Border and Coastal Security
This paper explores four questions on the border and coastal security professionals. The first part describes the challenges facing the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency as they secure the borders. Under this title, the author briefly examines the meaning of ‘functional equivalent to a border’ and gives examples. Also, the writer elucidates the purpose of the Fourth Amendment as it pertains to border searches and illustrates why seizure statistics justify the mission of border security. In the second section, the author discusses the concept of ‘open markets and closed borders’ in explaining the challenges of facilitating legal border crossings while maintaining a secure border. The third part captures the economic impact of terrorism on U.S. global markets since 9/11. Lastly, the author describes the effects of GATT and NAFTA on cross-border trade in America.
Essay Question #1: Challenges Facing US Custom and Border Protection Agents
The United States Customs and Borders Protection Agency experience numerous challenges emanating from its broad mandate. The multiagency department is commissioned to oversee the Coast Guard, Domestic Nuclear detection office, Customs, and Border Protection, Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement among other agencies coordinated by the U.S Department of Homeland Security. In executing its mandate to safeguard the U.S. borders against terrorist-associated threats, transnational crime, non-legitimate asylum-seekers, illegal immigration, and human and goods trafficking, the organization faces a set of challenges (Wermuth & Riley, 2016). They include constant attempts to intercept criminals attempting to smuggle contraband merchandise, ranging from drugs to ammunitions to slaves to weapons. The agency also experiences problems of enforcing search and seizure laws on border crossers. The strategic challenges to the U.S. border security are mammoth and hold the potential to affect a significant segment of its economy.
Borders are vital regions along the geographic boundaries of legal jurisdictions or political entities that define territorial boundaries, which exist on land, air, and sea. The alternative checkpoints to actual borders were decided in Almeida-Sanchez v United States (1973). Pursuant to this case, the Supreme Court established that international airports and road stations found near the border are functional equivalents of a border. Examples include the 16 CPB clearance facilities in Canada located at Montreal, Vancouver, Winnipeg, and Victoria airports. In addition, Shannon and Dublin Airports serve as preclearance ports in Europe and the Aruba preclearance amenity is situated in Miami, Florida. Borders and their functional equivalents separate different jurisdictions and let each state control its internal affairs.
The constitutionality of warrantless searches and seizures at the border is captured under the Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights. The law explains the kinds of searches and seizures that are permissible and those that are unallowable to government agents. According to the legislation, police are generally required to get a warrant from a judge before searching, seizing, or conducting arrests of suspected criminals (Wermuth & Riley, 2016). However, law enforcement agents working on behalf of U.S. Customs and Border Protection are exempted from the mandatory warrant acquisition provision. Instead, the exception empowers them to search travelers’ vehicles, luggage, and personal items at border checkpoints at all times without suspicion of criminal wrongdoing (Wermuth & Riley, 2016). The fourth Amendment exception endorses mandatory border searches without probable cause to maintain national security.
Seizure statistics from the last two years corroborate government opinion that there is a crisis at the border. The Fourth Amendment does not guarantee absolute protection from all kinds of searches and seizures except those considered unreasonable under the law. Therefore, exceptions placed on legitimate government interests are intended to promote public safety. Seizure data illustrate an influx of illegal immigrants and drugs in the U.S., which also raises the specter of terrorist invasion through the porous Southern border. According to 2018 DEA drug threat assessment report, the period between 2017 and the fall of 2018 has witnessed dramatic spike seizures of illegal drugs, including methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl. In 2019, U.S. incumbent President Donald Trump cited that 17,000 felons were apprehended at the border in the fiscal year 2018 (Hiemstra, 2019). On authorized immigration, over 1.6 million people were flagged trying to cross the border without permission since Oct. 1, 2017. These statistics show a tangible matrix to justify the mission of border security and the need to expand budgets to increase resources allotted to border security.
Essay Question #2: Challenges facilitating Legal Border Crossings
The open and hardened border paradoxes characterize the challenges facilitating legal border crossings while maintaining secure borders. In the hardened border paradox, the widespread accord across the political spectrum is to develop physical enhancements in the form of walls, fence lines, towers, and patrols, to harden the border and stave the influx of undocumented migrants. Immigration hardliners argue that border security is a decisive factor in the safety of Americans, yet it is still difficult to keep the U.S. frontiers safe from illegal intrusion (Laine, 2012). Furthermore, migrants have devised new ways to outwit the tireless and vigilant Border Patrol agent, evade routine warrantless border inspection, and get into the country through alternative cross-points other than the actual border. Therefore, hardening the boundaries will stem all the vices that occur within the border. However, hardening the policies produces the opposite effect of more crime, misery, and death in stark contrast to the open border paradox.
