Volume XLIX – Number 2

Josh Norris

Abstract: In the absence of physical barriers or guard posts, civilian communities are the de facto stewards of border enforcement. Yet, as states struggle to mitigate the influx of transboundary threats while managing economic constraints, the role of state legitimacy in border enforcement is often neglected. To enhance policy-making, this article introduces a new analytical framework for evaluating border porousness, namely the relative integrity of national borders (RINB)—the notion that an individual’s feelings toward state governance directly impact his or her respect for state borders. RINB, which is measured in terms of social inclusion, popular attitudes towards state decisions, and the efficacy of border policy enforcement, is tested through the application of three hypotheses to the cases of Lebanon, Mexico, Ukraine, and Argentina. This article finds, with the exception of Argentina, that Lebanon, Mexico, and Ukraine affirm my hypotheses, thus supporting the validity of RINB. Importantly, RINB demonstrates a link between state security and conventionally perceived ‘non-security’ policies such as infrastructure and public housing. Therefore, by focusing scarce resources on bolstering public services, states can still strengthen border security—for improved perceptions of state competence can inspire citizens to more actively report on or dissuade border violations.

Key Words: Border Control, National Security, Migration

About the Author: Josh Norris earned a B.S. degree in political science, with an interdisciplinary minor in security studies, at Towson University. Currently, he is a mitigation specialist at the Maryland Emergency Management Agency. 


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