Whenit comes to the issue of border patrol, it is the incentive and thedesire of every country to come up with measures meant to safeguardthe border from illegal immigrants. In the recent years, somecountries have faced a great terror threat due to the porous natureof their borders. Others have faced the threat of illegal immigrantswho infiltrate into their country with ill intentions. For decades,the United States federal government has come up and rolled outborder security strategies that have been aimed at countering illegalcross border activity. This has had both negative and positiveeffects on the country as a whole. While there has been alleviationof inundation of illegal immigration to certain geographic areas bysome of the strategies that have been implemented, the increasedborder patrol in these areas have left other areas more vulnerable tothis issue. The increased rates of crimes, increased rates ofapprehension, discarded debris, and growing public scrutiny in areasconsidered less secure gives us a clear evidence that the issue ofborder security is an economic, social, and national security issue(Ordonez, 2008).
The9/11 attack on the U.S world trade centre came at a time when theUnited States border patrol had laid out some security efforts alongthe international border. This was one case that revealed that theissue of border patrol needs to be taken very seriously with all thestakeholders being actively involved in all the areas concerned. Fromthe occurrence of this event, there has been a need to relook andrearrange the system border security due to the constant flow ofunauthorized immigrants and increased mobility and destructivepotential of modern terrorism. The extent of the problem is criticalconsidering the Bush administration and the Department of Homelandsecurity have not been able to eradicate this issue. The problem isseen to worsen everyday, with the Arizona-Sonora border being themost affected (Ordonez, 2008).
Theborder relations between the U.S and Canada has changed significantlysince the 9/11 attack. It has been shown by several scholars that theU.S-Canada border had been very transparent before the attack. Themarket forces had been greatly influenced by internationalization ofthe economy. Thus the two states were greatly risking free trade.However, this would be soon changed by the signing of the NorthAmerica Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This agreement made the statesslowly loose their capacity to have effective regulation within thenational boundaries. It is argued by some scholars that the NAFTA ledto the creation of a world without borders. The economies of Canadaand the United States are more integrated and there has beenimprovement of two way trade to more than double its initial state.The trade between Canada and U.S thrived to a very great level thatit surpassed the trade between U.S and any other state or country.This reveals the great interdependence that is there between theAmerican and the Canadian trade. The 9/11 attack emphasized the needof a more tight border security and surveillance. This led to thehardening of the U.S-Canada border. Though this attack never affectedgreatly the trade between the two, there were several agreements thathave been signed and they link Canada and U.S. these agreements havebeen to ensure that the border patrol issue is well taken care of andavoid the threats of terrorism and other border threats. Canada andthe U.S have signed laws that establish goals for both countries. theintention of these agreements have been to install more security onthe flow of people, goods, infrastructures, and to increasecoordination at all levels of the government and information sharing.The progressive integration of the law enforcement agencies at allthe government levels has an effect of increasing the effectivenessof strategies to combat criminal activities. The testing of theIntegrated Border Enforcement Team in 1996 in the Vancouver-Seattleborder proved to be successful. The incentives of this team wereintroduced to develop the U.S-Canada border strategies (ProQuest,2014).
Whenlooking at the issue of border patrol, it is important to understandthe threat that faces our borders so as to come up with veryeffective ways of safeguarding them. This is because for one to havean efficient operation there is a need to understand all the problemsthat need to be tackled. In real sense, the purpose of border controlis not for the apprehension of the illegal immigrants who arecrossing the border. The scope of the problem is greater. The pastthreats that the customs and the border officials were focused onincluded issues of trade and immigration, protecting agriculture andeconomic interests from pests and diseases, and processing people,cargo, and vehicles. However, today there is the great threat ofterrorism and the threat of smuggling. There is migration of gangsacross the borders to the cities, trafficking of drugs and humanbeings. With tougher border laws and increased border patrol there isa rise in the price of illegal smuggling. This danger is more eminentin the southern border where the people who want to enter the countryillegally use smugglers. The rise in the smuggling cost emphasizesthe great problem that has arisen with the enforcement measures aimedat curbing illegal immigration. The lesson posed by this incentive isthat the prohibition of a high demanded commodity only leads to amore organized crime. A good example can be seen from the increasedviolence in the Northern Mexico as a result of demand for illegaldrugs. The drug lords need to keep their businesses running despitethese prohibitory issues. Thus, they use all the means possible tosmuggle the drugs into the country (Alden, 2012 Tussing, 2014).
Thus,in dealing with the issue the government needs to come up withincentives that give a broader look at the problem rather than thenormal thought issues. Secure and well managed borders need toprotect the United States both from the threats that come from abroadand at the same time expedite the safe flow of lawful travel andcommerce. The immigration strategies of the country continually hurtsthe country because of the poorly targeted enforcement measuresdemoralizes the foreign students, keeps out skilled immigrants, driveaway tourists, and cause the foreigner investors to look forwelcoming markets. The country tourist market does not revealimprovements despite improvement in other major countries. Theproblem can be viewed in the implementation of the immigrant laws.The government of the United States has made the visa acquisitionprocess very difficult, expensive, and time consuming for both thetourist and other travelers. This has led to discouragement of thepotential investors to enter into the country. This has left thegovernment at a problem of low economic growth. It is therefore veryimportant to look at the issue of border patrol at all sides becauseof the two sided nature of the outcomes (Alden, 2012).
