The National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) Media FAQ is intended to assist the media with reporting stories related to Border Patrol Agents, the U.S. Border Patrol, and the official position of NBPC on various issues.
Our official title job title is "Border Patrol Agent". Unfortunately, too many members of the media incorrectly refer to us as: "border officers"; "border guards", "border agents", "border inspectors", "border control agents", "customs agents", or confuse us with Customs and Border Protection Officers (CBPOs).
Subsequent to the passing of the Homeland Security Act, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was created. As a result, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was eliminated and components of INS were transferred to different Agencies within DHS:
The United States Border Patrol (USBP) was placed under Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Inspectors from the INS, the Customs Service, and the Department of Agriculture were placed under CBP and their positions were merged into one position: Customs and Border Protection Officers (CBPOs). CBPOs are assigned to sea, air, and land Ports of Entry around the United States where they inspect people and goods entering the United States.
Detention and Enforcement Officers (DEOs), who handled the transportation and detention of illegal aliens apprehended by the USBP were placed under Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)and their position was converted to Immigration Enforcement Agents (IEAs). As a result, the USBP no longer has DEOs to handle the transportation and detention of USBP apprehensions. The functions served by DEOs were ultimately awarded to a private contractor.
Criminal Investigators and Deportation Officers were transferred to ICE and merged with Criminal Investigators from the Customs Service.
All other positions within the Legacy INS that dealt with the processing and adjudication of petitions for immigration documents were transferred to Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS).
Border Patrol Agents primarily work in between the Ports of Entry or at traffic checkpoints on major highways leading away from the border. Contrary to what some politicians, journalists, and open-border activists claim, Border Patrol Agents do have the authority to work anywhere in the United States.
In 1994, the Border Patrol implemented the National Border Patrol Strategy (NBPS), which placed all the emphasis of the Border Patrol on the border. The NBPS was revised in September 2004.
In conjunction with the implementation of the NBPS, interior enforcement operations by the Border Patrol were restricted by administrative policies and are almost non-existent today in certain sectors of the Border Patrol. Although the Border Patrol has the authority to conduct operations in the interior of the United States, the lack of interior enforcement has led to confusion in recent years regarding the Border Patrol's authority to conduct interior enforcement operations. (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1302853/posts).
The NBPS was historically foolishly based on a philosophy of "prevention through deterrence". The Agency claimed that an increase in manpower and resources at the border would deter people from entering the United States. The revised NBPS claims deterrence is accomplished by increasing the "certainty of apprehension" of those intending to illegally cross the borders.
Proof that the NBPS does not deter people from entering the United States is the number of people who are caught more than once and the number of people who attempt to enter the United States.
Although not cited within the original NBPS or the newly revised NBPS, the NBPS is actually based on a strategy of "displacement", which has been used for years by police departments to address high-crime areas within a city. In basic terms, a local police force uses the strategy of displacement by increasing the police presence in a high-crime area in an attempt to chase-away the criminals. The goal of the operation is to chase the criminals out of the city, but in bigger cities, the criminals usually move to another part of the city.
For the Border Patrol, displacement was only successful in redirecting the traffic to a different area of the border, but was not successful in reducing the flow of people illegally entering the United States.
Overall, the strategy is a failure. However, Agency officials routinely misrepresent the facts in an attempt to mislead the politicians and the public:
Agency officials routinely capitalized on statistics from the sectors like San Diego to claim the NBPS was successful, but ignored other areas of the border where traffic increased.
If apprehensions increase in an area, the Agency claims the increase proves that the operation is a success resulting from an increase in resources (See example).
If apprehensions decrease in an area, the Agency claims the decrease proves that the operation is a success and proves the NBPS is deterring people from entering the country (See example).
The Agency never mentioned the number of people who successfully entered the country because the Agency intentionally has no desire to maintain the data.
One other important note regarding apprehensions, when the Agency claimed apprehensions decreased, they never specifically explained the decrease. In many cases, the decrease was directly linked to a decrease in other operations (i.e. interior patrol, roving patrol, etc.) and policies which restricted agents from making apprehensions outside of their "assigned location".
Operation Gatekeeper was implemented in the San Diego Sector (SDC) in 1994. At that time, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) sent the majority of trainees to SDC, along with new vehicles and equipment. According to the original NBPS, SDC needed approximately 2500 to 2700 agents to secure the border in SDC's area of operation. SDC created several static positions along the border and staffed them with Border Patrol Agents. Officials in SDC claimed the static positions were necessary to the philosophy of deterrence.
