Border Security Issues And Challenges

The NYTimes has an interesting survey article on US / Mexico border security. Here are a handful of interesting patterns / issues relevant to security professionals:

  • Southern California is widely agreed to be very hard to cross illegally, noting "all say that the chances of reaching Southern California are remote, with odds of success at 1 in 10, or worse."
  • However, other areas are far more problematic, such as the "Rio Grande Valley, crossings by the dozen still occur regularly, with relative ease, despite noticeable increases in the Border Patrol’s capabilities."
  • Logistical limitations on fencing: "Along hundreds of miles of a twisting river border with farms and parks on its edge, such an approach would mean seizing private property, damaging the environment and spending billions."
  • Funneling helps but maybe not enough: "Border Patrol officials say that, even with the breaks, the barriers help by funneling illicit traffic into areas where crossers can be more easily caught. But residents say the system often fails."
  • Mobile cameras now desired: "The chief of the Rio Grande Valley sector of the Border Patrol, says he now wishes he could move the permanent cameras, which were set up east of McAllen in 2001, to busier areas."
  • Illegal immigration shifted away from areas with massive spending: "Congress set aside $2 billion to build border fences, the approach focused on static technology. San Diego was the model, with its three layers of fence and cameras atop poles 85 feet tall. But immigrants soon adapted and crossed elsewhere."
  • Deterrent effect by forcing costs to rise up: "The cost to be guided across has gone up significantly over the past decade, according to surveys and Border Patrol officials, who say this shows they are making the journey more difficult."
  • Decoys and delays to counter security measures: "Smugglers have also become masters of decoys and delays. Ms. Ochoa said she had seen smaller cars pulled over, followed by large trucks that slip by while the authorities are tied up."