Border Control Methods and Strategies

Border control methods are a set of measures that a country implements to monitor and regulate its borders. It is country’s physical demonstration of international sovereignty. A border in international or domestic principle is an imaginary line that runs along the border line on the surface of the earth. A border can also be an imaginary line along a state border on the surface of the earth. This paper will explore the various method utilized by different governments in controlling and preserving the integrity of the borders. It will evaluate the effectives of these methods in preventing illegal immigration of people across borders and smuggling of weapons of mass destruction. The paper will also focus on the present international, risk management and domestic legal principles that underpin border control. Finally, this paper will look at the existing interagency cooperation, other enforcement initiative and sharing of intelligence information among different countries.

Border control methods used by a country depend on the effectiveness of law enforcing of such methods or strategies.In some countries, controls are established so as to target travelers of a certain origin. Some control border strategies focus on the luggage of a travelling person. On territories like Schengen, area border control is often practically invisible and is often executed only by means of random car or train pursuits in the surrounding area. In Australia, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) is one of the governmental agencies that is mandated to establish the identity of persons applying for visa to Australia or for other migration-related services. It also verifies people’s identity at the border. National Security strategic plan of Australia is based on several pillars. First is countering espionage, terrorism, and any foreign interference, preserving Australian border integrity, and strengthening the resilience of Australian people, institutions, and infrastructure. Additionally, border control efforts in Australia aim to promote a secure international environment that is favorable for the advancing interests of Australia.

Use of Military

Australia can effectively manage and control its borders by using its military forces. The military will prevent entry of national enemies through physical and oceanic boundaries and this will protect the community from intrusion of enemies. Use of the military at the border will also prevent illegal immigration to Australia and any criminal activity. Australia is the sixth largest country in the world. It has approximately 60, 000 kilometers of mainland coastline. This poses a challenge to control its borders. Effective use of military at shorelines can thus be an effective method that Australia can use to protect its community, prevent unauthorized entry of immigrants, and illegal movement of goods. In countries like the United States, military has been used at the Mexican-US border, and it was effective in stopping illegal movement of Mexicans, who were migrating to the US to seek employment. Due to the extensiveness of land in Australia, effectiveness of controlling the border can be achieved by committing more resources to the military.

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Bringing In Border Agents from Non-Border States

Having non-participant border agents can be an effective method of controlling entry of illegal immigrants, smuggling of goods, and infiltration of terrorist. In most countries, government agents who control borders are natural citizens. These agents progress in ranks. If such agents become corrupt, they can cover smuggling of illegal goods into the country. Therefore, Australian government can effectively control its borders by having agents from non-border states Such as agents from New Zealand or Sydney.

Use of Remote Surveillance System and Satellite Surveillance

Australia is a big country, and stationing border control agents can be expensive. Using remote video surveillance systems can help detect any intrusion. These surveillance video systems can be placed strategically, and thus a rapid response can be ensured. When video surveillance system detects any irregularity at the border, the rapid response agency responds to the threat. This ensures security of national communities. For example, in the United States, the Lockheed Martin Company launched wireless sensor mesh network system that has capability to detect intrusion at the border.

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Ground Sensors

Border control agency in Australia also uses unattended ground sensors. These sensors detect motions along the borders. They provide more intelligent and precise information regarding any entry of an intruder into Australian territories than agents can. They are placed strategically by field agents.They are placed at distinct locations that are hard to place border check points. These are some of the ways that Australian government can use in an effort to ensure security of the border, protect citizens or community, and prevent any unlawful or unauthorized movement of people or goods.

Contemporary Issues That Impact on the Security and Integrity of National Borders

An increased connectedness to global markets and growing accessibility of air and sea have increased pressure on Australian borders. This is as a result of the development of submarines and aircrafts in Australia, which in its turn was a result of improved technology. While this connectedness brings opportunities, it also increases threats that compromise border integrity of Australian borders. The military, intelligence services, immigration quarantine, customs, and diplomatic personnel work cooperatively to counter any emerging problems.

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Australia has moved to intelligence led risk-based approach to assess all passengers and cargo entering the country. This approach has enabled border agencies to identify, assess, and conduct timely intervention during any illegal immigration-related or terrorist acts. This has resulted in the increased seizure of illegal items such as weapons of mass destruction and firearms. For example, border control agents managed to seize over 1000 firearms that were smuggled into Australia. The presence of border control agents has discouraged criminals with intentions of smuggling weapons such as atomic bombs. However, Australia is being challenged by irregular maritime migration that is being facilitated by smuggling. Responding to people smuggling and irregular maritime migration has remained a significant problem for the government.

