Border Security/Migrant Smuggling

INL works with international partners to develop effective approaches to border and maritime security. INL designs, plans, and funds foreign assistance programs to address aspects of border security including: cross-border crimes, maritime security, aviation security, migrant smuggling, and trafficking in persons. This includes sponsoring training, workshops, and technical support provided by other U.S. agencies and international organizations. Such efforts leverage technical, legal, and managerial U.S. expertise to enhance foreign officials’ abilities to implement border security professionally and effectively.

INL programs help deter and prevent the flow of illegal migrants into the United States as part of the U.S. National Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime, as well as other national security-related strategies. INL efforts aim to disrupt and dismantle trafficking networks before illegal migrants reach the United States, and complement the activities of U.S. federal law enforcement agencies to disrupt and dismantle major migrant smuggling rings operating domestically and abroad.

INL-sponsored programs, such as training covering migrant smuggling and passport fraud, also foster implementation of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants, a key source of international standards in this area.

INL’s implementation partners for efforts in this area include:

  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security - Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  • The Organization of American States (OAS)
  • The UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
  • The International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL)

Many of INL’s bilateral country assistance programs also incorporate border security elements. Such support includes training and equipment for border forces and border infrastructure, such as outposts and roads, and technical assistance.

INL’s border security work also includes efforts in the maritime space. Maritime security activities have included partnerships with the Department of Defense, U.S. Coast Guard, and UNODC to deliver workshops and training in the areas of maritime criminal justice and maritime migrant smuggling, as well as research and global support for activities such as container control programs, policy guides, and support to an international maritime crime case law database. In addition, INL draws on the expertise of U.S.-based seaports in port security best practices, interagency cooperation, harbor patrol, fleet maintenance, and other related topics to enhance partner countries’ seaport security and operations. As part of their partnership with INL, U.S. seaports host foreign seaport stakeholders and provide training in their area of specialty. The port assistance provided by INL is typically delivered in close partnership with the support of relevant federal agencies, such as the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Currently INL has formal partnerships with the Port of Miami, the Port of San Diego, and the Port of Long Beach.