Backgrounder: Southwest Border Security Operations

December 30, 2010

The US-Mexico Border stretches 1,951 miles from San Diego, California, to Brownsville, Texas. It is the most frequently crossed international border in the world.[1] Even before the most dramatic expansions of border enforcement resources and personnel in the last few years, a variety of Border Patrol operations and enforcement strategies attempted to scale up law enforcement presence on the border and crack down on those attempting to cross illegally, whether they had criminal intent or not.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is the agency chiefly responsible for border security. CBP is charged with monitoring all international ports of entry and preventing cross-border travel other than through formal ports of entry. CBP reports that on a typical day in 2008, its officers welcomed 1.1 million people crossing through the nation’s 327 land, air and seaports, while apprehending approximately 2,800 illegal entrants at and between the ports of entry (POE).[2] In trying to control the flows of traffic across the border, both through ports of entry and between, CBP has created a dizzying number of border enforcement programs, policies, operations, and strategies. [3]

CBP administration divides the southern border into nine sectors (see map).[4] While federal law provides for uniform border enforcement, whether to monitor trade, travel, migration, or criminal activities, in practice the application of border security programs varies dramatically from region to region. Different border sectors within CBP enforce immigration and criminal laws differently, prosecuting some immigrants, detaining or releasing others, intermittently blockading some regions with people or physical barriers, emphasizing deterrence strategies, or focusing on crime and smuggling. Pilot operations are quickly launched and tossed out, leaving an unpredictable and nearly un-navigable tangle of activities and programs. Even within a single sector, policies may differ between five or ten mile stretches of the border.


In examining the various strategies of border patrol and enforcement, it is important to remember the context of security operations. Along the border live 6.3 million Americans on one side, and 6 million Mexicans on the other, many of whom have family or work on both sides of the border. Border enforcement operations have turned their neighborhoods into militarized zones, where normal activities can attract suspicion and driving involves constant stops with law enforcement, no matter what legal status an individual may have. In the American Southwest, checkpoints, searches, arrests, interrogations, and dangerous high speed chases are part of daily life.[5] As border security develops and expands, border residents seek accountability and responsibility from the thousands of federal agents operating in their communities. Putting together the disparate pieces of border enforcement and developing more consistent and accountable policies is a necessary step in stabilizing the southwest border region.

SBI, the Secure Borders Initiative

The Secure Borders Initiative (SBI) is DHS’s “comprehensive multiyear plan to secure America’s borders and reduce illegal migration.”[6] The overall vision for the SBI, as elaborated by former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff, included increased numbers of Border Patrol agents, expanded detention and removal, technology upgrades, infrastructure expansion, and pursuit of interior enforcement such as workplace raids. Along with increases in “tactical infrastructure” (fence) and technological expansions, Chertoff and former Commissioners of CBP Robert Bonner and Ralph Basham expanded Border Patrol forces substantially in order to prevent undocumented migrants from entering.

These priorities have changed somewhat in the Obama Administration, which has put more resources toward countering currency, weapons, and human smuggling and drug trafficking in response to the escalation of narcotics-related violence in northern Mexico. In April of 2009, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano released “The Southwest Border: The Way Ahead,” detailing the new administration’s priorities and programs, which focus particularly on international drug and gun smuggling and criminal investigations.[7] In June of 2009, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) released the National Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy.[8]

Under President Obama, cooperation between U.S. and Mexican law enforcement and intelligence agencies has expanded significantly. In February 2010, DHS Secretary Napolitano and Mexican Secretary of Public Safety Genaro García Luna signed a Declaration of Principles of Coordination on efforts regarding both security and travel and trade.[9] On May 20, 2010, President Obama and President Calderon signed the Declaration by The Government Of The United States Of America and The Government Of The United Mexican States Concerning Twenty-First Century Border Management,” outlining principles, goals for collaboration, and commitments to improving border management in many ways.[10]

The Border Wall

The Secure Fence Act of 2006 prescribed construction of a preventative wall across 670 miles of the Southwest border, replacing the former fencing. Stretches of the border wall gird 649 miles of the border, although not completely contiguously. Nearly every feasible mile of the border from the Pacific Ocean at the San Diego beach across to El Paso is lined with a combination of tall pedestrian fencing and traffic-blocking vehicle fencing. East of El Paso, the Rio Grande acts as a natural barrier for most of the Texas border, with discrete stretches of wall in urban areas.

The wall has been profoundly controversial, both in initial concept and in assessments of its effectiveness at preventing crossings.[11] Border communities, Native American tribes, and environmental groups have decried the wall’s damage to neighborhoods and social patterns, as well as waterways and migratory routes.[12] Mexican authorities likewise condemned the wall as a symbol of hostility and hypocrisy.[13]

Mireya Leal shares a picnic lunch through the U.S.-Mexico border fence with her husband Raymundo Orozco on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2006, in Tijuana, Mexico.  The couple, who have been married for six years, have been meeting every weekend for seven months, while they are working on immigration papers. Neither can currently cross the border. - AP

Mireya Leal shares a picnic lunch through the U.S.-Mexico border fence with her husband Raymundo Orozco on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2006, in Tijuana, Mexico. The couple, who have been married for six years, have been meeting every weekend for seven months, while they are working on immigration papers. Neither can currently cross the border. – AP

