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Mounted watchmen of the United States Department of Commerce and Labor patrolled the border in an effort to prevent illegal crossings as early as , but their efforts were irregular and undertaken only when resources permitted.
The inspectors, usually called "mounted guards", operated out of El Paso, Texas. Though they never totaled more than 75, they patrolled as far west as California trying to restrict the flow of illegal Chinese immigration.
In March , Congress authorized a separate group of mounted guards, often referred to as "mounted inspectors".
Most rode on horseback, but a few operated automobiles, motorcycles and boats. Although these inspectors had broader arrest authority, they still largely pursued Chinese aliens trying to avoid the National Origins Act and Chinese Exclusion Act of These patrolmen were immigration inspectors, assigned to inspection stations, and could not watch the border at all times.
Army soldiers along the southwest border performed intermittent border patrolling, but this was secondary to "the more serious work of military training".
Aliens encountered illegally in the U. Texas Rangers were also sporadically assigned to patrol duties by the state, and their efforts were noted as "singularly effective".
The National Origins Act authorized the formation of the U. Border Patrol on May 26, Department of Labor assigned to prevent illegal entries  —primarily along the Mexico—United States border ,   as well as the Canada—U.
The first Border Patrol station began operations in Detroit, Michigan, in June Mexican border operations were directed from El Paso, Texas , and Canadian border operations were directed from Detroit , Michigan.
The Canadian border operations from Detroit employed more men than the El Paso operations along the Mexican border because of a focus on the prevention of liquor smuggling during prohibition.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt 's Executive Order formed the Immigration and Naturalization Service INS in by consolidation of the Bureau of Immigration and the Bureau of Naturalization.
Following the outbreak of World War II in Europe, Border Patrol staffing doubled to 1, in , and the INS was moved from the Department of Labor to the U.
Department of Justice. The INS was decommissioned in March when its operations were divided between U. Customs and Border Protection CBP , United States Citizenship and Immigration Services , and U.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In the wake of the attacks of September 11, , the Border Patrol was placed under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security, and preventing terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States was added to its mission.
The Border Patrol's traditional mission continued: deterring, detecting and apprehending illegal aliens and individuals involved in the illegal drug trade who generally entered the United States at places other than through designated ports of entry.
The Border Patrol also erected [ when? For fiscal year , the nationwide total of Border Patrol agents was 19,, with 16, patrolling the southern border.
The majority of Border Patrol agents are minorities. The Border Patrol's priorities have changed over the years. In , the Immigration Reform and Control Act placed renewed emphasis on controlling illegal immigration by going after the employers that hire illegal aliens.
The belief was that jobs were the magnet that attracted most illegal aliens to come to the United States. The Border Patrol increased interior enforcement and Form I-9 audits of businesses through an inspection program known as "employer sanctions".
Several agents were assigned to interior stations, such as within the Livermore Sector in Northern California.
Employer sanctions never became the effective tool it was expected to be by Congress. Illegal immigration continued to swell after the amnesty despite employer sanctions.
By , Californians passed Proposition , denying benefits to illegal aliens and criminalizing illegal aliens in possession of forged green cards, identification cards, and Social Security numbers.
It also authorized police officers to question non-nationals as to their immigration status and required police and sheriff departments to cooperate and report illegal aliens to the INS.
Proposition drew nationwide attention to illegal immigration. El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Silvestre Reyes started a program called "Operation Hold the Line".
In this program, Border Patrol agents would no longer react to illegal entries resulting in apprehensions, but would instead be forward deployed to the border, immediately detecting any attempted entries or deterring crossing at a more remote location.
The idea was that it would be easier to capture illegal entrants in the wide open deserts than through the urban alleyways. Chief Reyes deployed his agents along the Rio Grande , within eyesight of other agents.
The program significantly reduced illegal entries in the urban part of El Paso, however, the operation merely shifted the illegal entries to other areas.
Congressman Duncan Hunter became a major proponent of border fencing in the San Diego sector; surplus military landing mats were obtained to use as an initial border fence.
