The US 9/11 Commission on Border Control


The collapse of Europe's Communist regimes and the breakup of the Soviet Union marked the end of the “short twentieth century” and appeared to have opened up an era of accelerating globalization—increasingly free movement of goods and capital and, if not yet free movement of persons, certainly travel less hindered by bureaucratic obstacles. The threat of international terrorism, however, places a major question mark on such expectations. The magnitude of this threat was shown by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on US targets in New York and Washington. The attacks have led to greatly increased security checks on international travel and, especially in the United States, to tightened visa regulations and border controls. The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, created by the US Congress and the President in 2002, submitted its final report in July 2004. The analysis of the terrorist threat and the recommendations on how to counter it offered in this 567-page document suggest that restrictions on crossing US international borders are unlikely to be eased soon and may well be made stricter. The practical inconvenience of such measures, however, may be lessened by improvements in the technological means of identifying persons, such as through use of biological markers. Relevant passages of the 9/11 Commission Report, from Chapter 12, section 4, are reproduced below. Footnotes have been omitted.