Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Taubman Center

Alan Bersin ─ Lines and Flows: The Future of Border Security Is Not What It Used To Be

Monday, April 8, 2019

12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

McKinney Conference Room, 111 Thayer Street

The presentation will examine the radically changing nature of borders, the forces driving such change, and the impact on traditional legal and regulatory regimes governing cross-border trade and travel. Former U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin will argue that borders in the contemporary era must be viewed as incorporating the global flow of goods and people as well as the geographic boundary lines that mark the transition from one sovereignty to another. Borders from this perspective are both lines of sovereignty and points of flow. The influence of this altered paradigm on our understanding of the relationship between security and economic competitiveness is fundamental. The presentation will explore the dramatic implications this has had for American policies and practices of border enforcement and management and our perspective on the transnational landscape. Recent issues at the US/Mexico Border regarding migration from Central America will serve to illustrate the propositions advanced.

Alan D. Bersin is Senior Fellow, Belfer Center at the Harvard Kennedy School; Global Fellow, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; Inaugural North America Fellow, Canada Institute and Mexico Institute (Wilson Center); Former Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs (Ret.), U.S. Department of Homeland Security.