Paper Sample on Importance of Border Protection

Published: 2024-01-01
Paper Sample on Importance of Border Protection
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  United States Army National security
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1876 words
16 min read


The main role of the Customs and Border Protection is to safeguard the American borders. This it does by closely monitoring not only people, but ant materials that enter the country through its borders. CBP is also tasked with enabling and ensuring legitimacy of trade and travel, and thus helping to enhance the country’s economic competitiveness on the global front. Within its jurisdiction is also a maritime border that is 95,000 miles long (Kovalyov & Brus, 2020). In addition to this, the CBP is also taxed with taking care of any issues to do with immigration as well as collecting import duty. Although there are many departments within the Customs and Border Protection, this paper will center its research on the administrative department, focusing on its importance to the role and success of the CBP in performing its functions.

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Literature Review

Before getting into the importance of administrative support in enabling the CBP perform its functions, it is first importance to have a complete understanding of the institution and why its presence is beneficial or important to the country. A report by Jones, et al (2013) discusses this issue in great detail. In the document, the authors explain the main objectives of the Customers and Border Protection. It puts them into three simple categories; Trade facilitation, security and enforcement. One of its main functions is to screen any persons who come into the country. Determination of how much scrutiny a person requires varies from one case to the other. Diplomats are not securitized. Everyone else has been placed under one of three categories, namely trusted traveler, international travelers and US citizens.

As its name suggest, the CBP is also in charge of border patrol. This means that it handles several border security issues on behalf of the federal government. It has one office that monitors the ports of entry (Office of Field Operations), one that monitors the borders (Office of Border Patrol) and one that takes care of the air and sea (Office of Air and Marine). The department also works closely with agriculture specialists in ensuring that there are no pests and diseases coming into the United States. The department is also tasked with removing ant person that enters the country illegally, as part of its role in prioritizing public safety, border security and threats to national security.

CBP Administrative Support

The CBP Administrative support is a wide department that has hundreds of staff, all of whom perform various functions and roles, all of which work towards ensuring that operations within the CBP are smooth and effective. Clark (2018), in his article published by the Homeland Preparedness News, the administrative team is a vital part of the institution. The administrative team is mostly in charge of handling the paper work for different activities, be it immigrations, trade and any other issues that may arise along the US borders. There are over 20 different job titles under the administrative support of the institution ranging from human resource, to logistics and several different specialists, totaling to over 50, 000 officers.

Fernandez, et al (2019) continue to give us an insight into the activities that take place within the department and the roles of each of the officers therein. There are more than 20,000 officers who are tasked with examining and inspecting passengers and cargo and they are distributed in the country’s 328 ports of entry. There are approximately 2000 agriculture specialists whose roles and to help in curtailing the spread of pests and diseases that are deemed harmful to the food supply of America. They are thus in charge of tests at the ports to ensure that these diseases do not enter the country. Border patrol agents are in charge of patrolling and two borders (Canada and Mexico). there is about 20000 of them. Air and Marine Interdiction Agents are charged with ensuring that there are no illegal people, narcotics, and weapons entering the country. There are more than 1000 of these officers. There is a different faction of employees whose main task is to collect revenue and impose duties and taxes.

The CBP also has enforcement powers, in addition to the administrative functions that have been outlined above. The CBP is given the mandate to search any inbound and outbound shipments, and often seizes any merchandizes that have been smuggled, stolen or illegally introduced or imported. This mandate is covered under Section 596 of the Tariff Act. The department is also in charge of seizure of controlled substances, contraband article as well as any plastic explosives missing detection agents. In order to correctly or accurately identify any cargo that poses threat, the department uses an automated targeting system in addition to the automated Export System. Additionally, the CBP works closely with the Department of State and Defense in ensuring that procured used for exportation of foreign military commodities and shipments are streamlined.

Roles of the CBP

Having outlined and explained the roles of the CBP and the consequent importance of the administrative support staff, it is imperative for this paper to analyze the need for research and analysis such as this. In a report that was compiled in 2007 by the Department for Homeland Security, which the Customs and Border Protection is a part of, employee morale was very low (Underhill & Oman, 2007). In fact, in most of the surveys, it was found that the DHS employees ranked last in several categories among the federal employees. For instance, when it came to job satisfaction, employees of the department ranked 36th, as did they on the results-oriented performance index. They also ranked 33rd and 35th on the talent management, and knowledge management indices.

