Washington, DC – Today the Bipartisan Policy Center released a new policy framework for effective border security and migration management, which accurately reflects the structural shifts in migration flows to the U.S.-Mexico border over the past decade. The framework, Redefining Border Security, focuses on the different components needed to separate and expedite processing of asylum-seeking arrivals from other security activities focused on threats posed by criminals, drugs, and terrorism.
Since the turn of the century, efforts to merge immigration enforcement at the border with national security threats have resulted in a punitive border security infrastructure and process that treat all migrants as criminals and fails to address new migration trends.
“The current system works for no one and is hamstringing our personnel from being effective in protecting the border or effectively and humanely managing migration,” said Theresa Cardinal Brown, BPC managing director of immigration and cross-border policy. “Congress needs to restructure the way our agencies manage and protect the border, so we stop lurching from ‘crisis’ to ‘crisis’.”
By redefining border security to encompass both migration management and responding to crime, drugs, contraband, and terrorism, the protocols, personnel, and infrastructure can be prioritized and divided to appropriately deal with each.
The framework breaks down border security into three key areas:
- Migration Management
- Addressing Crime, Drugs, Contraband, and Terrorism
- Long Term Regional Investments
These recommendations are of particular importance as the Biden administration and Congress look to craft a much-needed overhaul of the U.S. border security strategy and asylum processing at the border. BPC applauded the Biden administration’s early action to address the high volume of unaccompanied child arrivals, but argues a more comprehensive strategy is needed.
“We have seen a number of bipartisan efforts over the past few years to tackle short-term border security needs, but the efforts have fallen short,” said Laura Hall, managing director of BPC Action. “BPC has put forward this comprehensive framework to aid Congress in beginning this important conversation anew and moving towards implementing meaningful reforms.”
Read the report.