Friendship Park in San Diego marks the site of the first U.S.-Mexico Boundary Commission in 1848, with a monument in English and Spanish marking the peaceful boundary of the two countries. The park sits atop Monument Mesa, and for decades has been a popular place for people to come meet family and friends on the other side of the chain link fence.[14] In early January 2009, the Border Patrol announced that they were closing the park and constructing a second layer of fencing, and dirt patrol roads between the two layers, that would prevent meetings at the border. Last December, at an annual cultural event traditionally held at the park, only 25 people were permitted entry to the US side, which is now a security zone between primary and secondary fencing. Human touch between sides was no longer possible.[15]

Photo by Friends of Friendship Park

Photo by Friends of Friendship Park

To date, 649 miles of barrier have been installed on the US-Mexico border. The vast majority of the barrier runs from western California, through Arizona and New Mexico, to El Paso, but stretches of fence split other regions in the Texas valley. The fence has 350 miles of pedestrian fencing and 299 of vehicle fencing;[16] and only 6 miles of pedestrian fencing remain to be constructed.[17] However, CBP recently announced plans to resume construction on a 14 mile stretch of the border in Texas, in spite of condemnation of the plans by the International Boundary Water Commission.[18]

SBInet Surveillance

SBInet, also known as the ‘virtual fence,’ involves technological enhancements to make up for a lack of personnel or physical barriers in remote areas. Through SBInet, DHS seeks to monitor the border with increased surveillance technology. SBInet was launched with a pilot program called Project 28, which refers to the 28 mile stretch of Arizona border in the Tucson sector where the virtual fence was to be erected.


SBInet intended to create technological monitoring of miles of border that would automatically detect illicit traffic and alert Border Patrol. “The sensors, radars, and cameras are to gather information along the border, and the system is to transmit this information to the COP terminals located in command centers and agent vehicles and assemble this information to provide CBP agents with border situational awareness.”[19] SBInet replaced two former programs, the Integrated Surveillance Intelligence System, and the America’s Shield Initiative.[20] Both of these programs had similar goals, but were scrapped due to mismanagement and failure of equipment.[21]  In 2006, DHS awarded Boeing a contract for the newest iteration: SBInet.

Reports have demonstrated that SBInet technology has significant weaknesses and has generally failed to operate as intended.[22] The system was supposed to locate a target with radar and then use cameras to determine what triggered the radar pickup, whether a person or car or just an animal. However, the program information was too slow to appear on screens to be effective, and was often triggered by rain and or weather. In contrast to longer range radar, the cameras could see only about three miles, and the stylus-controlled laptops mounted on moving vehicles were not rugged enough and were difficult to use.[23] In March, 2010, with $1.6 billion spent on the program, Secretary Napolitano suspended any further spending on SBInet pending full review of the project, and diverted $35 million planned spending to other projects.[24] In October 2010, after the Government Accountability Office reported that DHS had failed to adequately oversee Boeing’s contract, DHS granted a one month extension on the contract, now set to expire on December 18, 2010, and Congress is awaiting report back from DHS on further steps.[25]

Nonetheless, a massive amount of technological equipment is installed in the Southwest to detect people, weapons, and drugs making illicit crossings. Thousands of cameras, ground sensors, radar towers, imaging systems and other sensory equipment cover miles of deserts and scan millions of people and cargo every day.[26]

Border Enforcement Operations

A long and intricate political history surrounds border control in the United States, during which many different patrol tactics and enforcement operations have been initiated and faded out.[27] Border security began its most dramatic changes, however, in the early 1990s, as increased migration through the southern border provoked agitation from the public and policy-makers. The Clinton administration developed a new strategy for border enforcement: deterrence. Rather than apprehending people once they had entered the U.S., Border Patrol sought to stop them from entering at all. From a new strategy in the 1990s, deterrence has developed into the primary focus of border enforcement efforts.

Operation Gatekeeper and Hold-the-Line

Deterrence as a border enforcement goal manifested in two large-scale operations: Operation Hold-the-Line in El Paso (originally called Operation Blockade) and Operation Gatekeeper in San Diego. These two programs significantly increased security personnel in the San Diego and El Paso areas, stationing Border Patrol agents clearly in public view and within eyeshot of each other, with an emphasis on preventing any attempt to cross. In addition, back-up teams were stationed slightly further into the interior to apprehend those who made it past the first lines of defense. In El Paso, although the program was initially popular for providing relief from the prior patrols roving through the city, those roadblocks and invasive patrolling and questioning actually shifted to concentrate in low-income and immigrant neighborhoods, fomenting a backlash from the community.[28]

Memorial to those who died - Photo by Rocky Neptune

Memorial to those who died – Photo by Rocky Neptune

After Operation Hold-the-Line, introduced in 1993, showed a drop in apprehensions, CBP modeled Operation Gatekeeper in San Diego after it. The stated intent was deterrence of all potential undocumented crossers, rather than a focus on apprehensions.[29] Operation Gatekeeper did cause a significant reduction in apprehensions in San Diego, although the effect was to push undocumented crossers east toward the undefended middle ground in Arizona, which was largely open desert.[30] Meanwhile, a public allegation from the Border Patrol Union claimed that agents in San Diego were encouraged to underreport their apprehensions of undocumented immigrants so Operation Gatekeeper would appear effective.[31] A DOJ Office of the Inspector General investigation did not substantiate those claims.[32]

Operations Hold-the-Line and Gatekeeper made big headlines and prompted significant public debate. While the Border Patrol proclaimed them highly successful for reducing the numbers of illegal crossings, human rights groups complained of the dramatic increase in migrant deaths and civil rights violations along the border.[33] In addition, migration analysts and the GAO agreed that while Gatekeeper and Hold-the-Line reduced unregulated migrant crossings in patrolled areas, there was no evidence that this caused a decrease in illegal crossings of the border overall.[34] Meanwhile, the marked increase in deaths from dehydration and hypothermia of people crossing more dangerous terrain was undisputed, as nearly 2000 people were known to have died attempting to cross the border between 1998 and 2004. Deaths have numbered several hundred each year since 2005, with estimates from a very conservative 3,861 to plausibly as many as 5,607 total between 1994 and 2009.[35] An additional 238 people have died in the Arizona deserts alone in 2010.[36]

