Ronald Colburn, Deputy Chief of the Border Patrol Announces State of the Agency

St. Charles, Mo.The Border Patrol has made significant accomplishments while securing our nation’s border to protect Americans against the entry of terrorists and their weapons into the United States, while maintaining their traditional mission to detect, apprehend and prevent illegal aliens, narcotics and other contraband from entering the U.S.

The Border Patrol is charged with the protection of the border between established ports of entry and is guided by the National Border Patrol Strategy, which targets maintaining operational control of the border; using the proper mix of personnel, technology, and infrastructure, the Border Patrol is dedicated to achieving this goal.

Today, the Border Patrol is better equipped than any period in its 84-year history; credited to its intensive efforts to increase manpower; targeted operations resulting in increased deterrence and drug seizures; improved infrastructure and better technology; along with the added support from Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine and positive bilateral relations with international law enforcement agencies.

Increase in manpower To fulfill a June 2006 presidential mandate, the Border Patrol stepped up recruiting efforts to hire 6,000 additional agents by the end of 2008. Since then, CBP has increased its number of Border Patrol agents by over 3,500, for a current total of 16,321 agents.

While much of the initial focus is on the southwest border, steps have been taken to improve security on the northern and coastal borders. Additional Border Patrol agents have been deployed from the southwest border to the northern border, with over 1,800 expected by 2009 and more than 2,200 agents by 2010.

Currently, there are 1,176 agents on the northern border and 189 serving on coastal borders, a 246 and 28 percent increase, respectively, since 2001. Prior to September 11, 2001, the northern border was staffed with 340 Border Patrol agents.

Decrease in apprehensions and increase in border violence Through targeted operations the Border Patrol has seen a reduction in the total number of apprehensions, nationwide, from 532,720 (2007 fiscal year to date) to 450,962 through April 30, a 15 percent decline. Along the southwest border apprehensions have decreased by 16 percent.

On the northern and coastal borders, the Border Patrol has acquired and deployed the proper mix of personnel, technology and infrastructure. And coupled with the agents’ law enforcement techniques, intelligence sharing, and personal ingenuity to efficiently and effectively accomplish their mission, apprehensions have significantly decreased from 16,508 in fiscal 2003 to 6,774 in 2007, a 59 percent decrease. Currently, the Border Patrol on the northern and coastal borders has apprehended 4,072 illegal aliens, year to date.

Improved infrastructure and technology Today, the Border Patrol has made significant strides in improving infrastructure and technology. For example, with the support of the National Guard during Operation Jump Start, the Border Patrol oversaw the completion of more than 75 miles of fencing, over 18 miles of all-weather roads and nearly 700 miles of repaired roads. The newly built fences, a significant enhancement to our border infrastructure will help Border Patrol agents gain, maintain and expand control of our nation’s borders. These permanent fixtures act as a force multiplier, enabling agents to more efficiently secure our border.

On the northern border, officials have taken measures to improve communication and data infrastructure to support remote sensors, and response to illegal entries. Also, the U.S. Border Patrol is testing new technologies that include sensors and cameras appropriate to the terrain and inclement weather conditions.

Working with other federal and international law enforcement agencies While the Border Patrol has intensified its recruiting efforts to increase manpower, targeted key areas that led to a decline in apprehensions and drug seizures, and has taken measures to improve infrastructure and technology, they have also continued to strengthen their partnerships with international law enforcement and intelligence officials, and with officials from other federal state, local, and tribal organizations by leveraging information and increasing communication and cooperation.

The Border Patrol partners with other federal, state, local, tribal, and Canadian law enforcement agencies through joint-task forces to pull together resources and expertise to protect Americans and Canadians from potential threats of terrorism. Another program is the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG), a partnership that was formed to address the national strategy for the coastal Border Patrol Sectors. Since its inception in 2006, the CBIG has been credited with significantly lowering the amount of illegal landings along Puerto Rico’s shoreline through interdictions at sea.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while  enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

Contacts For This News Release no address available at this time Border Patrol HQ Public Affairs Phone: (202) 344-1500