While the framework at the border for dealing with crossings has not substantively changed in decades, the recent changes in the makeup of migrant flows at the border require a new framework for addressing "border security." Given the large number of arrivals of children and families seeking asylum, which is legal under U.S. law, it is necessary to address the arrivals separately from the needs of securing the border from threats such as smuggling, contraband, or migrants seeking to evade capture. Specifically, the United States needs to set up separate systems for receiving and processing asylum seekers and vulnerable populations at the border and apprehending and processing other immigrants trying to make illegal entries.
The following outlines recommendations for a new framework that recognizes a fundamental shift in migrant demographics at the border and the different components needed for dealing with each activity. Together, they provide a comprehensive approach to securing the border against crime, drugs, and terrorism, while addressing unauthorized migration and meeting legal obligations to receive and decide asylum claims.