In response to the perceived success of Gatekeeper and Hold-the-Line at reducing what had been very large numbers of illegal entries, and to combat the increased flow of illegal entries through areas not patrolled by Gatekeeper and Hold-the-Line, the Border Patrol launched two additional, similar programs in the late 1990s. Operation Rio Grande in southeast Texas began in 1997, and Operation Safeguard launched around Nogales, Arizona in 1999.[37]

The deterrence strategy embodied in Operations Gatekeeper and Hold-the-Line precipitated a growth in Border Patrol enforcement operations in the Southwest that continues to appeal to policy-makers. In particular, deterrence has spurred continual growth in law enforcement agents deployed to monitor the border. Between 1995 and 1999, the peak Gatekeeper era, Border Patrol forces grew from 4200 agents to 8200.[38] During the Bush administration, the Border Patrol nearly tripled, reaching more than 20,000 agents by the end of his term. In addition, between 2006 and 2008, President Bush deployed 6,000 National Guard troops to the border as part of Operation Jump Start, imitated in 2010 under President Obama, with 1,200 troops sent to assist CBP in border security efforts.[39] This ubiquitous law enforcement presence in border communities has resulted in dramatic effects in the daily lives of border residents. Border Patrol stops, checkpoints, and enforcement activities are part of every day; it is impossible to drive out of the town of Las Cruces, New Mexico, in any direction without going through a Border Patrol checkpoint.

Ending Catch and Release

Even with the advent of deterrence strategies under Gatekeeper and Hold-the-Line, the Border Patrol’s primary method of border enforcement involved a policy that agents derisively called “catch and release.” Apprehended unauthorized crossers, who were primarily from Mexico, would sign voluntary removal agreements, and then immediately returned across the border, without formal removal proceedings. Those who were not from Mexico were often released within the U.S., after receiving a court date for a removal hearing. Individuals apprehended at ports of entry were subject to expedited removal, wherein DHS (and legacy INS) officers issued orders of removal themselves, without oversight of an immigration judge, and receipt of such an order came with a five year bay to re-entry.[40] The consequences of expedited removal are more severe than voluntary returns, which do not preclude eligibility for legal re-entry in the future. In 2004, DHS sought to expand the administrative rules on expedited removal, and in September 2005 began applying expedited removals to any individuals apprehended within 100 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, not just at ports, who had not been admitted or paroled, and who could not demonstrate presence in the country for more than 14 days.[41]

In addition to expanding expedited removal, in 2005 the Bush administration set out to end “catch and release” entirely, both as a piece of immigration enforcement identified as necessary to garnering support for comprehensive immigration reform in Congress, and because it was seen as too weak a penalty for illegally crossing. Michael Chertoff vowed to detain and deport every illegal entrant, rather than handing them orders to appear in court.[42] DHS claimed that ending “catch and release” required the expansion of its expedited removal operations[43] and additional beds at immigration detention facilities to hold more people before they were deported.[44] Congress agreed, and appropriated substantial funds to dramatically increase the availability of detention beds to hold those apprehended.[45] Since July 2006, immigration detention beds have increased from 19,000 to 33,400.

From Voluntary Removal to Operation Streamline

As “catch and release” was phased out and expedited removals were expanded, the Border Patrol still sought to establish still greater penalties for illegal entries. This led to an extreme “zero-tolerance” policy: criminally prosecuting all undocumented crossers for entering without inspection, known as “Operation Streamline.” This initiative began in late 2005 in the Del Rio sector, and has been expanded across most of the border except the San Diego sector. DHS’s basic assumption was that jail time would increase deterrence, although little evidence has come been found to support that assumption.

The goal of Operation Streamline is to put all apprehended undocumented migrants into the federal criminal justice system and eventually into U.S. prisons. Those who are caught making a first entry are prosecuted for the misdemeanor of “illegal entry,” which carries a sentence of up to 6 months in prison. Those who reenter after deportation may be prosecuted for “flip-flop” felonies punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Under Streamline, a federal criminal case with prison and deportation consequences is generally resolved in 2 days or less. The defendants regularly have as little as 20 minutes to meet their attorney and determine if they have any avenues to gain legal status in the United States or receive any other legal advice.[46]

Border Patrol claims that Streamline has caused the drop in apprehensions, but independent researchers and economists assert that increases and declines in illegal crossings tie much more closely to the cycles of the U.S. economy than to enforcement strategies.[47] Furthermore, although apprehensions have fallen after Streamline launched, they fell at an even faster rate between 2000 and 2003, before Streamline was created.[48] Traffic has also slowed in jurisdictions without a Streamline program. DHS Secretary Napolitano told Streamline supporters that Streamline was one form of deterrence, but that repatriation to the interior of Mexico has proven more effective.[49] Indeed, more people were returned to Mexico City in the Mexican Interior Repatriation Program in three months than were prosecuted under Streamline in all of 2010 so far.[50] In addition, there is no evidence that individuals intending to cross the border illegally know about the program’s existence. As University of Arizona law professor Marc Miller observed, if dying alone and lost in the desert is not a deterrent, it’s hard to imagine that prosecution and time in prison makes a difference.[51]