Human trafficking and slavery are contemporary issues related to the national security and integrity of national borders. Even countries like Australia and the United States that have advanced strict border control mechanisms face this contemporary issue. Every year is marked by thousands of people being trafficked across various states' borders. For instance, in America, most of illegal or trafficked people enter through the southern border. Trafficking of people is enhanced by the presence of corrupt border control agents. Human trafficking undermines integrity of a country’s borders in that even world terrorists can find their way into a country. Additionally, undocumented immigrants pose a threat to national security of any country. This is because their information is not recorded by the government. If such persons get involved in criminal activity, apprehending them will be difficult. However, governments across the world can avoid such instances. They can impose strict penalties for anybody who is involved in people trafficking. Governments can also allocate and commit more resources to border protection agencies.

Espionage and foreign interference is another contemporary issue that impacts the security and integrity of national border of Australia. Although not always visible, espionage and foreign interference are key to national security and border integrity of Australia. Australia’s standing in the world makes it attractive target. Country's responsibility in ensuring border security and maintaining integrity of borders involves balancing many competing interests: domestic and external, private and public, and non-financial and financial aspects. In order to help Australian government strike a balance between these interests, the government observes several principles. The first principle stipulates that national security should address all significant risks to Australians. This involves both physical and sea boundaries that may act as loop holes that can undermine national security. This will enable people of Australia to live a confident life that will enhance their advancement. Another principle is that controlling borders in an attempt to maintain security should be carried out accountably. This means that country’s efforts of controlling its borders should not compromise people's health, for example, using unsuitable screening technology that can negatively affect person’s health. The third principle is that the code of subsidiary ought to be functional to state security. The fourth principle is that Australian government should maintain independent control of its own security. Australia is a sovereign country and it should cater for the costs involved in maintaining its boundaries.

Risk Management And Intelligence -Interagency Co-Operative Arrangements Australia, risk management approach to border control and national security is intended to achieve various objectives. First is minimizing the occurrence or scale of any significant disruption or harm. Integrating protective and preventive measures, builds contingent capacity and improves national resilience, allows responding quickly to adverse events, stabilizing disruptions, and returning to normal functioning efficiently and quickly.

To a large extent, the United Nations has brought global understanding and non-partisan to the progression of international law. This has resulted in meetings being held and signing of legal principles that underpin border control, risk management, intelligence-interagency co-operative arrangements for border control, and other enforcement initiatives that enhance security and integrity of country's border. Both international and domestic principles aim at protecting state’s border, organize and implement such protection. For these principles to be operative, definition of terms of reference becomes indispensable. Therefore, security measures contained in international and domestic principles represent a unit of actions, measures, and powers that can be undertaken along the state border and in-between border crossing. Australian border control strategies prioritize partnership, not just between government agencies, but also between governments.

Australia-America Agreement

Australia has entered into agreements with the United States to foster border control. The Australia-United States alliance remains to be one of the critical security relationships between these two countries. It has formed the basis for inter-agency cooperation since the World War II ended. After World War II nations around the world realized that forming interagency agreement was crucial in preventing the occurrence of another war. America is a central part of world economic security and growth. This has provided critical underpinning to the rules of border control. The two countries have shared intelligence information in combating international crime such as the threat posed by international terrorist groups such as Al-Qaida. Australian national agencies for the past few years have managed to share information with both local and international partners to enhance border security.

Europol and Australia

In the year 2007, Australian parliament ratified a cooperation agreement with Europol so as to enhance cooperation in border control and promote international security by combating crime. This agreement facilitates exchange of operational information and other intelligence information. According to this agreement, Australia was to share confidential information regarding border control and other crime-related information.


From the above discussion, it can be noted that controlling country’s borders is not a simple task that an individual country can achieve. It needs to be a combined effort of different countries and states. Enhancing the integrity of a country’s border by the use of the above methods will require inter-state and inter-agency cooperation. Controlling a country’s border not only helps prevent illegal immigration, but it can also help in curbing terrorism. In controlling the integrity borders, countries should ensure that they do this in respect to the laid principles. This will ensure that there is no conflict between states or countries. Border control methods and strategies should not target certain race of people because a threat can come from any race.



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