Border Security and Immigration Issues

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Since the first immigrants arrived in the country 500 years ago, immigration has been the defining term in the US. In spite of being a dominant population force, the country has also contributed to the country’s political, social and economic outcomes, resulting in current demographical arrangements. More than 420,000 people were arrested for entering the county illegally in 2013 out of more than 360 million citizens and non-citizens (Alden 2014). Although it is primarily the role of the federal government to protect the borderline of the United States, both the state and local government have taken a slot l in backing up the federal government.
Although the United States government has deployed birder security personnel in all entry point including ports and borders. The main emphasis is on the 1954 mile that separates the U.S and Mexican border. The U.S federal government has invested heavily on border security issues to curtail the increasing undocumented immigration onto the country. After the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, the government’s expenditure sky rocketed by over 90.5% from the previous 6 billion to 12 billion. Lasser (2012)state that immigration in the United States is on the rise since the 1970s. According to a census conducted in 2015, out of the 321 million people in the U.S over 13 million are immigrants. The number of undocumented immigrants according to a 2008 research is 11 million which slightly dropped after that year’s economic crisis.

Although issues of border security and immigration are primarily the roles of the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the Department of Defense have equally played a pivotal role in maintaining border security. Various other local and state actors often join the federal bodies in matters pertaining to immigration and border control (Alden 2014). The United States’ immigration and border security issues have become an issue of national debate with a lot of controversies that are subject to the state and federal perspectives.

Incidences and events in Immigration and border issues

For decades, policy maker in the United States have faced difficulties due to the challenges in economic, humanitarian and security concerns that are always competing. In the 2016 Gallup Poll over 71% of Americans think that immigration is good and over 83% agree that illegal immigrants should be awarded documentation if they meet certain needs. Perl (2010), affirms that after the 9/11 incident, most Americans became sensitive and polarized on the issues of immigrations since the terrorists had legal visas. In 2013 for instance, the democrats passed a comprehensive reform bill that was to allow undocumented immigrants to receive citizenship as well as allow for tougher border security provisions. The republicans, however, did not cast a single vote for the bill.

In 2012, president Obama initiated a program called Differed Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that aimed at extending the stay of undocumented immigrants by 2 years. It equally strived to give them work permits provided they had no criminal records. Later Obama tried to initiate a similar program to the parents in America. The Deferred Action for Parents in America (DAPA) was revoked in nearly 24 states before being killed by the Supreme Court in 2016. President Donald J Trump on the other hand came with two major policies stemming from his campaign promises. The first move was to build a wall across the Mexican border so as to gain full control of the immigration issues. The second issue which was prioritized for removal was to broaden and intensify the interior activities of the immigration department in the country with an emphasis on the removal of federal funds in some jurisdictions. It also aimed at ejecting people that had been in the country for over 2 years and could not prove. All the ejections and activities were to take place without a court hearing. The terrorism prevention act according to Lasser(2012) on the other hand, strived to ban citizens from seven Muslim states including Sudan and Syria from entering the United States for a period of 90 days. Trump also reduced the annual cap of refugees in America to less than 60,000 and promised to eradicate (DACA) and (DAPA).

Some states like California have different perceptions about immigration and hence grant undocumented immigrants the permission to access a driver’s license and access to university tuition fees. Other states like Arizona have gone a step further a prohibited the enforcement bodies from asking people about their immigration status. Although it is generally the mandate of the federal government to enforce the immigration laws, there is also the involvement of the states and their local authorities. Although the state and local authorities have to collaborate with the federal government, their involvement has brought to light intense debates (Perl 2010). Although Obama’s era was criticized for being soft on illegal immigrants as compared to the other two prior governments, Trumps entry is also controversial. Trump’s move to stop federal funding from the “sanctuary states” has evoked mixed reactions and even several law suits have been filled against the executive department.

Due to the general political division in Washington, the comprehensive immigration reform is highly unlikely to proceed. The Trump administration is no longer interested to make the comprehensive reforms because of the current debate and political divisiveness and affiliations between the Democrats and Republicans. However, interest has shifted on the H1B program that they claim has taken advantage of the prevailing labor from the illegal immigrants. Companies have taken an advantage of the program and have started acquiring highly qualified skilled laborers to work for them at minimal costs for profit making. In April 2017, President Trump gave directives to the federal government instructing them to only award visas to the most skilled and highly paid immigrants. Homeland Security. Border Security. Retrieved from Learning.

Current policies in the Department of Homeland Security

Since its formation in 2003, The Department of Homeland Security has set rules, regulations and policies aligned with its core missions and visions. The (DHS) first mandate is to protect the American people from external and terrorist threats. According to (Perl 2010), the department has since directed all the available resources and efforts towards combating terrorists and ensuring that the American people prevail in a safe environment. The (DHS) states that its main aim is to ensure that the American people live in an environment of readiness and preparedness as opposed to constant fear and uncertainties. The (DHS) has since magnified its operations and has started collaborating with other external bodies in the fight against terror through checking on illegal immigration.

The (DHS) has equally placed an emphasis on the northern and south-western borders in an attempt to ensure that there is no illegal immigration. In the recent past, one of the core targets of the (DHS) has been to disrupt and possibly cripple the ongoing illegal drug, cash and weapons trafficking at the Mexican border that in turn helps fuel the cartel activities in Mexico. The (DHS) has collaborated with the United Citizenship and Immigration Service and The United States Custom and Border Protection all with the intent of curbing down on illicit commodities and undocumented immigration that hurt the economy of the United States (Lasser 2012). The (DHS) is equally keen to ensure that, despite its efforts to combat terrorist, the commerce and trade activities that are the driving factors of the economy remain intact. The (DHS) has the mandate of crippling the activities of the illegal and undocumented immigrants while at the same time ensuring that there is a steady flow of legal immigrants for employers.