While SDC was receiving all of the new resources, Border Patrol Sectors to the east of SDC remained at the same staffing levels (i.e. El Centro Sector, Yuma Sector, Tucson Sector, etc.)
In 1996, almost two years after Operation Gatekeeper was implemented, the El Centro Sector finally started to receive the resources it needed to address the increased flow of illegal immigration. In other words, for two years San Diego Sector pushed traffic to an area of the border that was understaffed and unprepared to deal with the increased traffic. Of course, the Agency never reported the traffic that was entering through El Centro during that time and instead only focused on the alleged successes in San Diego.
At the same time, the Agency began detailing agents from other sectors to temporary details in El Centro. Each detail lasted approximately thirty-five days. On average, San Diego Sector detailed approximately 200 agents. These details were an enormous waste of taxpayer money and were the direct result of the NBPS. The Union argued that the Agency should abandon the NBPS or at least offer paid moves to the various locations, which would have cost less, but with taxpayer money to waste, the Agency continued the details.
The NBPS is extremely manpower intensive. The NBPS calls for a mix of personnel, technology, and infrastructure, but the personnel still has to be increased under this strategy to protect the infrastructure and technology and to respond to illegal aliens detected using technology.
Currently, the National Border Patrol Council believes the only available method of determining the success of the NBPS is the number of illegal aliens residing in the United States. Since that number has steadily increased since the NBPS were implemented, the NBPC contends that the NBPS is a failure and has only successfully slowed the flow of people entering the country illegally in populated areas.
Placing a majority of the resources on the border to address illegal immigration is as ridiculous as a baseball team placing all the players in the infield. Essentially, we are a baseball team without an outfield and we are losing every inning.
The NBPS is not concerned with the negative affects of displacement on remote areas of the border (out of the public eye) and the Ports of Entry.
The NBPS does not take into account the potential for an increase in fraudulent documents.
The NBPS does not have any impact on those persons who enter the country legally, but reside beyond the date they are expected to leave the United States.
The NBPC disagrees with wasting taxpayer money on building fences and walls along the border as a means of curtailing illegal entries into the United States. However, as long as we continue to operate under the current NBPS and ignore the problem that is causing illegal immigration, we realize fences and walls are essential.
Walls and fences are temporary solutions that focus on the symptom (illegal immigration) rather than the problem (employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens).
Walls and fences are only a speed bump. People who want to come to the United States to obtain employment will continue to go over, under, and around the walls and fences that are constructed.
Walls and fences will undoubtedly result in an increase in fraudulent documents and smuggling through the Ports of Entry.
Walls and fences do not solve the issue of people entering the country legally and staying beyond the date they are required to leave the country, a problem which will undoubtedly increase as more walls and fences are constructed.
The NBPC position regarding walls and fences is not due to a concern of losing our jobs if fences and walls are built. On the contrary, the NBPC realizes that walls and fences require just as much manpower to protect them. Border Patrol Agents witness what happens to walls and fences when there are not enough Border Patrol agents to protect them.
Politicians, media spokespersons, and illegal immigrant advocates like to mislead the public into believing a temporary guest worker program will solve illegal immigration in the United States.
The amnesty that passed in 1986 used the same fundamentally flawed theory and resulted in an increase of people illegally entering the United States for years to follow.
As long as the number of people who want to come to the United States to work is greater than the number of temporary guest worker permits, people will continue to enter the United States illegally in search of work.
The United States will never be able to match the number of guest worker permits with the number of people in the World who want to come to the United States to work.
When speaking about illegal immigration, everyone appears to agree on one issue: an overwhelming majority of people enter the United States illegally to obtain employment. Based on the assumption this is true, one can only conclude that the current problem for the United States is employers who hire illegal aliens. Illegal immigration is merely a symptom of that problem. Consequently, if any politicians are truly interested in stemming the flow of illegal immigration, then they should focus on the problem and stop focusing on the symptom.
Therefore, to solve the problem, the United States should focus enforcement efforts on U.S. employers, not illegal aliens or the border. The NBPC's plan consists of the following:
The Federal Bureau of Investigation shall be the Agency responsible for the detection and apprehension of terrorists in the country, as they were before 9/11.