Through agency whistleblowers , Agent Mark Hall and Agent Robert Lindemann, it was revealed that in , the Border Patrol had approximately agents assigned along the Canada—United States border.
Resources that support Border Patrol agents include the use of new technology and a more focused application of air and marine assets. The northern border sectors are west to east : Blaine Washington , Spokane Washington , Havre Montana , Grand Forks North Dakota , Detroit Selfridge ANGB, Michigan , Buffalo New York , Swanton Vermont , and Houlton Maine.
In November , the U. Border Patrol published an updated national strategy. The strategy has five main objectives:. The United States border is a barely discernible line in uninhabited deserts, canyons, or mountains.
The Border Patrol utilizes a variety of equipment and methods, such as electronic sensors placed at strategic locations along the border, to detect people or vehicles entering the country illegally.
Video monitors and night vision scopes are also used to detect illegal entries. Agents patrol the border in vehicles, boats, aircraft, and afoot.
In some areas, the Border Patrol employs horses, all-terrain motorcycles, bicycles, and snowmobiles. Air surveillance capabilities are provided by unmanned aerial vehicles.
The primary activity of a Border Patrol agent is "line watch". Line watch involves the detection, prevention, and apprehension of terrorists, illegal aliens and smugglers of aliens at or near the land border by maintaining surveillance from a covert position; following up on leads; responding to electronic sensor, television systems and aircraft sightings; and interpreting and following tracks, marks, and other physical evidence.
Major activities include traffic check, traffic observation, city patrol, transportation check, administrative, intelligence, and anti-smuggling activities.
Traffic checks are conducted on major highways leading away from the border to detect and apprehend illegal aliens attempting to travel further into the interior of the United States after evading detection at the border, and to detect illegal narcotics.
Transportation checks are inspections of interior-bound conveyances, which include buses, commercial aircraft, passenger and freight trains, and marine craft.
Marine patrols are conducted along the coastal waterways of the United States, primarily along the Pacific coast, the Caribbean, the tip of Florida, and Puerto Rico and interior waterways common to the United States and Canada.
The Border Patrol conducts border control activities from marine craft of various sizes. The Border Patrol maintains watercraft ranging from blue-water craft to inflatable-hull craft, in 16 sectors, in addition to headquarters and special operations components.
Horse and bike patrols are used to augment regular vehicle and foot patrols. Horse units patrol remote areas along the international boundary that are inaccessible to standard all-terrain vehicles.
Bike patrol aids city patrol and is used over rough terrain to support line watch. In , the United States Border Patrol had approximately 4, patrol agents on the job.
Since that time the attrition rate has decreased. Congress increased journeyman Border Patrol agent pay from a GS-9 rate to a GS rate in The Border Patrol Marine Position was created in BPA-M.
The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of signed by President Bush on December 17, authorized hiring an additional 10, agents, "subject to appropriation".
This authorization nearly doubled the Border Patrol size, from 11, to 20, agents by The Secure Fence Act , signed by President Bush on October 26, , has met with much opposition.
In October , environmental groups and concerned citizens filed a restraining order hoping to halt the construction of the fence, set to be built between the United States and Mexico.
The act mandated that the fence be built by December DHS secretary Michael Chertoff has bypassed environmental and other oppositions with a waiver that was granted to him by Congress in Section of the act, which allows DHS to avoid any conflicts that would prevent a speedy assembly of the fence.
This action has led many environment groups and landowners to speak out against the impending construction of the fence. Desert plants would also feel the impact, as they would be uprooted in many areas where the fence is set to occupy.
In , property owners in these areas feared a loss of land. Brownsville mayor Pat Ahumada favored alternative options to a border fence.
He suggested that the Rio Grande be widened and deepened to provide for a natural barrier to hinder illegal aliens and drug smugglers. In , the U. Border Patrol created the special operations group SOG headquartered in El Paso, Texas, to coordinate the special operations units of the agency.
The U. Border Patrol has a number of other specialized programs and details. Marine patrol — In the riverine environments of the northern and southwestern borders of the continental United States, the Border Patrol conducts border control activities from the decks of marine craft of various sizes.
