Border Security: The Role of the U.S. Border Patrol
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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The United States Border Patrol USBP has a long and storied history as our 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. Within DHS, the USBP forms a part of the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection under the Directorate of Border and Transportation Security. 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 in order 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. In addition to a workforce of over 17,000 agents, the USBP deploys vehicles, aircraft, watercraft, and many different technologies to defend the border.
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