Border Security: The Role of the U.S. Border Patrol Security: The Role of the U.S. Border Patrol...

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Transcript of Border Security: The Role of the U.S. Border Patrol Security: The Role of the U.S. Border Patrol...

  • Order Code RL32562

    Border Security: The Role of the U.S. Border Patrol

    Updated November 20, 2008

    Blas Nuez-NetoAnalyst in Domestic Security

    Domestic Social Policy Division

  • Border Security: The Role of the U.S. Border Patrol

    Summary

    The United States Border Patrol (USBP) has a long and storied history as ournations first line of defense against unauthorized migration. Today, the USBPsprimary mission is to detect and prevent the entry of terrorists, weapons of massdestruction, and illegal aliens into the country, and to interdict drug smugglers andother criminals along the border. The Homeland Security Act of 2002 dissolved theImmigration and Naturalization Service and placed the USBP within the Departmentof Homeland Security (DHS). Within DHS, the USBP forms a part of the Bureau ofCustoms and Border Protection under the Directorate of Border and TransportationSecurity.

    During the last decade, the USBP has seen its budget and manpower more thantriple. This expansion was the direct result of Congressional concerns about illegalimmigration and the agencys adoption of Prevention Through Deterrence as itschief operational strategy in 1994. The strategy called for placing USBP resourcesand manpower directly at the areas of greatest illegal immigration in order to detect,deter, and apprehend aliens attempting to cross the border between official points ofentry. Post 9/11, the USBP refocused its strategy on preventing the entry of terroristsand weapons of mass destruction, as laid out in its recently released NationalStrategy. In addition to a workforce of over 17,000 agents, the USBP deploysvehicles, aircraft, watercraft, and many different technologies to defend the border.

    In the course of discharging its duties, the USBP patrols 8,000 miles ofAmerican international borders with Mexico and Canada and the coastal watersaround Florida and Puerto Rico. However, there are significant geographic, political,and immigration-related differences between the northern border with Canada andthe southwest border with Mexico. Accordingly, the USBP deploys a different mixof personnel and resources along the two borders. Due to the fact that over 97% ofunauthorized migrant apprehensions occur along the southwest border, the USBPdeploys over 90% of its agents there to deter illegal immigration. The Border Safetyinitiative and the Arizona Border Control initiative are both focused on the southwestborder. The northern border is more than two times longer than the southwest border,features far lower numbers of aliens attempting to enter illegally, but may be morevulnerable to terrorist infiltration. As a consequence of this, the USBP has focusedits northern border efforts on deploying technology and cooperating closely withCanadian authorities through the creation of International Border EnforcementTeams.

    Some issues for Congress to consider could include the slow rate of integrationbetween the USBPs biometric database of illegal aliens and the Federal Bureau ofInvestigations (FBI) biometric database of criminals and terrorists; the number ofunauthorized aliens who die attempting to enter the country each year; the increasingattacks on Border Patrol agents, and the threat posed by terrorists along the sparselydefended northern border as well as the more porous southwest border.

    This report will be updated as circumstances warrant.

  • Contents

    Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

    Organization and Composition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2Evolution of the National Strategic Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2National Border Patrol Strategy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4Budget and Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5Surveillance Assets (Secure Border Initiative) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7Automated Biometrics Identification System (IDENT) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9Apprehensions Statistics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

    Multiple Apprehensions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11Successful Illegal Entries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11Multiple Correlations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

    Southwest Border . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12Prevention Through Deterrence In Action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12Southern Border Manpower . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13SW Border Apprehensions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13Border Safety Initiative . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17Interior Repatriation Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

    Northern Border . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19U.S.-Canadian Cooperation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19Northern Border Manpower . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20Integrated Border Enforcement Teams (IBET) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22Northern Border Apprehensions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

    Border Patrol Issues for Congress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 239/11 Report and the Northern Border . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23Migrant Deaths . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24Attacks on Border Patrol Agents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27Interior Enforcement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29Integration of IDENT/IAFIS Law Enforcement Databases . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30Deployment of SBInet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31Coordination with Other Federal Agencies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32Civilian Patrol Groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32Civilian Humanitarian Groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33Staffing and Training Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34Agent Attrition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

    List of Figures

    Figure 1. Border Patrol Appropriations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6Figure 2. Southwest Border Agent Manpower . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13Figure 3. SW Border Apprehensions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14Figure 4. SW Border Apprehensions, by Sector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16Figure 5. Percentage of Southern Border Apprehensions, by State . . . . . . . . . . . 17

  • Figure 6. Border Patrol Agents at the Northern Border . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21Figure 7. Northern Border Apprehensions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23Figure 8. Migrant Deaths, Center for Immigration Research Data . . . . . . . . . . . 25Figure 9. Migrant Deaths, Border Patrol Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26Figure 10. Migrant Mortality Rate, per 10,000 Apprehensions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27Figure 11. Attacks on Border Patrol Agents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28Figure 12. Overall Border Patrol Agent and Pilot Manpower . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35Figure 13. Border Patrol Agent Attrition Rate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37

  • 1 For a more detailed account of the formation of DHS refer to CRS Report RL31549,Department of Homeland Security: Consolidation of Border and Transportation SecurityAgencies, by Jennifer Lake, and CRS Report RL31560, Homeland Security Proposals:Issues Regarding Transfer of Immigration Agencies and Functions, by Lisa Seghetti.2 8 U.S.C. 1357 (a).

    Border Security: The Role of the U.S. Border Patrol

    Background

    Founded in 1924 by an appropriations act of Congress (Act of May 28, 1924;43 Stat. 240), the United States Border Patrol (USBP) has a long and storied historyas our nations front line in the struggle to secure our borders. The USBPs missionhas historically been to prevent unauthorized aliens from entering into the country.As such, until recently the USBP formed part of the Immigration and NaturalizationService (INS). The Homeland Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-296) merged mostinterior and border enforcement functions of the Department of Agriculture, the INS,and the U.S. Customs Service to form the Directorate of Border and TransportationSecurity (BTS) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Using theauthority given by Congress in the Homeland Security Act, the Administration sub-divided BTS and placed the border enforcement functions, including the USBP,within the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP). This consolidated all theagencies charged with border enforcement duties with the overarching goal ofenhancing security by allowing for the freer sharing of information and resourcesbetween all the organizations with a presence on the border.1

    Although CBP is charged with overall border enforcement, w