This article attempts to put carrier sanctions policies in a broad perspective by looking at the immigration context, the rationale behind the policy, the changing character of borders and the regulatory environment of this policy. Carrier sanction legislation can be understood as a remote control instrument, which is supplementary to controls before and at the border and internal controls, whereby the concept of the border as a line between states is abandoned. The second part of the article focuses on the implementation of the carrier sanctions policy in the Netherlands. The Dutch government tries to overcome the principal-agent dilemma arising from involving a third party in enforcement, by installing a system of 'contiguous measures', both negative and positive, to stimulate carriers to perform controls on their passengers' documents. Responsibilities are imposed on carriers but the state, by using 'soft' and 'hard touch' legislation, remains in control.