The state of U.S. border security has been a contentious public issue for many decades. It has not been possible to establish a coherent definition of border security, let alone measure and evaluate it. In recent years, my research colleagues and I have led an effort to define what core border security measures are and to estimate their actual values. This article reviews the key results of that effort with respect to illegal immigration across the U.S. land border with Mexico, which has been perhaps the single most controversial border security issue. Although we now have a set of credible estimates that can inform policy making and public debate, the U.S. government continues to face major challenges in reporting these measures and establishing credibility with
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