But, while ensuring that those who enter American borders have proper papers is part of the activities that take place as visitors enter the country, the primary mission of US Border Security is to ensure that terrorists and terrorist weapons do not enter the country.
There are five primary tools that US Border Security uses to protect our borders.
- Office of Air and Marine – The Office of Air and Marine is the world’s largest maritime and aviation law enforcement agency. They use air and marine forces to detect and prevent terrorism, unlawful movement of people and contraband from entering the US through the air or across the water. They employ 1200 federal agents, operate 290 aircraft and over 250 marine vessels.
- Border Patrol – Border Patrol is the uniformed law enforcement division under Homeland Security. They are responsible, primarily, for preventing illegal immigration.
- Port Security – Port Security officers are located at US ports of entry on the water. They are responsible for inspection of immigrants seeking entry into the US, agricultural products coming into the US and cargo examinations.
- Tactical Infrastructure – This part of US Border Security creates and maintains physical border structures, like fences, as well as roads, lighting and other requirements for securing our borders.
- Technology Innovation and Acquisition – Though physical human presence at every border is critical to keeping borders safe and preventing illegal immigration, the use of technology has become increasingly beneficial. This office supports documentation and operations for all of US Border Security, as well as researching, developing and deploying emerging technologies for the continued advancement of the capabilities of border security.
Keeping the US borders secure is a tremendous task. The country has about 7000 miles of land border with Canada and Mexico. The border between the US and Mexico is the most frequently crossed international border in the world, with about 350,000,000 crossings per year. In addition, millions cross the US border with Canada each year. Entry to the country via water offers a different kind of challenge.
With the exception of the US border with Mexico, borders in the United States are very secure. The US Mexico border continues to be a hot bed of illegal immigration and drug smuggling, though it is one of the most heavily patrolled and guarded borders in the world. It is estimated that 10,000 illegal aliens cross the US-Mexico border every day. Only about 1/3 of these are caught. This represents three million illegal immigrants into the US at the Mexican border every year.
Since September 11, 2001, great strides have been made to make US borders more secure, in order to protect Americans from terrorism. These measures have, in large part, been successful in preventing terrorism.
Guest post by Phyllis T. Zerkle. Phyllis T. Zerkle has an expansive interest on the topic of homeland security and enjoys posting blogs on how students can find job sites and other career resources that are helpful after completing an online homeland security degree.