There is constant collaboration and between the federal bodies and the state actors with the intent of sharing as much as possible information so as to fight terrorism. Various bodies like the El Paso Intelligence Centre, The Alliance to combat Transnational Threats as well as The Border Enforcement Security Task Force have all come together with a common goal. The (DHS) being the main body (Alden 2014), encompasses and houses all the other key minor players so as to diversify their efforts and broaden their scope and agendas in the fight against illegal immigration. The (DHS) admits that the fight against illegal immigration, trafficking of people and commodities as well as terrorism is not minute but is intense and requires a lot of innovations, resources and ideas.

Additionally, the (DHS) equally plays a pivotal role in fostering preparedness in disasters and natural calamities. The (DHS) has a mandate to ensure that, as a nation, there is preparedness and resilience as evidenced in Kentucky, Missouri and North Dakota among other states that were affected by natural disasters. It equally fosters community programs and creates awareness programs that aim to quip citizens with the required skills and know how on how to deal with disasters so as to eradicate the issues of redundancy and inconsistencies. The core goal of the (DHS) is to ensure that there is unity and a shared vision with integrated results in their department. Through the recent initiative that aims at leveraging the economies of scale, the (DHS) has managed to leverage their economies of scale so as to initiate a culture of discipline on expenditure (Alden 2014). There is also the collaboration with the federal, local, state and international bodies that have a common shared goal of combating terrorism through checking on immigration. Recently, they have included science and technology in their endeavors to create efficiency and promote innovativeness of their missions and core values.

Recommendations for the Department of Homeland Security

In an attempt to fight against the steady rise of undocumented immigrants, the enforcement bodies ought to reject any forms of amnesty proposals. An instance is in the case of 1986 where amnesty was granted for over 2 million undocumented immigrants. In the same year, the congress failed to deliver on their promises and this lead to influx of undocumented immigrants in America. Granting amnesty to the undocumented immigrants makes them more relaxed and confident in their stay in the United States. Amnesty makes immigrants develop the notion that the (DHS) and the other immigration bodies are soft and hence encourage the illegal immigrants to stay indefinitely. The Administration and the Congress must instead discourage all illegal immigrants from moving into the country.

Strengthening key enforcement measures in the United States is also an important aspect to combat immigration. The Obama Administration has receive rampant criticism for its failure to strengthen immigration policies with the claims that the undocumented immigrants do not fall under the enforcement agencies and hence will not be removed. The programs that aimed at ensuring that the social security match the credentials of the immigrants have to be put into practices to remove the notion that working and staying indefinitely in the United States is easy. The executive body has a mandate to pass laws that offer solid and long terms solutions to the immigration crisis other than to disown the issue (Haddal & Wasem 2010).

The immigrations crisis in the United States is as a result of the “push and pull” factors that are prevailing in the Central American states. Most of the immigrants from Central America often go to the United States to seek employment. However, in order to control this crisis, it is the mandate of the U.S government to help stabilize the political situations as well as the economies of the Central American countries to be more accommodative. Through easy access to visas Perl (2010) states that, most of the immigrants will legally get access into America and hence will reduce the issue of immigration while at the same time build the economy of the United States. The United States should come up with a rotating market base and temporal programs in the Central American countries so as to meet the ever growing demands of the American businesses. The U.S could equally stabilize the market economies of the Central American countries so as to stabilize the region’s economic structure which will in turn discourage the people from the poor states in Central America from going abroad.

There should be a deliberate effort to sustain and increase efforts to uphold border security. The (DHS) should devise more sophisticated ways of ensuring that the border is intact, protected and free from external influence. Through the application of modern technology like the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, camera and sensors, the security of the border will be stable. The collaboration between the U.S and Mexican governments is essential in ensuring that both sides of the border are safe and free from criminal activities and illegal immigration (Haddel & Wasem 2010). The Congress and Administration equally have a mandate to ensure that there are laws in place which are responsible for ensuring that the coastal areas are also well equipped with modern technology and personnel to combat illegal immigration.

The vigilance of the citizens is the most important and effective tool that can fight against illegal immigration as well as terrorism. The Congress, Administration, federal and State governments ought to ensure that the citizens are informed and educated on the need to combat undocumented immigration. According to the Homeland security law book (2003) states that giving the citizens training and fostering preparedness programs and community initiatives makes them more aware of their role in the immigration crisis. Community bases interventions, focus groups and state involvement in matters of immigration will help the (DHS) to come up with holistic and effective measures against the immigration crisis. The state, federal and the local governments have to ensure that other than communal involvement in the immigration crisis there should be ownership of the problem so as to create more participation from the citizens.


Alden, E. (2014). The closing of the american border. Place of publication not identified: HarperCollins e-Books.

Haddal, C. C., Wasem, R. E., & LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE. (2010). Immigration Policies and Issues on Health-Related Grounds for Exclusion. Ft. Belvoir: Defense Technical Information Center.

Homeland security law handbook. (2003). Rockville, Md: ABS Consulting/Government Institutes.

Lasser, W. (2012). Perspectives on American politics. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage

Perl, L. (2010). Immigration: This land is whose land?. New York: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark.


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