E.g., 02/23/2024
E.g., 02/23/2024
Securing Human Mobility in the Age of Risk: New Challenges for Travel, Migration, and Borders
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Migration Policy Institute

With nearly 500 million U.S. border crossings a year and over one-quarter of Americans possessing passports, the U.S. government faces a daunting challenge in protecting people on the move from the risks of direct attack, preventing the travel-and-immigration system from being exploited by terrorists and criminals, and infusing it with resilience against breakdowns.

In this acclaimed volume, author and former 9/11 Commission Senior Counsel and Team Leader Susan Ginsburg argues that the nation’s approach to immigration and border security is off-kilter and not keeping pace with the scope and complexity of people’s movement around the world, nor with expectations regarding freedom of movement. She proposes a new paradigm that seeks to secure mobility and promote the rule of law in global migration channels while moving away from a system that too often conflates border and immigration enforcement with counterterrorism.

The book proposes a range of policy recommendations:

  • Negotiation of new mobility security agreements with Canada and the European Union
  • Improved programs to prevent violations of visa terms and conditions
  • Creation of a redress system for temporary visa denials
  • Establishment of an international organization to promote global mobility security
  • Creation of an interagency, extraterritorial criminal network strike force
  • Adoption of a program to thwart transnational gang migration


What People Are Saying About Securing Human Mobility in the Age of Risk: New Challenges for Travel, Migration, and Borders:

Michael Chertoff, Former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary:
“Susan Ginsburg's book is a comprehensive and original look at how we can integrate security with global mobility in a way that promotes both safety and efficiency. Policymakers around the world should pay close attention.”

Jamie S. Gorelick, Former Deputy Attorney General and 9/11 Commission member:
“A much-needed and well-documented prescription for aligning security needs and our immigration policy.”

Philip Bobbitt, Director of the Center for National Security, Columbia Law School:
“This is one of the most important books to be published in recent years. The subject—population movement—is set in a strategic and legal context, rich with statistics and subtle argument. I know of no book on this crucial topic that approaches Ginsburg’s scope and depth. A rare and significant achievement.”

Gen. John A. Gordon, Former White House Homeland Security Adviser and CIA Deputy Director:
“Ginsburg is a seasoned policy analyst with a point of view on how to break out of the current 20th-century construct of security based almost solely on securing borders and managing illegal immigration. She offers not radical change but a much broader, more encompassing framework that really brings a systems-engineering approach to the problem—an approach that gets at the roots of the problem from strengthening international institutions to upholding the right of freedom of movement while being even tougher in denying such mobility to terrorists, criminals, corrupt officials, and human rights violators.”

Table of Contents 

Introduction: The Limits of Border Security

Part I: Mobility Security Facts and Principles


Securing Human Mobility as a Homeland Security Mission

Terrorists, Criminal Mobility Enterprises, and Third-Party Illicit Travel Facilitators

Methods of Illicit Movement

Part II: Acting Against Terrorists, Criminals, and Conspirators


Terrorist Travel and Human Smuggling Organizations: Information, Analysis, Action

Violent Transnational Gang Migration: Focused Deterrence

Terrorists and Human Rights Violators: Travel Bans

Part III: Ensuring Mobility Infrastructure Integrity and Resilience


Travel Documents and Identification

The Temporary Visa Program

International Information Sharing and Privacy

Part IV: Preventing Life-Threatening, Illegal, and Uncontrolled Movement


Mobility-Security Agreements

International Institutions to Secure Human Mobility

Managing Borders With Our Neighbors