Photo: Greg Bryan/AZ Daily Star

Photo: Greg Bryan/AZ Daily Star

During the Bush Administration, the annual count of federal criminal prosecutions for immigration offenses more than quadrupled, while federal prosecutions of other crimes has substantially decreased. Nearly 80,000 immigration prosecutions were filed in fiscal year 2008, compared to 39,458 in the previous year and less than 20,000 in fiscal year 2002.[52]   Unfortunately, this trend continued into the Obama Administration. In 2009, of 169,612 total federal prosecutions in the country, 91,899 (54%) were for immigration charges. And 92% of those immigration-based prosecutions were simply for illegal entry or re-entry, as opposed to fraud, identity theft, smuggling people, or hiring illegal workers.[53]

The effects of this prosecution strategy are significant. Judicial records in Arizona show that while illegal entry and re-entry prosecutions have increased, smuggling prosecutions have decreased.[54] During Operation Streamline’s first year in Arizona, federal prosecutions involving marijuana dropped 26 percent; firearms and explosives fell 21 percent; prosecutions of violent offenses declined 17 percent; forgery and counterfeiting dropped 63 percent; and larceny and theft decreased 28 percent.[55] In 2010, immigration prosecutions have made up 84.5% of Arizona’s federal criminal docket, while less than 7% involved drugs or narcotics.[56] Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren said she has received many complaints from federal agents. “They’ve pulled so many U.S. attorneys off drug crimes and organized crime caseloads that federal agents are trying to get help from local district attorneys because they can’t wait six weeks for a wiretap order,” she said.[57] Rather than spending time prosecuting serious crimes, including gun and drug trafficking and organized crime, federal prosecutors and defenders now spend much of their time on misdemeanor illegal entry cases.

Federal Grant Programs for Border Security

Aside from direct federal programs and agents, federal agencies have administered large grant programs to fund state and local border-related initiatives. Operation Stonegarden, established in 2004, provides federal funding for state, local and tribal law enforcement operations on the border. Stonegarden’s budget for FY2010 includes $60 million in grants for additional law enforcement personnel, overtime, travel and other expenses for local law enforcement agencies in border areas. In FY2009, Stonegarden started with $60 million, but received an additional $30 million in August 2010 from supplemental funding.

DHS administration of Operation Stonegarden has been criticized for its lack of oversight, resulting in a record of misused funds and costly litigation. An Arizona Daily Star investigation found that state and local grant programs funding (in this case Operation Stonegarden) was used to compensate officer time for issuing traffic citations, crowd control at parades and soccer games, attending a funeral, monitoring gun shows, and responding to calls about loud music.[58] Deputy Police Chief Ed Holly worked 14 hours a day for months on end in 2007, earning nearly $100,000 on top of his regular salary, and there was no documentation about which of his activities were conducted on the Stonegarden-funded overtime shifts.[59] In September 2008, a federal judge in New Mexico issued an order against illegal searches and seizures carried out by the county sheriff’s department in Otero County. The department had been conducting raids on suspected undocumented immigrants with Operation Stonegarden funds. The county agreed to pay a $100,000 settlement and change its procedures and the New Mexico state legislature passed a bill defining and banning racial profiling to prevent similar incidents. [60]

In addition, DOJ has administered the Southwest Border Prosecutors Initiative (SWBPI), a federal grant program that reimburses states for judicial resources spent on cases declined by federal courts but picked up by state courts. Only the four southwest border states are eligible for grants. As federal courts in the southwest have taken on higher and higher percentages of immigration cases, other prosecutions that fell by the wayside could be picked up under state criminal statutes. SWBPI essentially provides reimbursements to the states for picking up the federal prosecutors’ dropped criminal caseload. The program was removed from President Obama’s budget request for FY2011, possibly as a result of a DOJ Inspector General’s audit that revealed several problems with the program. However, under the likely continuing resolution for FY2011, it will likely continue. Among the reporting and oversight problems identified by the audit, it was found that Office of Justice Programs did not require applicants to provide documentation supporting reimbursement requests, nor did it review the applications for accuracy or monitor recipients to determine the eligibility of cases submitted for reimbursement. In addition, reimbursements were not linked to actual costs incurred by the jurisdictions to prosecute federally declined-referred criminal cases.[61]

A Focus on Cartels and Smuggling

In 2009, the Obama Administration began shifting the focus of border enforcement to target criminal activities including smuggling drugs, guns, money, and people across the border.   CBP, ICE, and other federal agencies have launched dozens of operations to apprehend undocumented migrants, deter crossings, combat drug and gun trade, and investigate organized crime rings. Border Enforcement Security Teams (BEST Teams) were created in 2009 to be interagency crime-fighting and counter-smuggling partnerships, including ICE, CBP, ATF, DEA, FBI, and Mexican forces as well.[62] Continuing under Obama are ATF-led Project Gunrunner, intercepting and tracing smuggled firearms, and Operation Armas Cruzadas, which partners with Mexican law enforcement on intelligence to prevent guns from reaching the hands of the cartels.[63] In addition, Obama has built upon the Merida Initiative, a partnership between the United States and Mexico to curtail drug trafficking and violence, in which the United States provides funding to Mexico to increase the capacity of the Mexican law enforcement and criminal justice systems to deal with crime and violence. By 2010, the border housed not only 20,000 Border Patrol agents, but several thousand ICE Agents, Air and Marine Officers, Customs Officers, and Agricultural Specialists, as well as FBI, ATF, and DEA agents, Coast Guard, U.S. Marshals, private security and transport contractors, and 300 National Guard Troops. Still, bowing to the heated border politics of 2010, President Obama requested 1,200 more National Guard and $600 million in additional funding for DHS and DOJ operations on the border.

