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How Do You Secure an American Border?

Protecting our borders from the illegal movement of weapons, drugs, contraband, and people

How Do You Secure an American Border?

Building or installing physical barriers like a fence or a wall will be financially counter-productive for the United States, and it won’t be effective in stopping the flow of contraband over our borders. There are many other more meaningful ways these financial resources can be employed to improve border security. 

Why a Fence/Wall Will Be Ineffective

Smugglers already use other methods to bring contraband into the US. For these reasons, below is why even a six feet deep and 30 feet-high wall or fence won’t be effective.

Airborne Trafficking

Smugglers employ drone technology, catapults, and airplanes. Drones and catapults have limited cargo capacity. However, professionals have been known to smuggle drugs via airplanes by landing on remote airfields. 

Tunnel Trafficking

These tunnels don’t always run under existing barriers. They also connect to buildings near border posts from Mexico to the US. The longest tunnel ever discovered from Tijuana to San Diego was 0.5 miles long and was fitted with air vents, electricity, and rails. More than 10 of these types of tunnels have been discovered since 2006.

Seaborne Trafficking

Smuggling via the sea is another obvious and time-tested method. Trafficking along the US coastline will only intensify since the US Coast Guard’s budget was cut to make money available for building the land border barrier. The Coast Guard plays a crucial role in protecting our country from terrorists, attacks, and illegal fishing activities.

Ports of Entry

Our over 50 legal ports of entry into the US have to process millions of cars, trucks, and trains. Smugglers use sophisticated hidden compartments to hide their illicit cargo. To stop and check every vehicle or person’s luggage in detail is unrealistic since over 5 million crosses are made yearly. Traffickers also use the US mailing service.

Recommendations

Instead of investing in a very costly and ineffective physical land barrier, the US should adopt the following recommended measures to secure the American border:

  • Improve infrastructure to include state-of-the-art contraband detecting technologies at all of our legal ports of entry, including the US mailing service. 
  • Ensure the US Coast Guard gets adequate funding to do their jobs in protecting our coastline.
  • Employ anti-drone technologies along the US-Mexican border.
  • Provide US and Mexican Customs and Border Patrol officials with extensive training and ensure these officials do thorough vetting when recruited.
  • The US and Mexican governments collaborate to counteract trafficking and violent crimes through sharing intelligence.
  • Ensure all legal ports of entry locations in the US have comprehensive CCTV live feed and scanning technology.

Final Word

More advanced technology and cybersecurity automation will considerably reduce the risks at our borders. There are systems with multiple advanced scanning technologies that can capture, collate, organize, and analyze suspicious data without disrupting the flow of incoming border activity. 

State-of-the-art CCTV systems can capture images and run them against a database to detect suspicious number plates at border patrol locations. The US should instead invest in much-needed improvements than build a barrier.

Sources:

https://www.cbp.gov/about

https://www.dhs.gov/topics/border-security

https://internationalsecurityjournal.com/state-of-border-security-in-2022/

https://www.brookings.edu/testimonies/border-security-and-comprehensive-immigration-reform/

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