How Geography Affects US Border Security – Literature review Example
How Geography Affects US Border Security How Geography Affects US Border Security Introduction Heyman and Ackleson (2008) cite that security has remained a key issue for the people of the United States and the government at large since 9/11, following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Fouberg, Murphy and Blij (2009) note that prior to the September 11, 2000 attacks, the U.S. border patrols focused mainly on human smuggling and drug trafficking with less attention being given to asylum seekers, legal and illegal immigrants that enter the U.S. though its borders. Nevertheless, the Office of the National Drug Policy (1999) reports that, since the attack, the federal government of the United States has had to rethink and establish stringent rules and policies aimed at making the U.S. borders secure. This paper will discuss the level to which geography affects the U.S. border security.
America is geographically found in North America and shares physical borders with Mexico and Canada, (Haddal, 2010). At the same time, the U.S. also shares reasonable water boundaries with a number of countries such as the United Kingdom, the Republic of Dominica, Samoa, Bahamas, Russia, and Northern Mariana (Coleman, 2007). In this regard, it becomes evident that geography affects America’s border security by making it easier to cross thereby allowing for illegal crossing into the country, which poses security threats. At the same time, geography can also affect the U.S. border security by making certain borders difficult to cross as has been evident after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, notes Passel (2005).
For example, Ordonez (2008) noted that the U.S. has been grappling with the issue of illegal immigrants in the country for several years now. This is because the illegal immigrants have been finding it easier to cross the U.S. through its borders particularly from Mexico and Canada while others find their way into the country via the Sea through the U.S. ports (United States General Accounting Office, 1994). Data released by the Office of Justice Programs (2005) showed that about 11 million illegal immigrants crossed into the United States in 2008. Of all the illegal immigrants that crossed into the United States, 56% were reported to come from Mexico, 22% from Latin America, 13% from Asia, while the remainder from Canada, Europe and Africa (Kyl, 2004). The illegal immigration occurs due to geographical proximity between the U.S. and these countries.
Hitz and Weiss (2004) argue that the illegal immigrants that enter the U.S. through the borders pose a serious security threat to the United States. This is because some of them smuggle guns and other weapons that threaten the security of the country according to Bill (1999). It is for these reasons that the federal government has enacted strict laws regarding immigration by tightening its border and visa acquisition rules for those intending to come into the U.S. according to Flynn (2002). The border entry rules have become tighter following the 9/11. As such, the U.S. government through its Border Patrol officers and the Homeland Security personnel ensures that nobody is allowed into the country illegally with the aim of ensuring that the U.S. remains secure from the threat of attacks as was witnessed in 9/11, 2001 according to Wayne (2004).
Geography has also made it easy for drug traffickers to enter into the U.S. easily according to the Office of Homeland Security (2002). This is despite the fact that there have always been the Border Patrol officers charged with the responsibility of preventing narcotics, smugglers, aliens, and other contrabands from finding entry into the United States according to Fernandez (2013). Drug traffickers have mainly been finding their way into the U.S. from the U.S. border with Mexico (Dunn, 2006). Others also use the sea as their point of entry into the country as noted by Menjivar (2012). However, report also indicate that some drug cartels from the U.S. work with the Border Patrol officers thereby allowing drugs illegal drugs such as marijuana, narcotic and heroine among others into the country (Bonner, 2004). Aguilar (2005) notes that the U.S. federal government through the Homeland Security has tighten border patrol rules that make it hard from drug traffickers and cartels to find their way into the country through the borders.
The freedom of movement is enshrined in the U.S. constitution, granting people the right to travel. Nevertheless, the right must have a limit in order to ensure that the borders remain secure. Therefore, to balance the right travel and secure border, the government must ensure that there are effective laws that guides the limit within which the right can be accessed. In addition, the government through the department of immigration and Homeland Security must ensure that only authorized people are allowed access through the U.S. borders into the country as this will prevent people who can put the country’s security at risk from entering the U.S.
Aguilar, D. (2005). United States Border Patrol Chief, testimony before the House Committee on Appropriations and Subcommittee on Homeland Security, July 12, Retrieved from http://usinfo.state.gov/gi/Archive/2005/Jul/14-680142.html.
Bill, V. (1999). “Five Years of Operation Gatekeeper: U.S. Border Crackdown Deaths Souring,” International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI), June 25. Retrieved from http://www.wsws.org/articles/1999/jun1999/ins-j25.shtml.↵.
Bonner, R.C. (2004). National Border Patrol Strategy: Message from the Commissioner. Washington DC: United States Customs and Border Protection, Office of Border Patrol and the Office of Policy and Planning.
Coleman, M. (2007). Immigration geopolitics beyond the Mexico–US border. Antipode
Dunn, T. J. (2006). The Militarization of the U.S.-Mexico Border, 1978-1992: Low-Intensity Conflict Doctrine Comes Home. Austin: CMAS Books, University of Texas at Austin.
Fernandez, M. (2013). In Drug Fight on Texas Border, Some Officers Play Both Sides. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/03/us/texas-officers-accused-of-helping-drug-smugglers.html?_r=0.
Flynn, S. (2002). America the Vulnerable. Foreign Affairs 81(1):60-75.
Fouberg, E.H., Murphy, A.B., & Blij, D. (2009). Human geography: people, place, and culture. New Jersey, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Haddal, C.C. (2010). People Crossing Borders: An Analysis of U.S. Border Protection Policies. Congressional Research Services.
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Kyl, J. (2004). “Arizona: a ‘Terrorist Corridor?’” Guest Opinion, The Arizona Conservative, August 27, Retrieved from http://www.azconservative.org/Kyl_TerrorismCorridor.htm.↵.
Menjivar, V. (2012). Illegal immigration: Crossing the Border a Deadly Game of Life and Death. Retrieved from Http://Global.Christianpost.Com/News/Illegal-Immigration-Crossing-The-Border-A-Deadly-Game-Of-Life-And-Death-79040/.
Office of Homeland Security (2002). National Strategy for Homeland Security. Washington DC: Government Printing Office.
Passel, J (2005). “Unauthorized Migrants: Numbers and Characteristics,” Pew Hispanic Center, June 14, Retrieved from http://pewhispanic.org/reports/report.php?ReportID=46↵.
Office of Justice Programs (2005). Mapping Crime: Understanding Hot Spots. Washington DC: United States Department of Justice. Retrieved from http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij.↵.
Ordonez, K. (2008). Securing the United States-Mexico Border: An On-Going Dilemma. Proceedings of the 2008 Center for Homeland Defense and Security Annual Conference. Retrieved from https://www.hsaj.org/?special:fullarticle=0.2.5.
Office of the National Drug Policy. (1999). Shielding U.S. Borders from the Drug Threat. Retrieved from https://www.ncjrs.gov/ondcppubs/publications/policy/99ndcs/iv-f.html.
United States General Accounting Office (1994). Border Control: Revised Strategy is Showing Positive Results, Report to the Chairman, Subcommittee on Information, Justice, Transportation and Agriculture, Committee on Government Operations, House of Representatives, Washington DC.
Wayne C. (2004). “Controlling ‘Unwanted’ Immigration: Lessons from the United States, 1993 – 2004.” San Diego, CA: University of California Center for Comparative Immigration Studies.