With more and more agents on the border, law enforcement traffic through border communities has increased. Residents of border counties daily experience searches, arrests, and interrogations. Roving patrols and checkpoints interrupt their daily commutes and regular local transit. Complaints of racial profiling and excessive use of force come from every locality. Thus far, federal agencies have had limited accountability or transparency to the communities in which they operate, and border residents, land owners, and advocacy organizations seek formal mechanisms to file complaints and voice their concerns about enforcement policies in their neighborhoods.

The focus on deterring border-related crime has not diminished attention to illegal entries or simple immigration violations. The BEST teams, for example, are ICE-directed, and this leadership is reflected in the arrests, which are still dominated by administrative immigration violations.[64] Criminal prosecutions for immigration violations have continued to grow, representing more than half of all federal prosecutions nation-wide in 2009,[65] most of which proceed in the Southwest districts.

2010: Border Politics Provide a Flashpoint

In late March, 2010, a southern Arizona rancher was murdered in his home, and footprints heading south sparked a panicked frenzy about border “spillover violence.” Arizona Governor Jan Brewer begged for the federal government to send the National Guard to the border, and shortly thereafter signed into law Arizona SB1070, directing local police in Arizona to question people about their immigration status with wide authority. Under mounting pressure from Senate Republicans, the Obama administration announced on May 25, 2010 that it would deploy 1200 National Guard troops to the border, to add to the more than 40,000 federal agents currently stationed there.

Although the influx of resources and manpower at the southwest border is directed to prioritize combating serious crime more than apprehending migrant laborers, the side effects of hundreds of “boots on the ground” in border communities remain the same. The social and environmental tolls of a militarized border affect the daily lives of millions of American border residents. Border Patrol agents show up at homes, stop people in the street and in the park, and create a ubiquitous law enforcement presence that other regions of America do not experience.[66] Checkpoints restrict entrances and exits to American towns, even by residents. As the US-Mexico Border and Immigration Task Force wrote in their report seeking more tempered and accountable border policy,

“U.S. communities that lie along the border with Mexico live a reality that is essentially different from the rest of the country. U.S. immigration policy has transformed the region into a militarized zone where the U.S. Constitution and international law are selectively applied. By failing to recognize and affirm the fundamental human right of mobility, U.S. immigration laws and efforts to “secure” the southern border have had dire human consequences, from the ever-increasing tally of migrant deaths on the border to the systemic violation of the civil and human rights of border crossers and those living in border communities.”[67]



