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Congresswoman Questions Border Patrol Chief's Strategic Plan

May 08, 2012  | 

Members of the Border Patrol's elite BORTAC unit train in El Paso. Photo: CBP
Members of the Border Patrol's elite BORTAC unit train in El Paso. Photo: CBP

The Border Patrol unveiled a new strategy Tuesday that lays out a blueprint to effectively deploy a windfall of agents and technology acquired in the past eight years.

Chief Michael Fisher, a former BORTAC (Border Patrol Tactical Unit) supervisor who took over the agency in May of 2010, told members of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee the new plan will shift Border Patrol response from a resource- to a risk-based approach.

Chief Fisher faced tough questioning from Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.) during the Tuesday hearing about the 32-page strategic plan she said "lacks a tangible way to measure our efforts on the border."

In the past eight years, the number of Border Patrol agents has doubled—there are now 21,370 sworn agents—and the agency has acquired $4 billion in high-tech equipment such as mobile video surveillance, hand-held thermal imagers, and synthetic-aperature radar (SAR).

The federal agency is still working to effectively deploy these new resources, Fisher said.

The strategic plan, Miller said, shifts the agency away from an "emphasis on proven techniques" such as full use of interior checkpoints to keep illegal immigrants from successfully crossing the border. Miller said many of the initiatives listed in the plan have already been implemented.

"What is really new in this strategic plan?," Miller asked Chief Fisher during pointed questioning.

Chief Fisher said the plan provides strategic direction allowing the agency to fully optimize its capability and implement an anti-smuggling tactic known as "change detection." The agency's high-tech tools now provide detailed aerial surveillance information from rugged landscapes.

"We weren't able to do that two years ago, because we did not have the technology to look into those areas," Fisher said.

Border agents patrolling the rugged landscape between points of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border typically redeploy resources once smuggling activity has decreased. Under the new strategy, agents will maintain a presence in low-activity areas in case smugglers return, sources told POLICE Magazine.

Under the plan, the agency is expected to expand its partnerships with local law enforcement agencies to acquire better information about the threat level of detainees to determine if they are drug cartel soldiers. The agency is also expected to increase funding to local agencies who receive Operation StoneGarden funds to perform border security.

View C-SPAN coverage of Tuesday's hearing here.

By Paul Clinton


Combating Human Smuggling

Comments (5)

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5

Frank @ 5/9/2012 4:51 AM

You need to deploy US Military Combat troops at the end of their tour for 180 days to assist Law enforcement in cleaning up this problem. Just think a sea of Military personel across the Southern border no matter where one turns he bumps into one.

Rick @ 5/9/2012 8:27 AM

Here's a plan; arrest illegals wherever you find them and ship them home. Stop doing car stops on the freeway; you can't tell if a brown person doing 75mph in an SUV is an illegal or a citizen. Instead of car stops, go by the landscaping businesses in the Coachella Valley (CA) and start arresting the illegals. Start going by the Home Depots in CA where the "day workers" congregate to look for illegal work. Put a UC with the illegals and start arresting not only the illegals, but the idiot people employing them. Expand the military so you don't need the National Guard to assist with Border Duties, then send the National Guard (armed of course) to deal with the border. If needed, conjur up Gen. Pershing and send some of the National Guard troops into Mexican territory to capture the banditos that are mocking our border by bringing terrorists, drugs, criminals and illegals across.

TripWire @ 5/9/2012 1:50 PM

@Rick----- Amen brother.

john wilson @ 5/10/2012 5:56 PM

The Border Patrol needs to be freed from Political correctness and allowed to do its job along the border and the interior of the US.

Raids on large produce farms, Turkey and Chicken factories, or agencies that employ day by day labor to detain and depot illegal aliens.

Only then will you stop the flow from Mexico, where more than 85% come from.

Billy @ 5/10/2012 6:58 PM

It was recently disclosed by a whistle-blower that the IRS issues illegal aliens a special registration number used to tax their income since thay can't have social security numbers. The aliens found a way in this system to get tax credits for their kids (or maybe their neices and nephews too) and one recently received a $24,000 tax refund! This is out-and-out fraud, but the IRS won't do anything about it. Since the IRS issues these numbers, they must have addresses to go with them, so it should be an easy matter for the government to scoop up the illeagals and deport them!

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