These results were attributed to various reasons that were explained in a book written by Rossi (2018). One of the reasons given for the low scores was majorly regarding the leadership within the department, management and basic supervision. There were many concerns that were raised about pay rise and promotions and the way that the department deals with poor employee performance, rewards for innovation and creativity. The employees also raised issues to do with the inability of the management and leadership at the department to come up with methods of motivating the workforce. They also stated that they have access to little information on what is going on within the department despite the fact that they work there. In addition to this, employees also raised complaints about the components and procedures at the department which the deemed unsatisfactory.

Moran (2019) wrote a different article that was published in the American Express regarding the tribulations of employees of the Customs and Border Protection. His article mostly touches on the growing problem and concern about the shortage of border customs agents in the country. He says that despite the apparent importance of the jobs of customs agents and other CBP employees, this lot of employees seem to be having quite a difficult time at their places od work. He says that this is majorly attributed to the acute staffing shortage, especially at the ports of entry, a problem that he also notes is getting worse instead of improving. He explains that when ports of entry are understaffed, it translates to delays on the queues at the cargo and travel lanes, which causes a lot of hardship and safety problems for the employees manning these crowds. Due to the work overload, the employees are constantly subjected to involuntary overtime and extra assignments which in turn interferes with their work-life balance, thus further destroying their morale.

The author continues to pint out that in the last 25 years, the volume of commerce that takes place at the US borders has tripled, if not more. These have often led to delays of activities, an issue that is not beneficial for business, since there is a likely to increase transportation and supply chain costs. The Department of Commerce reports that delays at the border ports cause losses of jobs, wages, tax revenue and general output, because consumers, suppliers and companies tend to start spending less due to the unreliability of the services this has been reported to have negative impacts on the US economy in general, costing the country an approximate of 5 billion dollars yearly. The sentiments put forth by Moran are further emphasized by a report compiled by the Government Accountability Office, which asserted that the issues of low staffing, overworking and les straining is a major issue at the CBP. There is at least an average of 70 employees that leave the Customs and Border Protection fortnightly (Barr, 2007).

Employee Dissatisfaction

Employee dissatisfaction is not only affecting the CBP, but many other institutions and companies around the a result, it is easy to know the consequences or the results of having employee who are not in a state that they can perform to their best. It is the prerogative of every employer to ensure that employees are given the most conducive environment to carry out their duties. This should especially be the case for the government regarding the staff of CBP. The reason for this is that when things do not work the way they are supposed to at the department, it is not only the employee that suffers, but the department as a whole and the entire nation. The CBP is in charge of a very sensitive role in the country and a small slip can have grave consequences. For instance, if a member of staff is overworked for example, he may be too fatigued to have a thorough check on the cargo that enters the country, thus probably allowing illegal explosives. These can later be sued to cause irreparable damage to the entire country. It is important that the CBP is safeguarded, and this entails ensuring that work in there goes on as smoothly as can be.

It is in recognition of the importance of the administrative staff at CBP, and their recorded low morale and performance that the Border Workforce Efficiency Act was designed (Clark, 2019). The act seeks to create a new administrative position with the Customs and Broder Protection that can help in ensuring work goes on more efficiently. The role, dubbed processing coordinator, will be in charge of executive administrative duties. The incumbent would receive training that is tailored to facilitate and carry out handling and processing people in custody. This will help in improving detention oversight as well as enabling the traditional agents to be able to return to their respective fields. This post is currently being carried out by police officers, which then burdens the force as well.


This Act highlights a big issue within the CBP of people being brought to perform functions for which they have never trained for, nor were they hired to do, as Clark continues to explain. Since the government either cut back on hiring or froze the process altogether, from time to time there are certain areas within the department that may face shortages. Whenever this happens, officers and other employees have often been transferred until the workload reduces then they go back to their original duties. This is a dangerous move since most of the time, these employees are having to learn new roles and skills on the job, which is not safe since due to the heavy workload, a small mistake can have grave consequences.

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