Measuring Border Security: U.S. Border Patrol’s New Strategic Plan and the Path Forward

U.S. Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher testifies before a House Homeland Security Subcommittee on the evolution of border security threats.

The U.S. Border Patrol recently released an updated five-year strategic plan, which is intended to shift in focus from being ‘resource-based’ to being ‘risk-based,’ which will apply resources based on the greatest border threats.

Members questioned the witnesses on how to best measure border security and asked about the implications for border security efforts.

Rebecca Gambler, Government Accountability Office acting director of homeland security and justice, and Marc Rosenblum, Immigration Policy specialist for the Congressional Research Service also testified.

The 2102 Strategy   plan has two interrelated and interdependent goals. In the first goal, the CBP will work with federal, state, tribal, and international partners to secure America’s borders using information, integration and rapid respond in a risk-based manner.

There are five objectives within this goal:

  1. Prevent Terrorists and Terrorist Threats Weapons from Entering the US
  2. Manage Risk
  3. Disrupt and Degrade Transnational Criminal Organization
  4. Whole-of-Government Approach
  5. Increase Community Engagement

With border crossings at a 40-year low, the U.S. Border Patrol announced a new strategy Tuesday that targets repeat crossers and tries to find out why they keeping coming. For nearly two decades, the Border Patrol has relied on a strategy that blanketed heavily trafficked corridors for illegal immigrants with agents, pushing migrants to more remote areas where they would presumably be easier to capture and discouraged from trying again.

Conditions on the border have changed dramatically since the last national strategy, putting pressure on the agency to adapt to a new landscape. An unprecedented hiring boom more than doubled the number of agents to 21,000 since 2004, accompanied by heavy spending on fencing, cameras, sensors and other gizmos.

At the same time, migration from Mexico has slowed significantly. Last year, the Border Patrol made 327,577 apprehensions on the Mexican border, down 80 percent from more than 1.6 million in 2000. It was the slowest year since 1971. The Pew Hispanic Center reported last month that the largest wave of migrants from a single country in U.S. history had stopped increasing and may have reversed.

The strategy makes only brief mention of technology in the wake of a failed $1 billion program that was supposed to put a network of cameras, ground sensors and radars along the entire border. But the new strategy should also encourage Both Republicans and Democrats,  while maintaining focus criminal organization, move forward to  develop a legal framework to bring in the necessary low-skilled workers to do jobs that natives workers won’t do. According to CBO, currently, 75%   jobs perform by undocumented  workers  are jobs that native workers won’t perform.

you can read the full report by CBP  here>>

You can read the full testimony by U.S. Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher here>>

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