Total southwestern border operational control not a 'practical goal,' say Heritage Foundation authors

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A southwestern border over which the Border Patrol has complete operational control "is more an abstract concept than a practical goal," say two Heritage Foundation staffers in a Feb. 20 article. Ultimately, they add, effective border security requires cooperation of the Mexican government, and they urge development of a master plan for U.S.-Mexican relations that coordinates response to shared security threats.

Customs and Border Protection defined "operational control" as the ability to conduct continuous detection and interdiction of illegal crossers with high probability of apprehension until it stopped using that metric in 2010.

"It is difficult to envision a system of airport-like security or 100 percent 'operational control' of 2,000 miles of often rugged and inhospitable terrain," say Ray Walser, a senior policy analyst, and Jessica Zuckerman, a research associate.

As a result, effective border security "requires a reliable security partner in Mexico," they say. The two countries already cooperate in border security, but Walser and Zuckerman say that cooperation could be deepened through measures like more intelligence sharing and the placement of U.S. trainers in Mexico. They also call for a plan that coordinates law enforcement, judicial and military assets and for exploring additional agreements, protocols and parallel laws that would "draw the two governments closer together."

For more:
- read Walser and Zuckerman's article, "U.S.-Mexico Border: Tighter Border Security Requires Mexico's Cooperation"

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