Report Shows Increasing Border Security Makes Illegal Smuggling More Expensive

As the U.S government increases security measures along the border to Mexico, smuggling goods and people across is becoming more expensive.

The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Immigration Statistics recently completed a study that found that for every 10 percent increase in combined border enforcement employee hours, smuggling costs rise between 2.5 to 3.8 percent.

This is good news for the DHS, which seeks to shut down the illegal movement of people and goods across the U.S. borders. Higher costs equate to more risk for smugglers, which means that they may attempt to make fewer illegal shipments across the border. It may also decrease the gross amount of goods and people that smugglers can attempt to ship across the border simply owing to the costs involved.

“A rise in smuggling costs could indicate that enforcement measures are making it more difficult and costly for smugglers to successfully get illegal migrants across the border,” the report said.

Smugglers may see these increased costs for some time. The U.S. government has increased border security spending substantially in recent years. Discretionary spending for border security was $6.3 billion in 2007. That number jumped to $7.9 billion in 2008, $9.8 billion in 2009 and $10.1 billion in 2010. The Obama administration cut funding for border security in the 2011 budget, down to $9.8 billion. This is still a 55 percent increase over the 2007 budget.

The degree to which funding increases actually help border security has been an issue of considerable debate. The study is a boon for politicians and policymakers who are proponents of increased border security funding. It is the first time that researchers have been able to document that increased security spending leads to decreased illegal activities and smuggling.

The report also suggests that border employee increases on the border with Mexico from 2006 to 2008 accounted for all of the increased smuggling costs, while increased enforcement accounted for about half of the increased smuggling costs between 2004 and 2008.

Stewart Rabinowitz is President of Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. Mr. Rabinowitz is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. To contact a Dallas immigration lawyer or Dallas immigration attorney visit