Since , the U. Border Patrol has relinquished its littoral law enforcement missions in the Great Lakes and territorial seas to the Office of Air and Marine.
Border Patrol maintains over vessels, ranging from blue-water craft to inflatable-hull craft, in 16 sectors, in addition to headquarters special operations components.
The strategy included increased enforcement and extensive fencing near border cities, with the twofold purpose of deflecting aliens to remote areas where they could more easily be detected and apprehended, as well as using the formidable mountains, deserts, and Rio Grande as a deterrent to easy passage.
As early as , the former Immigration and Naturalization Service implemented the Border Safety Initiative in response to concerns about the number of aliens injured or killed while attempting to cross the border.
It was noted that Border Patrol agents routinely supplied water, food, and medical care to aliens. In , the first "rescue beacons" were installed in desert areas considered especially dangerous.
Senator Bill Frist commented in "these beacons, I believe, are an absolutely vital link in our border security system We know that beacons work: CBP has already saved dozens of people based entirely on beacon alerts.
During a month period in —12, Border Patrol agents made 1, rescues along the Mexico—United States border, nearly half occurring in the Tucson Sector.
All Border Patrol agents spend a minimum of 26 weeks at the Border Patrol Academy in Artesia, New Mexico , which is a component of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center FLETC.
Once they arrive back at their duty station, Trainees then must graduate from the Field Training Officer FTO program, an on-the-job training program, which varies in length from a minimum of 12 weeks to a maximum of over 16 weeks long, depending on the practical demands of the duty station and local management.
They must also successfully complete the Post Academy Training Program, an extension of the Border Patrol Academy where Trainees complete additional classroom-based training over the course of their first nine months back at their duty station.
The Border Patrol uniform is getting its first makeover since the s to appear more like military fatigues and less like a police officer's duty garb.
The Border Patrol's highest honor is the Newton-Azrak Award for Heroism. This award is bestowed to Border Patrol agents for extraordinary actions, service; accomplishments reflecting unusual courage or bravery in the line of duty; or an extraordinarily heroic or humane act committed during times of extreme stress or in an emergency.
This award is named for Border Patrol inspectors Theodore Newton  and George Azrak,  who were murdered by two drug smugglers in San Diego County in Border Patrol agents are issued the Glock Model 19 law enforcement modification pistol in 9mm caliber.
It can contain as many as 16 rounds of ammunition 15 in the magazine and 1 in the chamber. Up until the Border Patrol issued its patrol agents. The Border Patrol preferred this weapon because it did not jam in harsh conditions, like those of the southwestern border, and also because of the strong " stopping power " of the.
Although up until patrol agents could purchase weapons from the agency list of approved authorized personal weapons for duty carry.
This list included the Glock Models 17 and 19 pistols in 9 mm, the SIG Sauer P pistol in. The Border Patrol adopted the Beretta Model 96D , a.
On April 9, , CBP announced that the U. Border Patrol would transition from the. Like many other law enforcement agencies, the 12 gauge Remington Model is the standard pump-action shotgun.
The Border Patrol issue Model has been modified by Scattergun Technologies to Border Patrol specifications including: a inch barrel, a five-shot capacity magazine, a composite stock with pistol grip, and night sights with a tactical "ghost-ring" rear sight.
The old Border Patrol "anti-bandit" units used to use gauge, semi-automatic shotguns with sawed-off barrels.
This weapon had the designated name of a "Sidewinder". The USBP anti-bandit units were decommissioned in the late s.
Border Patrol agents also commonly carry the. As a less than lethal option, the Border Patrol uses the FN launcher. The FN fires plastic pellet balls containing OC oleoresin capsicum pepper dust.
The plastic pellet balls burst on impact spraying the suspect with OC pepper dust and also acts as impact projectiles. Unlike in many other law enforcement agencies in the United States, the Border Patrol operates over 10, SUVs and pickup trucks, which are known for their capabilities to move around in any sort of terrain.
An extensive modernization drive has ensured that these vehicles are equipped with wireless sets in communication with a central control room.