Components of the Legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service and Customs Service which were moved into the Department of Homeland Security and had their primary missions shifted to terrorism should return to their primary missions. For Border Patrol, this means returning the primary mission to detect and prevent the entry of illegal aliens into the United States. Detecting terrorists, just like detecting drugs, will occur subsequent to fulfilling the primary mission.
Abolish the National Border Patrol Strategy and reallocate a portion of the resources to the interior of the country. Using Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and Border Patrol agents, the new strategy will place a priority on targeting employers who hire illegal aliens. Initially, these operations will also include day labor sites, illegal alien encampments, and locations where illegal aliens typically congregate on city streets throughout the country. Employer enforcement will include an inspection of records pertaining to employees and the business owners.
Enhance the Social Security card with biometric information (picture, fingerprint, etc.) to identify the cardholder and assist employers with verifying the identity of the applicant. Similar to a state drivers license or credit card, the card should have a magnetic strip on the back with information about the card holder. The magnetic strip will enable employers to swipe the card through a card reader, which would be connected to a computer database run by the Social Security Administration. The Social Security card would be issued to U.S. citizens and immigrants who have been approved to work in the United States.
Provide a service for employers to verify if a person is eligible to work in the United States. This service should include a device for reading the magnetic strip on the new Social Security card and a toll-free number for small businesses to call to verify eligibility. The toll-free number should be staffed by employees from the Social Security Administration with support from Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Employers who violate Immigration laws will receive one warning. Thereafter, they will be subject to a table of increasing fines, with imprisonment at the top of the table for repeat offenders. This shall include contractors who willingly violate immigration and tax laws by hiring and paying cash to illegal aliens who stand on city streets, day-labor sites, and at Home Depot parking lots throughout the United States.
Fines collected from employers will be used to provide the service used by employers to check the eligibility of workers. Additionally, a portion of the fines collected will go to a fund to assist families of law enforcement officers who are killed in the line of duty by illegal aliens and families of law enforcement officers who are killed in the line of duty while protecting the United States borders.
This plan must be implemented nationally or illegal aliens will only be displaced to other parts of the country, much like the National Border Patrol Strategy, which only displaces illegal aliens to the ports of entry and unpopulated areas of the border and then ignores them once they escape detection.
Any new temporary worker permits should only be available to those who have not violated U.S. immigration laws and who are not currently residing within the United States illegally.
Finally, the United States must cut-off all benefits to illegal aliens to guarantee illegal aliens will return to their country of origin.
Benefits of this plan:
Employers will realize they are no longer free to hire illegal aliens
People will no longer sneak into the United States to find work that does not exist
The myth that the United States will have to deport millions of people will be proven false because an overwhelmingly majority of illegal aliens will voluntarily return to their country of origin in search of work.
Most of the taxpayer money which is currently wasted on detention and transportation of illegal aliens will be eliminated because illegal aliens will voluntarily leave the country in search of work.
It will save the taxpayers millions of dollars in the proposed construction of fences and/or walls along the border.
The unemployment rate will decrease because U.S. employers will be forced to hire U.S. citizens and immigrants who are legally in the United States and eligible for work.
It will undoubtedly take pressure off the border and leave Border Patrol Agents free to chase down drug smugglers, criminals, and terrorists who are attempting to enter the country illegally, since this plan focuses on eliminating the magnet that draws people to the United States.
The FBI, DEA, ATF, and police officers will have an easier job of identifying terrorists, criminals, and drug smugglers who are residing in the United States since they will no longer be able to blend in with the enormous illegal alien population that currently resides within the United States.
On September 11, 2001, during an address to a joint session of Congress and the American people, President Bush said, "And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism." Until Republicans and Democrats stop focusing on the symptoms and start concentrating on the problem, the United States will continue to be a nation that provides safe haven to terrorists. With all this rhetoric about “terrorism”, does it make any sense for the United States to continue to ignore the problem, knowing full-well the terrorists can and will exploit it in the future to cause further harm to the United States?
As long as the Border Patrol continues to place priority on the quantity of recruits rather than the quality of recruits, corruption within the Border Patrol will continue to be a problem.
The NBPC opposes all efforts by AFL-CIO to aid and support illegal aliens working illegally within the United States. Instead of focusing on increasing their per capita and membership through illegal aliens, the AFL-CIO should firmly oppose illegal immigration and instead support American workers.
The statistics show when immigration was low, Unions were stronger (http://www.numbersusa.com/interests/unions.html).
The NBPC challenges AFL-CIO to reconsider their priorities and support American workers and immigration enforcement in the interior and at the workplace.