Border Patrol to Toughen Policy

Elliot Spagat, My Way, January 17, 2012

The U.S. Border Patrol is moving to halt a revolving-door policy of sending migrants back to Mexico without any punishment.

The agency this month is overhauling its approach on migrants caught illegally crossing the 1,954-mile border that the United States shares with Mexico. {snip}

The number of agents since 2004 has more than doubled to 21,000. The Border Patrol has blanketed one-third of the border with fences and other physical barriers, and spent heavily on cameras, sensors and other gizmos. Major advances in fingerprinting technology have vastly improved intelligence on border-crossers. In the 2011 fiscal year, border agents made 327,577 apprehensions on the Mexican border, down 80 percent from more than 1.6 million in 2000. It was the Border Patrol’s slowest year since 1971.


The Border Patrol now feels it has enough of a handle to begin imposing more serious consequences on almost everyone it catches, from areas including Texas’ Rio Grande Valley to San Diego. The “Consequence Delivery System”—a key part of the Border Patrol’s new national strategy to be announced within weeks—relies largely on tools that have been rolled out over the last decade on parts of the border and expanded. It divides border crossers into seven categories, ranging from first-time offenders to people with criminal records.

Punishments vary by region but there is a common thread: Simply turning people around after taking their fingerprints is the choice of last resort. Some, including children and the medically ill, will still get a free pass by being turned around at the nearest border crossing, but they will be few and far between.


Consequences can be severe for detained migrants and expensive to American taxpayers, including felony prosecution or being taken to an unfamiliar border city hundreds of miles away to be sent back to Mexico. One tool used during summers in Arizona involves flying migrants to Mexico City, where they get one-way bus tickets to their hometowns. Another releases them to Mexican authorities for prosecution south of the border. One puts them on buses to return to Mexico in another border city that may be hundreds of miles away.

In the past, migrants caught in Douglas, Ariz., were given a bologna sandwich and orange juice before being taken back to Mexico at the same location on the same afternoon, Fisher said. Now, they may spend the night at an immigration detention facility near Phoenix and eventually return to Mexico through Del Rio, Texas, more than 800 miles away.


The new strategy was first introduced a year ago in the office at Tucson, Ariz., the patrol’s busiest corridor for illegal crossings. Field supervisors ranked consequences on a scale from 1 to 5 using 15 different yardsticks, including the length of time since the person was last caught and per-hour cost for processing.

The longstanding practice of turning migrants straight around without any punishment, known as “voluntary returns,” ranked least expensive—and least effective.


Now, a first-time offender faces different treatment than one caught two or three times. A fourth-time violator faces other consequences.


Only about 10 percent of those apprehended now get “voluntary returns” in the Tucson sector, down from about 85 percent three years ago, said Rick Barlow, the sector chief. {snip}



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  • This does not read like any “toughening” immigration policy to me.  Before, we turn them right around back to Mexico.  Now, we bring them into the interior of the country for immigration prosecution which will never take place, and using one technicality or another, they’ll stay here for good.  Back door amnesty, IMHO.  The longer they stay, the longer they’re going to get to stay.

  • Anonymous

    This new plan doesn’t seem very effective.

    Perhaps a better idea would be to notch their ears/noses; that method of identification has been proven quite effective in ferral cat colonies. At a glance one can tell if they have been altered, or in this case, if they have violated immigration laws.

    It does not have to be inhumane, a topical anesthetic could be applied along with anti-biotic ointment. Yes, it sounds a bit Draconian but it is inexpensive, and would likely be very effective.

  • Anonymous

    21,000 border agents? How many are not named Gonzalez, Martinez or Rodriguez?

  • Anonymous

    The quicker we can get them out of the country the better. I’d be all for this, if we could keep them out, once we got them out.

  • Anonymous

    We should ship all illegal immigrants out and remove American citizenship from their children.

    After a certain date, all border jumpers should be forcibly sterilized and branded like cattle for coming across the border illegally with the letters “I.I.” for Illegal Immigrant, like the infamous scarlet “A”.

    Legal immigration from Mexico should be limited to about 100 people per year and only on a temporary basis.

    However, I do feel for these people that Mexico is not a nice place to live.  That is Felipe Calderon’s problem, NOT OURS.

  • John Maddox

    It is an election year and Obama Marx wants to make it look like he is doing something. But we all know that much of this is just news speak and we will still be stuck with the ones that are already  here.
    No matter who wins in November no one is going to be shipped back home.

  • What they don’t tell you is as soon as these same illegal invaders can make it across the border unchallenged, they will have no problems finding refuge in any number of sancturay cities, who have adopted a hands off policy when it comes to illegal invading hispanics.

     This new “get tough” policy is coming from an administration who is suing several states in federal court for having the audicity to defend themselves against this illegal invasion being perpetraited against us. In Arizona, hispanics had a fit that a police officer might even dare ask about ones immigration status if they were pulled over for a legitimate reason and could not produce a drivers license. Hispanic “advocates” expect police officers to disregard the obvious when confronting someone who cannot produce a vaild license and does not speak a word of English.

    And yet we are exepcted to believe there will be a new “get tough” policy enacted at the border?

    Only in America are the actual invaders allowed to define the rules of engagement.

  • Anonymous

    breaking.. philly black mob beats 64 yr old vietnam at random on street SO BRUTALLY THEY ARE charged atempt murder told police THEY BEAT HIM FOR FUN

  • Anonymous

    Stop the magnet for illegals….anchor baby citizenship, which they parlay into government bennies.

    Stop all bennies for illegals. No employment for illegals  and a mandatory E-verify throughout the USA.