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    Proposal:

    The federal government has a responsibility for defense of the country and the security of its borders. The legislative branch of the federal government sets the defense program, the border security program, the immigration program, the asylum program, and the funding to support them. Each state must cooperate with these federal programs, including cooperating with other states in support of these federal programs.

    Discussion:

    The federal government is responsible for the effectiveness of these programs. If they are ineffective, and if the problem becomes large enough, the problems of a border state will affect all states. Individual states do not have the authority to reject federally enacted laws or to create their own border security policies for the federation. However, if the federal border security program is ineffective, a state should attempt to remedy the situation through the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. An executive remedy would be for the state governor to declare an emergency and use the state’s military forces for border security. A legislative remedy would be for the state’s representatives to the federal legislature to propose laws to improve the border security program and to repay the state for expenses incurred in filling in border security gaps until the federal government addresses them. The state’s representatives could vote against laws proposed by any other state representatives until its border security issues are addressed. A judicial remedy would be to sue the federal government for failing to adequately implement a border security program and thus failing to adequately protect the federation and specifically the state, seeking an order for the executive branch to reallocate funds to address the problem. These are merely examples.

    Security is an activity and we say we feel secure or have security when the security activity is being conducted effectively. An effective security program cannot prevent all attempts at unlawful entry, but it can deter people from trying and it can delay unlawful entry in various ways to help border security forces find and stop people who are trying to enter unlawfully. Since the government doesn’t have infinite resources, it’s probable and maybe likely that some people will find a way. However, the border security forces must keep a journal of encounters and report how many attempts were detected and stopped each day. If border security forces know about an unlawful entry, such as someone that was detected but evaded capture, or if evidence of unlawful entry is found sometime after it already happened, these must be reported also. However, it must be acknowledged that border security forces cannot report unlawful entry of which they have no knowledge at all. Whenever law enforcement officials find an illegal immigrant, in addition to deporting the illegal immigrant from the country, the illegal immigrant should be questioned on how they entered unlawfully in order to pass the information (along with any indication of the person’s credibility) to border security to improve the border security program.

    The effectiveness of the border security program can be measured in a variety of ways, for example the percentage of unlawful entry incidents to successful arrests. However, one should not attempt to set a specific threshold in advance. The difficulty of the job depends on the number of attempts, the level of violence with each attempt, the number of border security forces and their training and equipment, the policies in place, and more. The federal legislature should set specific targets such as effectiveness is less than 10%, less than 1%, or less than 0.1% failures. The federal legislature could also set zero failures as a target. However, the purpose of a target is that if it’s missed then some changes must happen, so legislature should be ready to enact laws that strengthen the border security program even more when necessary.

    An effective border security program involves at least the following components:

    Deter. The federal government must advertise clear rules about lawful entry, clear consequences for unlawful entry to the country, and directions for people to seek legal entry. The advertisements must be shared with the world, especially neighboring countries, and at border crossings, and on signs posted along the border.

    Delay. The border should be equipped with obstacles to delay unlawful entry into the country. These obstacles may be natural or constructed. A border wall is in this category, as are rivers, moats, ditches, canyons, and mountains. A small country may find it easier to construct obstacles along its border, whereas a large country may find it very expensive. These can be built and improved over time.

    Detect. The border security agency must patrol the border to find people entering unlawfully. The border security agency should use available technology in its monitoring program. For example, satellites, surveillance aircraft including airplanes and drones, surveillance watercraft including boats and submarines, surveillance vehicles. These can be operated by border security agents either in person or remotely (drones). If remote operation is used, there must also be an in-person component. As much as possible, the border area should be cleared of debris and vegetation at or around the obstacles to make it easier to detect unlawful entry.

    Deny. The border security agency must deny entry to all people attempting to enter unlawfully. However, if a person claims asylum the border security agency must transport that person and their dependents to an asylum arrival center to be assessed. Having an asylum program means there’s an opportunity for people to try and abuse it. See right to asylum for further discussion.

    Defend. If any person entering unlawfully attempting to evade or attack the border security agents, they must act to defend the country. Border security agents should give unlawful entrants at least one chance to surrender peacefully. However, their first priority is security so the agents should be authorized to use of force if there’s any indication that the unlawful entrants are going to pose a danger to the agents or the country. This is a very general discussion — there may be rules of engagement, de-escalation training, combat training, and other training and policies involved to help agents achieve the best outcomes.

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