Breaking it Down: Border Patrol Strategic Plan 2012 - 2016


On May 8th, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released a new 5-year strategy on border control and enforcement, the first in eight years. It essentially ushers in a new era in immigration policing, including harsher and more aggressive prosecution for anyone who attempts to cross the border from Texas' Rio Grande Valley to San Diego, CA. In effect, this would deepen the criminalization crisis in immigrant communities living under the constant threat of detention or deportation due to programs like "Secure Communities" and rampant racial profiling by police.

Coalicion de Derechos Humanos (based in Tucson, AZ) reports that a significantly large number of people prosecuted in the Tucson sector for "illegal re-entry" have deep roots in U.S. communities and were attempting to reunite with their families. Under Operation Streamline, the US government has been able to prosecute migrants en masse and fasttrack them through a process that brands them with a criminal record for attempting to enter the country, often to reunite with families and loved ones. With this new strategy, the government won't need Streamline in order to funnel people, even first-time crossers, through the criminal justice system and permanently brand them and exclude them from the possibility of ever adjusting their status or entering the country legally. 

Some key elements in the Border Patrol's report include: 

  • "Risk-based approach to securing the border": There isn't much clarity in the report about how risk will be assessed or measured and raises critical concerns about the troubling patterns of excesive use of force resulting in the tragic deaths and serious injury to at least nine people since 2010. 
  • "Using information, integration and rapid response in targeted, effective, and efficient manner": No doubt the role of technology has facilitated the collaboration between law enforcement agencies at every level including city, county, state, and tribal at unprecedented levels. The impact of law enforcement collaboration with immigration officials for border communities who live within the 100-mile zone has been disastrous and devastating.    
  • "Targeted Enforcement" and "Consequence Delivery Systems": The most troubling component of the new Border Patrol strategy is that while it claims to coordinate efforts to strengthen security through "targeted enforcement" in order to "disrupt and degrade transnational criminal organizations." The reality is that they are ushering in a new era of criminalization, expanding the existing apparatus of border control and enforcement from the desert to the courthouse. Under the guise of "targeting," "prioritizing" and assessing risk, countless numbers of migrants will be ushered through a courtroom, branded with a criminal record (for "illegal entry" or "re-entry"), and jailed or deported. According to CBP, "Consequence Delivery Systems provides a process... to apply post-arrest consequences... to break the smuggling cycle and end the subject's desire to attempt further illegal entry."  

This is the same line that the Obama Administration has used to justify racial profiling programs such as "Secure Communities" and its overall deportation strategy, saying they will prioritize "dangerous criminals" as a way to create a wedge in our communities and mask the practice. 

Follow this link to download the full report. 


News articles 

The Arizona Border: Drones, Technology and Social Strategy (Opposing Views, 6/7/12)

Don't Come Back... or Else: The Ordeal of Perez-Mendez (Counterpunch, 5/17/12)

We will continue to monitor news and other analyses on the Border Patrol's overall strategy and implementation.

Check back soon for more info!