The open border paradox exerts a weakened border effect. In this situation, the rules are flexed such that borders are made freer for entry by foreign merchants, immigrants, and expatriates. The dynamics of globalization make open borders imperative to remove constraints for interaction (Laine, 2012). The challenge is that such measures enable reprehensible entities to go through the borders and execute their will unfettered. Nonetheless, both paradoxes can be overcome by accepting to compromise reasonable physical barriers. Consequently, the system should facilitate safe migration though open policies that permit legal trade and movement across the border to boost profitability.
The open and hardened border paradoxes are pertinent to the formulation of immigration policy and the establishment of bilateral relationships. On the one hand, America’s economic prosperity is heavily dependent on an open continental system characterized by the free movement of people and merchandise. On the other hand, the country is exposed to catastrophic terrorist onslaughts that preoccupy government discourses. However, a viable poise needs to be established between individual differences and interests to balance access and control. Imposing hardliner policies such as erecting the Mexico-U.S. border is exaggerated, considering the overwhelming implications of such missteps on diplomatic ties (Laine, 2012). The U.S. policymakers presume that there exists an automatic tradeoff between free movement and rigorous border controls. Nevertheless, this conception is mislaid since the degree of border openness does not correlate with crime. Border control is an essential element of the bilateral relationship between the U.S. and its trade partners to encourage foreign direct investment.
Essay Question #3: Economic Impact of Terrorism on U.S. Global Markets
The U.S borders remained unrestrained until 2001 when the threat of terrorism by non-state actors intensified. The economic impact of terrorism on U.S. and global markets since 9/11 has been significant on both short-term and long-term scales. Before the 9/11, approximately $100 billion was set aside for rescue fund. However, that amount increased to $3.3 trillion in an attempt to preclude a similar event in the future (Yule, 2008). Although the expenditures incurred to prevent potential loss of lives are justified, it has run the economy down by a deficit nearing 20 trillion dollars. The breakdown includes damages and funding of future war costs, among others. Overall, counter-terrorism is one of the major causes of government spending.
In global markets, the immediate effect of the 9/11 attack was experienced following the shockwaves on global stock markets. It resulted in a sharp plunge in the price of stocks and insurance losses estimated at $40 billion (Yule, 2008). Today, countries are facing increased threats of Jihadist attacks following increased mitigation measures taken by western civilizations to counter terrorism. Also, potential catastrophic attacks can ensue against western allies in an attempt by autocratic Islamic regimes to resist democratization. The 9/11 attack is the biggest insured events in the history of the global stock market.
Essay Question #4: Impact of GATT and NAFTA on Cross Border Trade
Trade agreements are typified by interdependencies and spillover effects that must be jointly addressed to circumvent negative externalities at the borders. In most cases, alliances are built from intrastate tensions and cleavages, which attract regional actors to seek friendships from their neighbors. As a result, individual states realize the significance of cooperation to advance regional development. The common history, values, industrial atmosphere, and universal awareness of a common problem motivated North American nations to establish trade agreements that would facilitate regional development. Generally, the impact of NAFTA and GATT free trade agreements on North America has been a double-edged sword.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) imperative was an open border policy that came into effect in January 1994 and gathered momentum before the 9/11 bombing. It was intended to establish an essential balance between supranational regimes (Cooper, 2014). The grand idea was to create a gigantic marketplace where members could engage in free transportation of goods and services. NAFTA influenced growth of Maquiladora plants and the U.S. Mexico trade. Maquiladora employment increased by 86 percent following NAFTA implementation; furthermore, the U.S. exports to and imports from Mexico boomed by 93 percent and 190 percent respectively since the launch of NAFTA (Cooper, 2014). The enactment of NAFTA produced notable benefits for Mexico and the U.S., including phenomenal growth in international trade.
In addition, export production in Mexico increased from 1700 plans in 1990 to 3 800 in 2001. Besides, rapid urbanization occurred in U.S-Mexico border during the last part of the 20th century. Additionally, population growth occurred dramatically in border cities from 11 9422 to 3.2 million in less than two decades (Cooper, 2014). However, the fateful incident of September 11, 2001, accentuated the imperativeness of controlling the Southwest border. Since the deadly bombing, efforts to curb illegal immigration have intensified to combat terrorist threat against the U.S. Currently; cross-border facilitation has been overshadowed by security issues, which remains America’s longstanding agenda. Also, there exist complex issues in North American integration. As a result, NAFTA’s course has not fully materialized.
