"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 issues related to facilitating legitimate cross-border commerce. Several bills have been introduced in the 108th Congress (S. 539/H.R. 1096 and S. 6) that would authorize funding for increased personnel and technological improvements. S. 539/H.R. 1096 would require ongoing training for immigration personnel on how to use the new technology, an update of a port infrastructure assessment study, and demonstration projects on new technology at ports of entry, among other things. Another piece of legislation (H.R. 853) would establish a northern border coordinator within the Directorate of Border and Transportation Security in the Department of Homeland Security, among other things. The northern border coordinator would serve as a liaison to the Canadian government on border security-related issues. Although the 107th Congress enacted several pieces of legislation that dealt with enhancing immigration-related border security, legislation to strengthen the nations 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."
CRS Report for Congress, RL31727
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