TheUnited States hart-Rudman commission came up with a recommendationthat the executive branch should establish a national homelandssecurity that encompassed the Customs service, the border patrol, andthe united states coast guard into a synergetic environment in orderto patrol the U.S borders and control the flow of goods and peoplethrough the hundreds of the ports of entry. This new organizationwould control the borders fully to prevent the illegal immigrationand the security breaches. Though the threat along the Northernborder is less publicized, it is the cause of concern. The greatproblem is clearly brought out by the arrest that was made in 1988 ofthree members of the Syrian terrorist group that is linked to the AlQaeda who was in the process of entering America with explosives.Also, the members of the terrorist cell that executed their terroristattacks on the World Trade Centre in 1993 had entered the U.S fromCanada, and were planning to use Canada as the possible escape route.Again in 1999, Ahmed Ressam was arrested as he tried to enter the U.Swith materials used to make bombs and plans for the millennium bombplot against the Los Angeles International Airport. He was termed asa person who capitalized on liberal Canadian immigration and asylumpolicies to enjoy safe haven, raise funds, arrange logisticalsupport, and plan terrorist attacks (Alden, 2012).
Theabove example depicts just how dangerous the borders can be to thesecurity of a country. The failure of immigration laws on countrieshaving border agreements can dispose a country to security threatsdue to the open issues of border crossing. Thus, every country needsto come up with their own initiative that is aimed at protecting andsecuring their own border. The porousness of the border exposes acountry to threats. Thus, the United States as a country has come upwith very strict border laws to prevent these issues. Across theNorthern border the U.S government assigned 11,000 agents in the year2006 to watch and protects it. There was a plan to increase thenumber to over 18,000 by the end of the year 2008.
Whileappreciating the need of the border security, it would be incompleteto file a report without considering the outcomes of combined impactsof shifts in immigration policies and increased homeland security. Agreat effect has been observed on the United States-Mexico borderregions that have become degraded in the environmentally protectedareas. The activities that have caused this effect are the immigrantand smuggler traffic combined with the corresponding influx of theborder patrol agents, vehicles, fences, wall construction and thehigh tech security systems. There has been blames on the Mexican sidefor dumping garbage and human waste on the borders. On the otherhand, the blame goes to the U.S border patrol for the construction ofroads and other security infrastructures on the fragile desertlandscape. Despite the idea of who really commits the act, there is aclear indication that border patrol has negative effects on theenvironment (Meierotto, 2014). As this law on borders has been rolledout there has been a concern in the rise in the number of immigrantswho have been dying. Some of the causes of the deaths are suffocationas they tried to swim across. The problem with getting the actualnumber of the dead people is due to the fact that the Border patrolonly counts the bodies that are found across the narrow strip of theborder. Thus many suffocation deaths are not accounted for in thetotal number of people who die on the border. The operation need tobe done for the benefit of all the countries involved. Thus theborder patrol needs to be more effective in their work and inprotecting the life of the immigrants (Bonner, 2014). The borderpatrol departments as any other department are facing challenges intheir jobs. One of the problems facing them is the issue ofinadequate staffing. The Northern border and the southern border arevery extensive and considering the attempts of smuggling illegalgoods and people plus the threat of the new terror attacks. Thus,there is a need to add to the current number of border patrolofficers to make sure that they are efficient and effective in theirwork. The Northern border covers an area of 3,987 miles and it mannedby about 1,031 agents. This means that there is one agent for everyfour miles making the work of patrolling challenging. Thisunderstaffing is also experienced by the support personnel as well.This forces the agents to complete tasks that are outside theircritical duties of defending the border. Another great problem facingthem is insufficient technology. With the increased technology usedby the smugglers and terrorists there is a need for advancedtechnology that will reduce the need for Border Patrol agents. Thereis need to incorporate seismic, magnetic and thermal sensors with theaim of detecting movement and heat sources. These sensors willidentify foot traffic, vehicles, animals or anything that is nearthem. They also face the problems of low morale and attrition rates.When a person feels that the salary they get is small, they losemorale and thus will not function effectively in their jobs (Garza,2005).
Theissue of border patrol has been an issue of importance in manycountries including the United States. This is because of the dangersassociated with weak border patrols that leave holes for criminalactivities to access. Some of the illegal activities carried acrossthe borders include smuggling of illegal goods and drugs, humantrafficking, entry by illegal immigrants and access of a country byterrorists who aim at attacking the country. This therefore createsthe need of a very effective and active border patrol system toprotect the country from these problems. America has the Northernborder and the Southern border all which poses a great threat tosecurity.
Foreffective operation, the security agents need to be well staffed atall times. They should also be provided with the appropriatetechnological tools so as to detect the entry of illegal people. Theyalso need to be well paid to boost their morale. The government needsto invest on this sector if there has to be effective border control.
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Garza,V. (2005). Vulnerabilitiesof the National Border Security Strategy on the U.S. Border Patrol.Retrieved on 22ndDecember 2014 from http://create.usc.edu/research/50792.pdf
Meierotto,L.M. (2014). The Blame Game on the Border: Perceptions ofEnvironmental Degradation on the United States-Mexico Border. HumanOrganization, 71(1),11-21
OrdonezK. (2008). Securingthe United States-Mexico Border: An On-Going Dilemma.Retrieved on 22ndDecember 2014 from http://www.hsaj.org/?special:fullarticle=0.2.5
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