Border Operations Glossary

 Ongoing Operations
  • Border Enforcement Security Taskforces (BEST teams) – Since 2006, ICE has led these interagency and intergovernmental task forces engaged in crime fighting on the panoply of border-related cartel and security threats. BEST teams have expanded the border security model to involve more in depth investigations and collaboration with Mexican law enforcement.[68]
  • HIKE – The Phoenix Police Home Invasion and Kidnapping Enforcement Task Force is comprised of law enforcement agents from the Robbery, Assaults and Document Crimes Units of the Phoenix Police Department and agents from ICE, ATF and DEA. Launched in late 2008, it is an investigative and counter-crime project designed to address the kidnapping problem in Phoenix.[69]
  • IIMPACT Arizona – The Illegal Immigration Prevention and Apprehension Co-op Teams is a partnership formed in 2007 between the Arizona Department of Public Safety, ICE, and the Phoenix Police. It is designed to “deter, disrupt and dismantle violent criminal organizations profiting from illegal immigration,”[70] which is primarily human smuggling and collateral crimes including kidnapping, rape, murder, hijackings, etc.       In addition, the project provides investigative resources and removal assistance to local jurisdictions plagued by illegal immigrant drop houses. Victims of trafficking are turned over to ICE.[71]
  • Joint Task Force-North (Previously called Joint Task Force – Six), is the military operation established to support federal law enforcement agencies in the identification and interdiction of suspected transnational threats on the border.[72]  This includes activities conducted by individuals or groups that involve international terrorism, narcotrafficking, alien smuggling, and weapons of mass destruction. JTF-North has engaged in over 6000 missions supporting counter-drug operations and general law enforcement, primarily on the Southwest border.[73]
  • Operation Against Smugglers Initiative on Safety and Security (OASISS)– Created in late 2005, CBP partners with Mexican officials to share information and prosecute smugglers in the border region.[74]  The program was set up to identify and dismantle alien smuggling organizations through a bi-national prosecutorial program that includes expanding current liaison operations, gathering and exchanging data and enhancing judicial consequences on both sides of the border.[75] OASISS is an umbrella program for a number of other smuggling and prosecution operations and initiatives, but focuses on helping Mexican authorities prosecute smugglers apprehended in the U.S..
  • Operation Arizona Denial– The term for deterrence and border enforcement in Arizona, which specifically included bringing in 200 new agents to work on smuggling. The Arizona Denial Prosecution Initiative is the Arizona version of Operation Streamline that prosecutes all illegal crossers in a highly trafficked 15 mile stretch within the Tucson sector.       Arizona Denial is supposedly a four-prong border strategy, but primarily only the prosecution prong has been focused upon.[76]
  • Operation Armas Cruzadas – a program between ICE and Mexican law enforcement to intercept arms smuggling and identify cross-border weapon smuggling rings.       Mainly involving intelligence sharing between the US and Mexico, Operation Armas Cruzadas is carried out by BEST teams.[77]
  • Operation Baja Oleada – This maritime operation, which began in December 2005, cracks down on illegal migrant and drug smuggling along the California Baja to the arrival zone in northern Baja and San Diego area. The Coast Guard maintains a twenty‑four hours a day, seven days per week patrol boat presence and frequently surges additional patrol boats, with air support as available.[78]
  • Operation Community Shield – ICE leads this intergovernmental operation which focuses on identifying street gangs in the U.S. and using ICE’s civil power to deport gang members and possible associates, in order to weaken the gangs.
  • Operation Firewall – ICE and CBP run this program aimed at combating drug cartels’ cross-border currency smuggling. Officers also conduct training with Mexican and foreign counterparts to catch bulk cash shipments.[79]
  • Operation No Pass – The name for Operation Streamline in El Paso, TX.
  • Operation Streamline – Streamline is a prosecution initiative that started in Texas in 2005. Whereas in the past, immigration was recognized as a civil violation and, where necessary, referred to administrative immigration courts, Streamline has been a growing policy of sending illegal border crossers to criminal court. First-time offenders are given short sentences of 3-30 days, but repeat offenders may face years of jail time.[80]
  • Operation Stonegarden – Stonegarden is a federal grant program that is designed to provide funds to local law enforcement agencies to reimburse them for immigration and border enforcement work.[81]
  • Project Gunrunner – The ATF received $10 million in economic recovery funds for this initiative to curb arms trafficking across the border. The new funding will establish three permanent field offices in arms trafficking in McAllen, TX, El Centro, CA and Las Cruces, NM.       It relocated 100 personnel to the Houston Field Division to support Gunrunner Impact Teams (GRITs), which will focus on violent crime and arms trafficking.[82]
  • Southwest Border Prosecutor Initiative – SWBPI is the DOJ’s grant program for state prosecutors on the border who pursue cases that U.S. attorneys have declined.
Defunct Operations
  • Arizona Border Control Initiative (ABC Initiative) – In 2004, DHS launched this effort focused on detecting and deterring terrorist activities and illicit trafficking.   The ABC Initiative devoted additional new resources to the Arizona border, including more Border Patrol agents, unmanned aerial vehicles, and other aircraft. In 2005 ABC Initiative Phase II broadened its goals to reducing the flow of all illegal traffic, dismantling smuggling organizations, reducing border deaths in the deserts, an reducing crime in Arizona.[83] This involved deploying additional personnel, working with other agencies, and increasing interior checkpoints.
  • Operation Accelerator – The DEA led this multi-agency effort to stop the Sinaloa Cartel’s drug and arms trafficking activities. It was carried out from May 2007 until early 2009 and resulted in arrests and seizures of drugs, aircraft, maritime vessels and currency.[84]
  • Operation Border Star – Texas began this stage of its border enforcement efforts in September 2007. It involved “surge operations” of state, local and Border Patrol officers along the border.[85]
  • Operation En Fuego – This seven month investigation in Arizona in 2008 targeted a large smuggling syndicate. The Arizona Department of Public Safety worked with ICE to bring smugglers and undocumented immigrants to state prosecutors.[86]
  • Operation ICE Storm – Under the Arizona Border Control Initiative, ICE Storm was a multi-agency initiative launched in 2003 that focused on human smuggling. Along with targeting monetary assets, ICE partnered with state and federal prosecutors to emphasize on prosecuting smugglers and hostage takers.[87]
  • Operation In Plain Sight – In April 2010, ICE sent 800 agents into Arizona, primarily Tucson and Phoenix, in a high profile raid that targeted human smuggling networks.       Agents arrested 54 suspects.[88]
  • Operation Fly-by-Night – The Arizona Financial Crimes Task Force investigated and indicted Phoenix area travel agents that provided one way airline tickets to undocumented immigrants headed for Las Vegas, where immigration security is less rigorous than at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix.
  • Operation Gatekeeper – Intensified Border Patrol presence in San Diego, starting in 1994, focused on deterrence by posting large increases in foot patrols along the border, with back-up patrols further in the interior to catch those who made it through first lines of defense. Operation Gatekeeper redefined border patrol by seeking to deter and prevent illegal entries entirely.
  • Operation Hold-the-Line – One of the first big Border Patrol operations to deter illegal crossings, launched in 1993. Hold-the-Line stationed El Paso patrol officers within eyesight of each other along the border for several miles to ensure total coverage.
  • Operation Jump Start – In 2006, President Bush sent 6000 National Guard troops from across the country to the Southwest border under Operation Jump Start.       Officially, the Guard duties were to observe and report, and they were generally not involved in law enforcement. Jump Start came to an end in May of 2008.[89]
  • Operation Lifeguard – A project launched in 2007 in the El Paso border sector, as part of the larger OASISS efforts against smuggling, which focuses on smugglers who assist aliens across irrigation canals and at the ports of entry.
  • Operation Linebacker – The state of Texas dispersed federal and state funding to local law enforcement agencies along the border for expenses such as overtime pay, partly accounting for the funding of extra patrols under Operation Border Star.[90]
  • Operation Lockdown – Was the name for Operation Streamline in Las Cruces, NM, within the El Paso sector.
  • Operation River Walker – The “river walker” in the name of this operation refers to subcontractors hired by a smuggling organization to walk immigrants along the San Pedro River. The Arizona Financial Crimes Task Force led this investigation which resulted in arrests of smugglers and undocumented migrants.
  • Operation Rio Grande – The Texas state government expanded Operation Linebacker through this program in 2006. It also centralized border enforcement at a Texas Fusion Center in Austin in an effort to improve local, state and federal coordination.
  • Operation Safeguard – Tucson’s version of Gatekeeper, focusing on deterrence, with deployment of more Border patrol agents and construction of fencing.
  • Operation Tumbleweed – This year-long investigation of a drug trafficking organization ended in arrests and indictments in early 2009. The operation involved ICE, Border Patrol, U.S. Customs Air and Marine, the DEA, the Arizona AG’s Office, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Pinal County Sheriff’s Office and the Phoenix Police Department.[91]
  • Project Reckoning – The DEA led this 15-month operation targeting the Gulf Cartel.       The project was one of the largest joint U.S./Mexico law enforcement efforts ever undertaken and resulted in arrests and seizures of substantial amounts of drugs, weapons and money.[92]


