Saturday, November 06, 2010

Border "Insecurity"

An important aspect of national security is border security. Promoting the strength and security of our national borders would seem to be a given; yet, every year an estimated 700,000 people enter the United States illegally, most often through our southern border.

Nowadays, we take our borders for granted. We all sat through elementary school lectures, listening to ours teachers talk about the United States while they pointed out its outline (not forgetting Hawaii and Alaska) on a map. And being the most powerful, richest country in the world, how could it be that our borders are so permeable?

Perhaps it is precisely our ignorant confidence in the integrity of our territory, or perhaps it is the uncertainty we face over the immigration issue that has delayed action on the border issue. Whatever the reason, the longer we continue to underestimate the importance of secure borders, the less secure we will be as a nation.

Borders are defining features of nationhood. Without them, a nation cannot be recognized because of its lack of territorial identity. Without recognition, in today’s globalized world, a nation cannot truly function; nor can it defend its international rights if it is internationally disputed.

Without strong borders, the United States is opening itself up to invasion, not in the traditional sense of one country invading another, but in the sense that lax border security allows “undesirables” into our country. An “undesirable” would be anyone wishing the country harm or intending to manipulate the opportunity found in America destructively (not to mention illegally). An example of what I consider an “undesirable” is a drug runner or a human trafficker, etc. The whole point of immigration policies are to monitor and control who is let in and out of the United States, and to keep “undesirables” out.

Awareness and control over who enters U.S. territory is crucial mainly because of threats the United States faces from terrorism and because of its role as an international power. Terrorists entering the country illegally, through say Mexico, are called “special interest aliens.” Their presence in the U.S. should more than interest the government; it should make it nervous. The fact that a terrorist faction could potentially enter the United Stated completely under the radar is frightening and dangerous. And not only is the fact that it can logistically be done scary, but the impression the whole issue gives is also threatening. At this point in the game, the last thing the United States needs is to seem vulnerable. This would encourage more terrorists to give the trek from Mexico to Arizona a try.

Border “insecurity” is more of a problem than many realize. It not only makes us seem lax and careless, but it also weakens us by allowing in those who wish to harm us directly and those who indirectly harm us because of their illegal activities.


Anonymous said...

"Undesirable" is a very loaded term. Who are most of the people crossing the border? Are they all drug lords and human traffickers? Would you consider a father crossing the border illegally to find work and support his family an "undesirable"? What about a single mom trying to give her children a better future? You try to make the immigration issue into a black and white problem, but I would suggest it's a bit messier.

Anonymous said...

"Undesirables" is supposed to be a loaded term, but it doesn't refer to your average illegal alien, such as moms or dads crossing the borders to help their children. Also, this person wasn't focusing on the issue of immigration. He/she was focusing on the fact that illegal border crossing is a national security problem. The border issue is black and white. We should be able to secure our borders, period. I don't see how an argument to the contrary would make any sense. But, this is where the immigration issue can be brought up. As you mentioned, most of the people crossing the border are normal people, not the "undesirables." Though, they are still breaking the law. So, since you are concerned with them, your issue would be over immigration reform, not border security.