Research Paper

One of the world’s longest unprotected boarders is found in the Northern part of the United States. Moreover, the southern part of the country has a loosely protected boarder. There has been a critical need to control the country’s boarders due to increased rates of drug trafficking. In response to this, the American government has laid great emphasis on reinforcing security at specific checkpoints located in the Canadian and Mexican boarders.

This move has resulted to reduction in the number of immigrants crossing the protected points. It is however evident that the inherent enforcement are not sufficient enough to stop the number of immigrants entering the country through more dangerous and desolate sections of the border. Amendment or reform of the security sector and immigration policy is the best possible means to increase border security and reduce drug trafficking in the United States.


The basis of security sector reform is that state agencies and institutions have the obligation of providing effective and efficient security in a manner that promotes liberal democracy. It is however challenging to judge the effectiveness and efficiency of border management in the globalized market. The increase in the economic gap between developed and developing countries, transnational crime, illegal migration and terrorism extremely compromise the potentiality of both strong and weak states to oversee and control their borders.

A similar case is seen in the United States, which has been constantly facing issues relating to border security (Givens, 2009). Drug trafficking is a worldwide problem that affects both developing and developed countries. The negative impact associated with drug trafficking organized crime, drug abuse, violence and corruption. Through there is a universal reach in drug trafficking, the drug trade burdens associated with it are dissimilar in different countries. The effects of drug trafficking are more pronounced in countries that experience governance issues and resultant state instability.

It is evident that creation of accountable and effective security forces via security sector reform is the main intervention ensure of drug trafficking and increase in border insecurity (Penner, 2007). In view of this, it can be presumed that there is a relationship between security sector reform, organized crime and drugs. Security sector reform can further be viewed in terms of a foreign arm and part of the policy of domestic drug enforcement. There are various changes that should be made to the security sector in order to increase border security and reduce instances of drug trafficking.

First of all, level of coordination should be increased. Improving the coordination level would ensure that there is a unified effort from both the state and local security in relation to criminal investigations revolving around drug trafficking cases (The University of California, 2007). According to Givens (2009), the other change that might prove beneficial is timely conveying of information. By conveying the appropriate information in time, agencies can effectively locate and target organizations that are involved in drug trafficking. All the movements across the border should undergo a thorough inspection. The methods used for inspection should not lead to paralyzing of travel and business activities. Instead, technologies that are less intrusive should be used to detect and curb illegal drug trade.

Surveillance devices, fences, lights and access roads can be employed in an attempt to stop the movement of drugs between entry ports. Through security sector reforms, appropriate staffing investments would be made to make sure that a sufficient number of inspectors, investigators, investigators and agents are well-equipped and trained. There should be appropriate staffing resources in the entire system of border security in order to reduce the rate of drug trafficking initiated by illegal immigrants (Givens, 2009).

Security sector reform efforts would enable the integration of technology into security systems. Technology is one of the fundamental components in attempts to curb drug trafficking across the United States borders as well as through commercial and passenger transportation systems. Technology can not only facilitate legal trading activities, but it can also aid in preventing and stopping drug trafficking. Through computerized targeting system, databases can be analyzed to determine whether a vehicle, individual or a container has drugs. Technology also incorporates non-intrusive devices for inspecting and detecting drugs.

The density of fuel tanks, tires, panels and cargo can be measured using high energy interrogation systems while inside of trucks, cars or containers can be inspected by the use of X-ray systems. Through technology, drug trafficking in unoccupied spaces can also be prevented. A good example of technological intervention that has proved to be effective is the “Immigration and Naturalization Service Integrated Surveillance Information System/Remote Video Surveillance (ISIS/RVS) project.” The boarder patrol effectiveness between entry ports along the Southwestern border has been substantially increased by through the mentioned project (Warner, 2010).

Security reforms would result to attrition process that would reduce the number of illegal immigrants crossing the United States border. Consistent enforcement of the current laws is a concept that would effect the reduction of the number of illegal immigrants. It is presumed that the United States could steadily reduce the illegal population over time through attrition rather than allowing it to gradually grow. The attrition plan necessitates enforcement measures and policy operations to prevent settling of novel immigrants and increase the rate of deportations. Moreover, policy changes would force people living illegally in the United States to be deported (The University of California, 2007).

A security sector initiative that could prove successful in preventing drug trafficking and illegal immigration is the Secure Border Initiative that was implemented in November, year 2005. The aim of the initiative was to achieve the control of the United States borders as well as reducing the rate of illegal immigration. According to the plan, there is the need for an increased level of interior enforcement of the immigration laws governing the country. Moreover, the plan laws out a robust base for security improvement along the United States border through the addition of more agents for increasing physical barriers are entry points and conducting patrols.

The plan further lays emphasis on incorporating ethnology into security sector system through the use of sensors and the remote surveillance camera systems (Penner, 2007).It is therefore clear that execution of attrition concept in combination with border security enhancement would lead to significant improvement in the illegal; immigration situation and substantially reduce the instances of drug trafficking. These two interventions can only be achieved through appropriate security sector changes and reforms. Hence, this illustrates that the drug trafficking and border security issues can only be effectively addressed by security sector reform interventions (The University of California, 2007).

The security sector reform should focus on the root cause of drug trafficking, which is illegal immigration. From the perspective of reforms to reduce the rate of illegal immigration, the number of permanent and work visas issued annually should be increased. Moreover, a path to permanent residence for immigrants should be provided. Streamlining of the process of legal immigration is the other reform that would aid in preventing drug trafficking. Security sector reforms should also aim at reducing the cost of legal migration. Consequently, this would reduce the rate of illegal immigration and promote legal migration process (Warner, 2010).

The main reason for increased immigration is the forces of capitalism. This entails the increased poverty for the Mexican population in addition to increased demand for labor in America. It would be futile to continue spending a lot of money on reinforcing border security without tackling with the major causes of illegal immigration, which is an ineffective immigration policy (Warner, 2010). The main reason for the increasing rise in drug trafficking cases is because of the porous nature of immigration policy. The immigration policy needs to be updated so that it could clearly reflect the demand and supply conditions.

The reforms should allow legalization of undocumented workers. This would no only lead to increased immigration benefits but it would also reduce the level of illegal immigration and drug trafficking. Border security alone is not sufficient to solve the cases of illegal immigration and drug trafficking. Instead, it is necessary to incorporate a comprehensive immigration reform that would ensure that there is a decreased level of illegal immigration (Givens, 2009). Amendment or reform of the security sector and immigration policy is the best possible means to increase border security and reduce drug trafficking in the United States.


Givens, T. E. (2009). Immigration policy and security; U.S., European, and Commonwealth perspectives. Taylor & Francis

Hearing in impacts of border security and immigration on Ways and Means programs. DIANE Publishing, pg 2.

Penner, R. G. (2007). International perspectives on social security reform. The Urban Institute

The University of California (2007). U. S. News & World Report, Volume 142, Issues 16-23. U.S. News Pub. Corp.

Warner, J. (2010). U.S. Border Security; A Reference Handbook. ABC-CLIO


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