1) Is current immigration policy seriously treated as a national security issue? How was it treated prior to 9/11?
The immigration policy subsequent to the events of September 11, 2001 have not been treated with the seriousness of it being a national security issue as it was treated prior to the terrorist attacks which took place on that day. Since 2001, attribution of illegal immigration as a part of the larger “’war on terror’ is a socially constructed problem, based on suspicion, rather than actual events or terrorist incidents that have historically occurred in the United States of America” (Hauptman, 2013, p. 18). The primary difference between immigration policy before and after 9/11 has been the attempt to construct all illegal immigrants as elements of a national security threat to our nation rather than as simply the latest wave of those wishing to escape the dead end future potential inside their own borders.

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2) What does open, but closed borders mean?
This term is highly suggestive of the phrase “open market, closed border” meaning that the border remains much wider open to the import of goods and services of a country than it does to the workers responsible for making those goods and providing those services. Open but closed borders is another indication that greater worth is placed on monetary value than human value; best exemplified by the effort put into tracking down a bank robber than someone who murders three people inside a convenience store.

3) What does Customs border authority entail?
Customs authority includes the right to search and seize possessions within a set guidelines of limitations. Customs officers are also endowed with the right to interrogate and arrest suspects both for offenses directly related to immigration and for offenses not related to immigration laws (“Authority of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agents: An Overview”)

4) What is the functional equivalent of the border?
In those areas where all the tiniest fractional of traffic is international visitors arriving from foreign countries, the virtual border that exists as a natural part of the process of entering the country becomes the functional equivalent of the border. The most obvious example would be the customs check inside airports that are hubs through which flights originating on foreign soil become the transition point for those passengers to gain entry into the country (Rozensweig, 1985).

5) What are border searches under the fourth amendment?
The fourth amendment applies variously according to the location of the search. For instance, the amendment allows for the search of personal effects in the possession of those arriving at ports of entry. The rights of search and seizure is limited to a “reasonable distance” between ports of entry such as within 100 miles from an external boundary of the U.S. but inside a dwelling that is only 25 miles from the nearest border (“Authority of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agents: An Overview”)

  • Authority of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agents: An Overview. (n.d.). Retrieved November 5, 2015, from http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/authority-us-customs-and-border-protection-agents-overview
  • Hauptman, S. (2013). The Criminalization of Immigration: The Post 9/11 Moral Panic. El Paso, TX: LFB Scholarly.
  • Rosenzweig, P. S.. (1985). Functional Equivalents of the Border, Sovereignty, and the Fourth Amendment. The University of Chicago Law Review, 52(4), 1119–1145. http://doi.org/10.2307/1599526