Border Security: The Role of the U.S. Border Patrol [Updated January 25, 2006]   [open pdf - 359KB]

"The United States Border Patrol (USBP) has a long and storied history as our nations first line of defense against unauthorized migration. Today, the USBP's 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...Some issues for Congress to consider could include the slow rate of integration between the USBP's biometric database of illegal aliens and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) biometric database of criminals and terrorists; the number of unauthorized aliens who die attempting to enter the country each year; the organized human smuggling rings that have proliferated as entering the country has become more difficult; and the threat posed by terrorists along the sparsely defended Northern border as well as the more porous Southwest border."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL32562
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