Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 12032166 (posted Apr. 9, 2014)"
In recent years, increasing amounts of money have been poured into the protection of the border region in the name of national security and immigration enforcement. Since the creation of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003, Customs and Border Patrol's (CBP) budget has nearly doubled from $6 billion in FY 2003 to $11.7 billion for FY 2012. The necessity of these escalating costs is questionable, especially when considering that no clear metrics exist to measure border security and when apprehensions at the border are at their lowest in 40 years.
2014 Immigration Reform
The current immigration reform debate provides an opportunity to identify clear and reasonable border security goals that move beyond strategies focused solely on increasing spending at the Southern border. An effective border security plan must be based on performance metrics and measurable standards of border safety that are both achievable and fiscally responsible. Moreover, in order for border security reform to be successful, it must be done as a part of a larger immigration reform effort that includes legalization of the undocumented and reforms to the legal immigration system.
Past immigration reform proposals have reflected a resource-driven approach that emphasizes increasing border agents, fencing, and technology or infrastructure over outputs. For example, the 2013 Senate bill, S.744, would increase Southern border spending by $47 billion, double the number of Border Patrol agents, and mandate the use of various technologies, including 18 drones, 15 Blackhawk helicopters, and 4,425 ground sensors, among many other things. By contrast,H.R. 1417, the Border Security Results Act, which passed unanimously out of the House Homeland Security Committee, took a different approach. The authors of the bill, committee chair McCaul (R-TX) and vice-chair Miller (R-MI), asserted that resource and funding levels for border security should not be determined only after a thorough assessment of the border situation and development of a strategy.
AILA Press Statements & Correspondence
AILA Report: “Border Security: Moving Beyond Past Benchmarks”
On January 30, 2013 AILA released their report, Border Security: Moving Beyond Past Benchmarks, that urges lawmakers to move beyond massive expenditure on resource buildup at the border. (AILA Doc. No. 13013051.) This report examines past immigration reform proposals, specifically the 2006, 2007, and 2010 Senate bills (S. 2611, S.1639, and S.3932), and evaluates the proposals in these four areas: operational control, border personnel, border infrastructure and technology, and detention.
Read the Washington Post’s article on the report.
Read the AILA Press Release.
Watch Greg Chen and Su Kim, authors of the report, discuss Border Security.