The United States Immigration and Border Security Problems

This is an essay paper about the United States immigration and border security problems and how this has affected the primary objective of the Department of Homeland Security. This paper will begin by giving a brief history of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and how this department has evolved with time. This article will also analyze historical events and incidents concerning the United States immigration and border security issues that are related to the Department of Homeland Security. Again, this essay will evaluate the effectiveness of the present DHS procedures and policies and their effects on the United States immigration and border security problems. And lastly, the article will propose a recommendation for the DHS based on the analysis of the immigration and border security issues. The paper will conclude by stating the significance of the United States Department of Homeland Security in regulating immigration and maintaining the United States border security. It will also recommend what ought to be done by the government of this country to increase the efficiency of DHS and to aid in checking the country's immigration and border security problems.

Keywords: Department of Homeland Security (DHS), immigration issues, border security problems, Citizenship and Immigration Services, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigation

Immigration and Border Issue


The U.S Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is a cabinet branch of the U.S federal government that was founded on 25th November 2002 by the then United States president, President George W Bush (Kahan, 2017). It is the youngest cabinet department in the United States that was established after the September 11th

terrorist attack in the United States (Dennis, 2014). It is the third biggest Cabinet department, after the Veterans Affairs and Defense departments. DHS was initially established to fight any form of terrorism in the United States, but in March 2003, the Department of Homeland Security absorbed the Neutralization Services and the Immigration and took the duties of these two agencies.  After incorporating these agencies, the Department of Homeland Affairs divided the services and enforcement responsibilities into two new agencies (Puente, 2017). These agencies were Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. And later, the Homeland Security Investigation was established after combining intelligence gathering units, and the investigative divisions. The primary role of this department was to secure and increase the security of the United States. It was established to protect the citizens and the inhabitants of the United States from threats that are connected or related to illegal immigration and terrorism. The fundamental duties of homeland security included the following: improving the U.S security and curbing terrorism, managing and securing the United States borders, administering and imposing the immigration laws, securing and safeguarding the cyberspace, and lastly, ensuring flexibility to tragedies (Kelly, 2014). The department of homeland security struggle to protect the United States from terrorism and other problems related to illegal immigration by increasing the security of this nation through securing its borders since terrorist find their way into the United States through illegal immigration. The Department of Homeland Security is also involved in protecting the USA sea, land, and air points of entry. The border security also regulates official travel and trade among individuals. And fight against illegal transactions related to terrorism. This department is also involved with the revision of the laws affiliated to immigration that aid in the identification and deportation of criminal aliens who possess a significant risk to the public safety. Lastly, the Department of Homeland Security is involved with providing cyberspace security to the computer systems of the United States government and to coordinate with state partners and the federal government during the occurrence of a natural disaster (Kelly, 2014).

Border security and immigration problems have impacted the primary roles of the DHS in various ways. The United States of America was colonized by Britain and being a former colony of Britain this nation has developed similar cultures like those of their colonial masters. This country is also popularly known due to its large number of inhabitants, in fact, the majority of the inhabitants of this country are immigrants. American immigrants have played significant roles in developing this nation for the last century. In the late 19th

century, renowned immigrants in the United States took part in the growth and development of various sectors of this nation which included the following: the music industry, national security, and in the entertainment industry. But despite the positive contribution of immigrants in the development of the United States, illegal immigration is also connected to various negativities which have increased national threats since the majority of these individuals illegally immigrating into the U.S have bad intentions where some of them are terrorists, criminals or drug traffickers. According to the 2016 FBI report on the national security of the U.S, it was evident that illegal immigration has become a significant security concern to this nation. Illegal immigration is connected to numerous disadvantages which include the following: it has led to the increase in drug trafficking and terrorism in the United States, it has led to the decrease of citizenship, loyalty and patriotism factors among the illegal immigrants since some of them have ties with their origin due to the advancement in technology. It has reintroduced some diseases in the United States which were eradicated decades ago, and this has increased the threats to human security in the U.S. Immigration have increased the expenditure of the United States government which is forced to subsidies the bilingual education among the immigrants hence increasing the burden to the taxpayers. And lastly, it has resulted in the increase in the prison's population which has been contributed by the increase in the immigrants' crimes hence increasing government expenses. The disadvantages mentioned above of illegal immigration have impacted the fundamental mission of the Department of Homeland Security which has been forced to formulate and implement new policies to curb the current emerging problems of illegal immigration.

On the issue of increased drug trafficking and terrorism in the United States, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) core missions have been affected in various ways. This department has begun to emphasize on the need and the efficiency of dealing with terrorism and drug issues at their roots since they are the primary cause of the increased rate of drug and illegal weapon transactions in the United States. And this is contrary to their previous core mission. The issue of decreasing citizenship, loyalty, and patriotism factors among illegal immigrants has affected the core mission of the Department of Homeland Security whereby this department has been involved in numerous campaigns and seminars of educating the inhabitants of the United States on the significance of these factors in the development and maintaining human security in this nation (Balunis " Hemphill, 2015). Immigration has also impacted the role of DHS whereby it has been engaged with checking and ensuring that the individuals who are migrating to the U.S are healthy and do not have a severe medical history. And this was aimed at minimizing the spread of new infections into the United States which might be reintroduced by some of the immigrants. Finally, the role of this department has been affected by the illegal immigration issues whereby the Department of Homeland Security has been involved in regulating and assessing the individuals to be issued with the visa cards. And also deporting both legal and illegal immigrants who have committed various criminal offenses back to their countries to avoid overcrowding the prisons.

