AILA Doc No. 12032166 | Dated December 19, 2013
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.
Over the last four years a regional humanitarian crisis in the Northern Triangle of Central America has resulted in an escalation in the movement of unaccompanied alien children and families toward the U.S. southern border. Although the United States is the largest country in the region, with the most developed asylum and humanitarian protection regime, this humanitarian crisis is affecting the entire Central American region.
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.
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.
Cite as AILA Doc. No. 12032166.