NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


April 29, 2005

The Administration and Congress need to agree on a bipartisan approach to border security that gives precedence to the efforts that will make the nation significantly safer and more prosperous while protecting individual freedoms, says James Jay Carafano (Heritage Foundation).

Five steps should top the "to do" list, says Carafano.

  • The United States needs a single border services agency: The visa-issuing activities of the Department of State and the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agencies in the Department of Homeland Security should be merged into a single border services agency under the DHS.
  • Monitoring and servicing legal entry into the United States should be the highest priority: Improving the infrastructure and programs that oversee and support lawful means of trade and travel should be funded first.
  • Internal enforcement and international initiatives should take precedence over interdiction at the border: Focusing on deporting people already ordered removed from the country is a good starting point.
  • Border security must become a system of systems: Rather than trying to control the entire border, the United States requires a network of assets that direct the right capabilities to the right places at the right times to provide appropriate responses.
  • The federal government should engage state and local governments and the private sector while respecting the principles of federalism and a free-market economy: It should strengthen state and local law enforcement to conduct security and criminal-related immigration investigations.

Protecting the nation against terrorists, transnational crime, and environmental and economic threats neither begins nor ends at the border. Addressing these dangers effectively requires investing money, time and effort to get the biggest bang for our security buck, says Carafano.

Source: James Jay Carafano, "Border Security: Setting the Right Federal Priorities," Heritage Foundation, Executive Memorandum No. 964, March 18, 2005.


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