Estimates of Deaths per Fiscal Year by Source


Source: Maria Jimenez, “Humanitarian Crisis: Migrant Deaths at the U.S.-Mexico Border” Oct. 1, 2009

*35:U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, “Table 35, Deportable Aliens Located by Program and Border Patrol Sector and Investigations Special Agent in Charge (Sac) Jurisdiction: Fiscal Years 1999 to 2008,” http://74.125.132/search?

*36These figures were compiled from different sources.

**The lower [BSI] estimate is the total derived from data provided by the U.S. Border Patrol Safety Initiative to the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO-06-770, p. 42) for the years 1998-2004 and the Headquarters of the Border Patrol Office of Public Affairs [Mark Qualia] for the years 2005-2009. The higher figure [SRE Plus] is the total derived from data provided by the Coalicion Pro Defensa del Migrante, A.C., based on figures of Mexico’s Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores that were published in La Jornada (11/19/2008), “La esperanza muere en la frontera,” and La Jornada (01/02/2009), “Murieron 725 mexicanos en 2008 al intentar pasar a EU,” for the years 1995 to 2008 and Wayne Cornelius, “Death at the Border: The Unintended Consequences of U.S. Immigration Control Policy 1993-2000,” Working Paper 27, The Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, University of California at San Diego, (2001), Table 2, for 1994. No figures are available from U.S. sources for the years 1994-1997 or Mexican sources for 2009.


Border Crossing Deaths, 1994-2008


Source: Maria Jimenez, “Humanitarian Crisis: Migrant Deaths at the U.S.-Mexico Border” Oct. 1, 2009

Migrant Mortality Rate, per 10,000 Apprehensions


Graph from Chad C. Haddal, “Border Security: The Role of the U.S. Border Patrol,” Congressional Research Service, August 11, 2010.

Source: CRS Analysis of CBP Data.

Border Apprehensions v. U.S. Employment


Graph courtesy of Pia N. Orrenius, economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Department of Homeland Security; Author’s own calculations.

Note: Employment is expressed in deviations from long-run trend and Border Patrol apprehensions are lagged 6 months. Employment and apprehensions have been seasonally adjusted.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse: National trends, 1947 – 2005


U.S. Border Patrol Budget, FY 1992-2009


Source: U.S. Border Patrol Headquarters, Office of Public Affairs, September 25, 2009.

Graph from Immigration Policy Center, “Breaking Down the Problems” October 2009.

**Compare to Border Patrol Appropriations, below.

Border Patrol Appropriations


Graph from Immigration Policy Center, “Breaking Down the Problems” October 2009.

Sources: Appropriations for FY2001 and FY2002 are from the Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service, FY2002 Congressional Budget Justifications. For FY2004 through FY2011, this table reflects the Border Security and Control Salaries and Expenses sub-account within the CBP Border Security and Control account of the DHS Appropriation, as identified in the following: H.Rept. 108-280 (FY2004); H.Rept. 108-774 (FY2005); H.Rept. 109-241 (FY2006); H.Rept. 109-699 (FY2007); and H.Rept. 111-298 (FY2010). FY2008 enacted amounts are from Division E of P.L. 110-161, and tables in the Joint Explanatory Statement for Division E, published in the Congressional Record, December 17, 2007, pp. H16107-H16121. FY2009 enacted from the DHS Joint Explanatory Statement as submitted in the Congressional Record, and the House- and

Senate- enrolled version of H.R. 2638. The FY2011 funding represents the requested amount from the Congressional Budget Justifications. FY2005 also includes a $124 million supplemental appropriation from P.L. 109-13. In FY2006, CBP also received $423 million in supplemental funding for Salaries and Expenses in P.L. 109- 234; however, the law did not identify how much of this funding would be for the Border Patrol and thus it has not been included in this table. The FY2008 DHS Congressional Budget Justifications estimate that the FY2006 appropriation for the Border Patrol was $1,900 million.

Notes: * Denotes requested funding amount from the FY2011 Congressional Budget Justification, CBP. In FY2003, immigration inspections from the former INS, Customs inspections from the former customs service, and the Border Patrol were merged to form the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection within DHS. As a result, for staffing and funding levels, the data for years prior to FY2003 may not be comparable with the data for FY2004 and after. Additionally, FY2001 and FY2002 numbers are from the INS FY2002 Congressional Budget Justifications. They were pulled from a table that breaks out the elements of the larger Enforcement and Border Affairs account within the agency’s appropriation. In FY2003, the INS did not provide a breakout of the subaccounts within the Enforcement and Border Affairs account in its Justifications; for this reason FY2003 numbers are not available. DHS has not responded to requests for this data. Appropriations for the Enforcement and

Border Affairs account within INS for this period were as follows: $2,541 million in FY2001; $2,740 million in FY2002; and $2,881 million in FY2003.

** Compare to Border Patrol Budget, above.

U.S. Border Patrol Agents Stationed Along the Southwest Border, FY 1992-2009


Source: U.S. Border Patrol Headquarters, Office of Public Affairs, September 25, 2009.

