The September 11 terrorist attacks left Americans made them feel scared and unsafe. The attacks had a devastating effect on the country’s tourism and economy; lots of people died, some people lost their livelihoods, while someone lost their friends and relatives. The Department of Homeland Security coordinates and directs all efforts aimed at securing the United States of America from terrorism activities. The federal government has put in place measures to help the United States to avoid the terrorist attacks in the future as well as stop the flow of illegal immigrants. The measures include investing in high-tech border monitoring equipment, erecting perimeter walls along the borders, increasing patrols, and prosecution of illegal immigrants. More so, the government continues to allocate a considerable amount of money to the Department of Homeland Security (Latham, 2003).
Border security strategies after the 9/11 attacks involved the three aspects of control, namely, border interdiction, border screening, and interior enforcement. The federal government, through the Department of Homeland Security, increased efforts to reduce the illegal flow of immigrants into the United States. Although the intended objective of interdiction was to keep off immigrants from the country, many immigrants still cross the border and flow into America. An innovation, US-VISIT, is the tool used for screening against terrorism. The department of homeland security deployed the device in all airports and land entry points to detect and identify terrorists and any threats to homeland security (Latham, 2003).
However, accusations still exist over the inefficiencies about the security of the borders. Both the politicians and civil organizations accuse the government of only discussing the issue instead of making any efforts towards its realization as regards to safeguarding the borders. These organizations cite the continued illegal crossing of immigrants and the continued presence of drug traffickers in the United States. More so, even though a lot of money has gone into securing the United States’ borders, for instance, the southwestern border has taken over a hundred billion dollars, the involved department does not intercept these immigrants before they cross the border. The topic has grown to be an emotive debate over the entire country, which gives political capital to politicians. Civil organizations attest to the fact that arrests only target specific groups of immigrants mainly from “perceived terrorist countries.”
Still, there are a lot of fears and alarm over border security. As the government directs more money and resources towards border security initiatives, civil organizations are raising their voices over the need for better and well-refined policies towards enhancing border security. The argument is that the current line of thinking and efforts towards securing the border lack direction or strategy and continuously keep on missing the point. Further, the problem of border security should be addressed together with that of drug trafficking. What is more, the government should also put effort into reforming the immigration laws. The weakness in the current law is that it ends up clogging the justice system, whereas miserably failing to achieve the desired results. The ultimate call, thus, is for a more efficient and cost-effective border policy (Latham, 2003).
The absolute lack of direction in the efforts aimed at ensuring border policy results in a misguided war against “innocent” immigrants and drug trafficking. The focus should be more on intelligence gathering than “physically blocking immigrants from America” (Latham, 2003). It must be noted that it is the failure of the United States’ intelligence systems that led to the 9/11 attacks. The government must assure the security to all the citizens once they have crossed the borders of the country, as well as use the available resources modestly.
Latham, R. (2003). Bombs and Bandwidth: The Emerging Relationship Between Information Technology and Security. New York: Manas Publications.