ReviewsComments Off on Our Nation’s Borders

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