On the other hand, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) is a treaty proposed by the U.S. to advance specific relations due to territorial nearness between North American nations. The primary intention was to eliminate barriers to trade, such as quotas and tariffs. The barriers were considered harmful because they contributed 65 percent of recession during the Great Depression (Cooper, 2014). GATT had several positive impacts, such as the reinstatement of economic stability after the Great Depression and World War II. Also, GATT set a foundation for the formulation of a more robust WTO agreement. It fostered peace across the world by deterring war through trade alliances founded on peace. It proved that free trade works and inspired other contracts among them the European Union, which prevented war between member states (Maenin, 2010). As a result, the world became a peaceful place for trade and prosperity.
However, GATT has many shortcomings that motivated its amendment and subsequent replacement by the WTO agreement. Foremost, Low tariffs killed local industries and led to unemployment. Secondly, the U.S. exports accrued lower market value in the international bazaar due to reduced tariffs on agriculture, textile, and clothing industries by the Nixon administration in 1973. Thirdly, GATT supported foreign direct investment at the expense of international expansion of locally established enterprises (Cooper, 2014). Consequently, the agreement destabilized traditional economies that depended on agriculture. The numerous disincentives imposed by GATT influenced its ultimate removal.
Both NAFTA and GATT are international free trade agreements intended to enhance international trade between North American nations. They both fostered economic growth in the U.S. and its allies by eliminating trade and investment barriers. In addition, the agreements promoted job creation and increased exports and imports to support trade expansion. The enactment of both treaties saw an increased variety of better quality services and goods sold at lower prices. The treaties intensified competition in local and foreign markets, which increased value, choice, and employment (Cooper, 2014). However, they created loopholes in the security system, which were exploited by terrorist to perpetuate bombings. As a result, the U.S. became more vigilant about potential catastrophic breach facilitated by free movement across the border. The government is utilizing the loopholes used by nefarious terrorists to minimize security deficiencies by inspecting cargo at the borders. NAFTA and GATT have changed the security dynamics of the U.S. since the 9/11 bombing.
Contrastingly, NAFTA was an agreement between three countries while GATT brought together 23 countries. Therefore, NAFTA fostered free movement in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico while GATT enabled transcontinental movement. Besides, NAFTA came into effect in January 1948 and ended in January 1995 after the introduction of the more comprehensive World Trade Organization while NAFTA was enacted in 1994, one year prior to the culmination of GATT whose main agenda was to promote non-discriminatory trade by facilitating protection through tariffs and creating a stable basis for business (Cooper, 2014). In contrast, NAFTA was enacted to expand U.S. exports and ensure consumers get quality products at the best prices. NAFTA and GATT differed in the scope of their impacts in that NAFTA motivated the U.S. to curb regional terrorism while GATT inspired the U.S. to cushion itself against international criminal activities.
By answering the vexing questions posed on the border and coastal security professionals, the author established that the United States Customs and Borders Protection Agency experiences numerous challenges emanating from its broad mandate of thwarting terrorist-associated threats, transnational crime, non-legitimate asylum-seekers, illegal immigration, and human and goods trafficking. Noteworthy, the execution of NAFTA and GATT created loopholes for the development of these challenges before 2001. However, they also motivated the imposition of hardliner policies such as erecting the Mexico-U.S. border to curb cross-border crimes. The Fourth Amendment exclusion and seizure statistics justify the mission of border security and the need to expand budgets to intensify border security.
Cooper, W. H. (2014). Free trade agreements: Impact on US trade and implications for US trade
Hiemstra, N. (2019). Pushing the US-Mexico border south: United States’ immigration policing
throughout the Americas. International Journal of Migration and Border Studies, 5(1-2), 44-63.
Laine, J. (2012). Border paradox: Striking a balance between access and control in asymmetrical
border settings. Eurasia Border Review, 3(1), 51-79.
Marenin, O. (2010). Challenges for integrated border management in the European Union.
Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF).
Wermuth, M. A. & Riley. J. (2016). The Strategic Challenge of Border Security. JCMS: The
Yule, K. (2008). CRS Report for Congress. Congressional Research Service.
Rretrived from https://fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/RL33659.pdf
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