Border Patrol vehicles may also have equipment such as emergency first aid kits. Some sectors make use of sedans like the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor or the Dodge Charger as patrol cars or high speed "interceptors" on highways.
Border Patrol has approximately 2, sedans. The Border Patrol also operates all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles, snowmobiles, and small boats in riverine environments.
In , all Border Patrol and ICE aircraft operations were combined under CBP's Office of Air and Marine. All CBP vessel operations within the Customs Waters and on the high seas are conducted by Marine Interdiction Agents of the Office of Air and Marine.
Color schemes of Border Patrol vehicles are either a long green stripe running the length of the vehicle older vehicles or a broad green diagonal stripe newer vehicles on the door.
Most Border Patrol vehicles are painted predominantly white. During the s to mids Border Patrol vehicles were painted a light green.
The Border Patrol also extensively uses horses for remote area patrols. As of [update] , the U. Border Patrol has horses. Most are employed along the Mexico—United States border.
In Arizona , these animals are fed special processed feed pellets so that their wastes do not spread non-native plants in the national parks and wildlife areas they patrol.
Since , the Border Patrol has had officers killed in the line of duty, more than any other federal law enforcement agency during that time period.
On March 14, , 16 Mexican soldiers in two humvees chased a Border Patrol agent near Santa Teresa, New Mexico, while another agent came under gunfire.
Backup arrived and the soldiers were detained. The Mexican government said the soldiers got lost. State Department ordered them sent back to Mexico along with their weapons.
On August 7, , Mexican troops crossed the border into Arizona and held a U. Border Patrol Agent at gunpoint.
Agents stationed at Ajo, Arizona said that the Mexican soldiers crossed the border into an isolated area southwest of Tucson and pointed rifles at the agent, who has not been identified.
The Mexicans withdrew after other U. Testifying in front of the United States Senate , Border Patrol Chief Mark Morgan said that the Border Patrol is the one of the most assaulted law enforcement agencies;  since , over seven thousand agents of the Border Patrol were attacked.
Intelligence gathering has discovered bounties being placed on Patrol Agents to be paid by criminal smuggling organizations upon the confirmed murder or kidnapping of a U.
Border Patrol Agent. In , intelligence learned of a two-million-dollar contract for the murder of a Border Patrol Agent.
In Border Patrol Agent Rosas was murdered in an ambush while on patrol; a bounty may have been paid to the assassins.
In February , Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean were involved in an incident while pursuing a van in Fabens, Texas. The driver, later identified as Aldrete Davila, was shot by Agent Ramos during a scuffle.
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Photos Add Image Add an image Do you have any images for this title? Edit Cast Cast overview, first billed only: Michael DeLorenzo Freddie Chavez Clayton Rohner Cal Newman Lewis Fitz-Gerald The Border Patrol topic provides current news and information about ongoing border protection issues and challenges.
The Border Patrol, along with hundreds of local agencies under whose jurisdiction that border falls, are responsible for protecting 8, miles of U.
The Yuma Police Department assists with a multi-agency security program near the Mexican border. The woman is suspected of stabbing a man in the arm, police say.
Border Patrol Officers had to force their way through a crowd to get to two men detained by agents inside a bus.
Johan Mordan, a first-year agent, was patrolling a remote area of southwestern New Mexico. The 2,foot-long tunnel started in Tijuana and had reinforced walls, ventilation, lighting and an underground rail system.
The drugs were hidden under the floor of a tractor trailer loaded with vegetables. The company said they were changing their policies after reading a leaked memo confirming that agents can't board buses without company consent.
The agents are not expected to engage in special missions in their new assignment, only provide assistance and backup to ICE with everyday arrests and deportations.
The tunnel stretches more than three quarters of a mile from Tijuana, Mexico to San Diego, California. The judge sentenced Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes after hearing tearful statements from the sisters of Brian Terry, the agent who was fatally shot.
Over his year career, Arnold has watched the border terrain transform into one of fences and roads, surveillance cameras and sensors. Wolf Valmond had previously served as a Va.
The FBI is investigating the Sunday death of Agent Robert Hotten.