The border security issue has also impacted the core mission of the Department of Homeland Security in various ways. The core function of DHS is to control and maintain the border security of the United States (Homeland security, 2016). And this is achieved through U.S. border patrol (USBP). The issue of border security became a primary focus of the United States government after the 9/11 terrorist attack. Before this attack of 9/11, immigration issues in the U.S. were controlled at the border through a strategy called "prevention through deterrence" (Lieberson, 2016). Also, there was an increment in the penalties imposed to the people emigrating in the United States which was a strategy of reducing and discouraging people from migrating in this country. After the incidence of 9/11, the government of the United States realized that the citizens and the inhabitants of the U.S were at a higher risk of terrorist attacks. And this was due to the issue of border insecurity and illegal immigration of criminals. And due to this, the core mission of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was significantly affected in numerous ways. There was an increment in the border security and immigration laws and policies which implied an increase in the duties and responsibilities of the DHS (Lieberson, 2016). This department was also a force to upgrade their surveillance cameras and the technology they were using at the borders to detect immigration of illegal immigrants (Lieberson, 2016). And lastly, there was also an increment in the individuals employed in this department to increase the number of patrol groups hence improving the efficiency of this department in the fight against illegal immigration and maintaining border security.

There exist numerous historical events and incidents that are connected to border security and immigration issues. A majority of the United States immigrates migrated in this country before the civil war, and most of them were from the western and northern parts of Europe. In the late 18th century, there was an increment in the number of U.S immigrants from European counties such as Italy, Poland, and Greece. Currently, the estimated number of illegal and legal immigrants in the U.S is around 36 million people (McAteer, 2015). The Bracero program is a historical example of an event that is related to the United States immigration and border security issues. It was designed by the U.S government to increase agricultural labor after the end of the Second World War. This program employed 5.6 million immigrants to work in the farming lands in the southern parts of the United States (McAteer, 2015). The bracero program stated that the immigrates were to return to their countries after the end of their contracts but unfortunately this did not apply to the majority of these immigrants since some continued to live in the United States illegally after the end of their contracts. Some also invited their family members and friends which further increased the population of the immigrants in the U.S. Through this program, numerous illegal immigrants such as criminals, terrorists, and drug traffickers found their way into the United States. Another historical event that led to the increase in the number of the United States illegal immigrants was the 1845 Irish economic disasters “Irish potato blight” (McAteer, 2015). And this led to many Irish citizens migrating into the U.S in search of employment and increased wages and salaries. But later after the September 9th

terrorist attacks, the U.S government made the laws concerning the border security and immigration more strict than before.

The primary function of the DHS is to minimize the cases of the United States illegal immigration and to improve the border security through border patrol. The first strategy on border security problem was established in 1994 (McAteer, 2015). But it was later updated after the 9/11 terrorist attack. In 2012, the current DHS strategy was developed (Weldon, 2016). The new policy was based on the prevention through deterrence or operational strategy (Weldon, 2016). The primary aim of this plan was to minimize the rate of illegal immigration and impose huge penalties to discourage people from migrating into the U.S. The national strategic plan was developed in 1994 to stop drug smuggling into the United States (McAteer, 2015). Later the national strategic plan reformed its strategy of arresting and jailing illegal immigrants by preventing their entry into the United States. These strategies aided in maintaining the border security and checking the population of immigrants immigrating into the United States illegally. These approaches also helped in the increment of the number of arrested illegal immigrants.

Even though the Department of Homeland Security has been effective in controlling and minimizing illegal immigration and maintaining border security, the issue of illegal immigration and border security has continued to worsen with time. The United States Department of Homeland Security should improve its effectiveness and efficiency through the employment of more personnel to check and investigate the individuals immigrating and those living in the United States illegally. This department should also create an extra unit to deal with issues related to minimizing crime among the border community, and deterring and detecting smugglers of humans and drugs. And this will help to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of this department. Lastly, this department should formulate new policies that are directly affiliated to the current immigration and border issues to reduce these problems. 


In conclusion, it's evident that border insecurity and illegal immigration in the United States has been a significant problem in this country for the past century. Till to date these issues has continued to affect the U.S despite the efforts of the Department of Homeland Security to curb this problem. Border insecurity and illegal immigration have increased criminal activities in the United States which includes the following: increase in drug and human smuggling, increase in criminal activities such as robbery and murder, and the increase in terrorist activities and attacks in the U.S. I will urge the citizens and the government of the United States to join hands in the fight against border insecurity and illegal immigration since these problems require cooperation between the government and the citizens for it to be resolved.



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Dennis, S. (2014). Automation to Support Risk Assessment and Management at DHS. Optical Solutions for Homeland and National Security, 4(1), 12-56.

Homeland security. (2016, May 11). Our Mission. Retrieved from

Kahan, J. (2017). “One DHS” Revisited: Can the Next Homeland Security Secretary Unite the Department? Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, 11(1), 1-24. doi:10.1515/jhsem-2013-0088

Kelly, W. R. (2014). Homeland Security, Homeland Defense, and Clarifying Northern Command's Maritime Security Role. The role of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security DHS, 16(8), 12-190.

Lieberson, S. (2016). Earlier Immigration to the United States: Historical Clues for Current Issues of Integration. Immigration and Integration in Post-Industrial Societies, 34(16), 117-205.

McAteer, T. (2015). The Department of Defense and Homeland Security. A Journal on the history of Homeland Security, 16(5), 12-167.

Puente, A. E. (2017). Letter to John F. Kelly, Secretary, U. S. Department of Homeland Security regarding immigration enforcement and security. PsycEXTRA Dataset. doi:10.1037/e504462017-001

Weldon, R. A. (2016). DHS Summary Report. The Department of Homeland Security, 4(2), 3-45.

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