Border Security: Immigration Enforcement Between Ports of Entry [December 31, 2014] [open pdf - 685KB]
"Border enforcement is a core element of the Department of Homeland Security's effort to control unauthorized migration, with the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) within the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as the lead agency along most of the border. Border enforcement has been an ongoing subject of congressional interest since the 1970s, when illegal immigration to the United States first registered as a serious national problem; and border security has received additional attention in the years since the terrorist attacks of 2001. Since the 1990s, migration control at the border has been guided by a strategy of 'prevention through deterrence'--the idea that the concentration of personnel, infrastructure, and surveillance technology along heavily trafficked regions of the border will discourage unauthorized aliens from attempting to enter the United States. Since 2005, CBP has attempted to discourage repeat illegal migrant entries and disrupt migrant smuggling networks by imposing tougher penalties against certain unauthorized aliens, a set of policies eventually described as 'enforcement with consequences.' Most people apprehended at the Southwest border are now subject to 'high consequence' enforcement outcomes."
CRS Report for Congress, R42138