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

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Congressional rept.

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The United States Border Patrol USBP has a long and storied history as the nations first line of defense against unauthorized migration. Today, the USBPs primary mission is to detect and prevent the entry of terrorists, weapons of mass destruction, and illegal aliens into the country, and to interdict drug smugglers and other criminals along the border. The Homeland Security Act of 2002 dissolved the Immigration and Naturalization Service and placed the USBP within the Department of Homeland Security DHS. During the last decade, the USBP has seen its budget and manpower more than triple. This expansion was the direct result of Congressional concerns about illegal immigration and the agencys adoption of Prevention Through Deterrence as its chief operational strategy in 1994. The strategy called for placing USBP resources and manpower directly at the areas of greatest illegal immigration to detect, deter, and apprehend aliens attempting to cross the border between official points of entry. Post 911, the USBP refocused its strategy on preventing the entry of terrorists and weapons of mass destruction, as laid out in its recently released National Strategy. There are significant geographic, political, and immigration-related differences between the Northern border with Canada and the Southwest border with Mexico. Accordingly, the USBP deploys a different mix of personnel and resources along the two borders. Some issues for Congress to consider could include the slow rate of integration between the USBPs biometric database of illegal aliens and the Federal Bureau of Investigations FBI biometric database of criminals and terrorists the number of unauthorized aliens who die attempting to enter the country each year the organized human smuggling rings that have proliferated as entering the country has become more difficult and the threat posed by terrorists along the sparsely defended Northern border as well as the more porous Southwest border.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Sociology and Law
  • Civil Defense
  • Miscellaneous Detection and Detectors

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