Border Security: Immigration Enforcement Between Ports of Entry [December 18, 2014] [open pdf - 645KB]
From the summary: "Across a variety of indicators, the United States has substantially expanded border enforcement resources over the last three decades. Particularly since 2001, such increases include border security appropriations, personnel, fencing and infrastructure, and surveillance technology. In addition to increased resources, the USBP has implemented several strategies over the past several decades in an attempt to thwart illegal migration. Recently, the Obama Administration announced executive actions to 'fix' the immigration system. These actions address numerous issues, including a security plan at the southern border. The Border Patrol collects data on several different border enforcement outcomes; and this report describes trends in border apprehensions, recidivism, and estimated got aways and turn backs. Yet none of these existing data are designed to measure illegal border flows or the degree to which the border is secured. Thus, the report also describes methods for estimating illegal border flows based on enforcement data and migrant surveys. […] Enhanced border enforcement also may have contributed to a number of secondary costs and benefits. To the extent that border enforcement successfully deters illegal entries, such enforcement may reduce border-area violence and migrant deaths, protect fragile border ecosystems, and improve the quality of life in border communities. But to the extent that aliens are not deterred, the concentration of enforcement resources on the border may increase border area violence and migrant deaths, encourage unauthorized migrants to find new ways to enter illegally and to remain in the United States for longer periods of time, damage border ecosystems, harm border-area businesses and the quality of life in border communities, and strain U.S. relations with Mexico and Canada."
CRS Report for Congress, R42138