"Enhancing border security has emerged as a significant policy issue after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Prior to the terrorist attacks, the priorities for border security policy were beginning to shift from immigration-related issues to facilitating legitimate cross-border commerce. Although the 107th Congress enacted several pieces of legislation that dealt with enhancing immigration-related border security, legislation to strengthen the nation's borders had been enacted as early as the 104th Congress. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA; P.L. 104-208) contained several immigration-related border security provisions that addressed illegal immigration and the smuggling of humans into the United States through the southwest border. IIRIRA also contained a provision that required the electronic tracking of every alien arriving in and departing from the United States. The deadline for implementing the electronic tracking system, commonly referred to as the entry and exit data system, was moved back in subsequent legislation. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, however, prompted Congress to speed up implementation of the entry and exit data system as well as enact new provisions aimed at enhancing border security. This report provides background information on the main immigration-related border security issues that have been raised as a result of the terrorist attacks. It describes enacted legislation in the 107th Congress as well as in previous Congresses that focus on immigration-related border security issues. The report also poses possible immigration-related border security issues the 108th Congress may consider. This report will be updated to reflect any additional related legislation in the 108th Congress, as well as implementation issues."
CRS Report for Congress, RL31727