This analysis explores the ideological nexus that the concept of border security and its associated practices occupy. This is important to explore as the principles governing a nation’s border security are driven by dominant ideological postures which manifest and result in outcomes which have a marked impact on a nations’ citizens. In the era of COVID-19, the ideological tension between neoliberalism and civic nationalism has been illuminated, with border security practices resultantly being pulled towards the protection of the economy or the security of citizens. This tension complicates border security practices, with such crises magnifying its place on an ideological battleground. The goal of this analysis is to reconceptualise how we think about border security practices and the underlying ideological drivers behind them.