Graph from Immigration Policy Center, “Breaking Down the Problems” October 2009.

Updated December 2010

[1] BBC News, Bush Unveils Immigration Reforms (May 16, 2006) available at

[2] “CBP: Securing America’s Borders” available at Per year, these numbers are roughly equivalent to 400 million entrants at ports of entry, and 1 million apprehended for unlawful entry: thus approximately 0.25% of border crossings are unlawful. Unlawful entry can mean using false papers, smuggling people or contraband either through ports or across border lines, or sneaking across the border without inspection.

[3] A glossary of border operations is included as an appendix.

[4] From West to East: San Diego, El Centro, Yuma, Tuscon, El Paso, Marfa, Del Rio, Laredo, and Rio Grande Valley.

[5] Comments of Randy Mayer, Pastor of the Good Shepherd UCC, on June 18, 2009.

[6] Department of Homeland Security, Fact Sheet: Secure Border Initiative (Nov. 2, 2005) available at

[7] “Fact Sheet: Southwest Border: The Way Ahead,” Department of Homeland Security (April 15, 2009) available at

[8] “National Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy,” ONDCP, June 2009, available at

[9] “Secretary Napolitano and Mexican Secretary of Public Safety Genaro García Luna Sign Declaration of Principles on Cooperative Efforts to Secure the U.S.-Mexico Border and Combat Transnational Threats,” Department of Homeland Security, (Feb. 18, 2010).

[10] “Declaration by The Government Of The United States Of America and The Government Of The United Mexican States Concerning Twenty-First Century Border Management” White House Press Office, May 19,2010.

[11] Chad Haddal, “Border Security: The Role of the U.S. Border Patrol,” Congressional Research Service, Mar. 3, 2010.

[12] Marisa Trevino, “Border wall activists shouldn’t be seen as separate from the fight for immigration reform” Latina Lista, April 23, 2009,; Andrew Murr, “Parry and Thrust: Green Groups Challenge a Bid to Speed the Border Fence” April 4, 2008, available at

[13] BBCNews, “Mexico Anger over US Border Fence” Oct. 27, 2006.

[14] When Patricia Nixon hosted the bi-national dedication of the park in 1971, simple wires hung to mark the international boundary.

[15] Pedro Rios, “Containment Society: Reproducing Detention at Friendship Park,” Mar. 22, 2010, available at

[16] Southwest Border Fence Construction Progress, (Accessed Dec. 12, 2010). Border Patrol tactical experts have indicated that the final plan is to complete 666 miles of fencing. The agency determined that more vehicle fencing and less than 370 miles of pedestrian fencing was the most effective use of resources.

[17] Government Accountability Office, “Secure Border Initiative, DHS Has Faced Challenges Deploying Technology and Fencing Along the Southwest Border,” May 4, 2010.


[19] Government Accountability Office, Briefing on U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Secure Border Initiative Fiscal Year 2009 Expenditure Plan, 13 (April 30, 2009).

[20] Chad Haddal, “Border Security: The Role of the U.S. Border Patrol” Congressional Research Service Aug. 11, 2010.

[21] Electronic Privacy Information Center, “Spotlight on Surveillance; Surveillance at Our Borders” March 2005.

[22] May 20, 2009 Hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Citizenship, “Securing the Borders and America’s Points of Entry, What Remains to Be Done,” comments of Senator Cornyn and JD Hayworth.

[23] Government Accountability Office, Secure Border Initiative: Observations on the Importance of Applying Lessons Learned to Future Projects, 9-13 (Written Testimony of Richard Stana, Director, May 27, 2008).

[24] GW Shulz, “More High-Tech Setbacks for Border Security,” Politics Daily, May 23, 2010.

[25] David Gura, “Virtual Fence Still Stands: Government Extends SBInet Contract,” American Public Media, Marketplace, Nov. 16, 2010.

[26] National Immigration Forum, “The Border Security Buildup: True Border Security Requires Reforming Our Broken Immigration Laws,” May 2010, available at

[27] For a sample of current and former border operations, see the appendix on pages 12-14.

[28]Timothy J. Dunn and José Palafox “Militarization of the Border” available at

[29] US Department of Justice, Operation Gatekeeper: An Investigation Into Allegations of Fraud and Misconduct (July, 1998) available at

[30] Testimony of Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Oversight of the Department of Homeland Security (May 6, 2009).

[31] “Up Against the Wall,” by Katherine McIntire Peters, Government Executive (Oct. 1, 1996) available at

[32]Operation Gatekeeper: An Investigation Into Allegations of Fraud and Misconduct,” US Department of Justice, July, 1998, available at

[33] Joseph Nevins, Operation Gatekeeper, 124-5 (Routledge 2002).

[34] Peter Andreas, Border Games: Policing the US-Mexico Divide, 107-8 (Cornell University Press, 2001); Government Accountability Office, INS’ Southwest Border Strategy: Resource and Impact Issues Remain After Seven Years, 14 (August 2001) available at

[35] Maria Jimenez, “Humanitarian Crisis: Migrant Deaths at the U.S. – Mexico Border,” ACLU, Oct. 1, 2009.

[36] “Deaths on AZ Border Since Oct. 1, 2009” No More Deaths, available at

[37] Pia Orrenius, The Effect of U.S. Border Enforcement on the Crossing Behavior of Mexican Migrants, in Crossing the Border 281 (Durand and Massey, eds., 2006).

[38] US Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, Inspection of the Influx of New Personnel, January 2000, available at

[39] Marc Lacey, “Border Deployment Will Take Weeks,” New York Times, Aug. 1, 2010.

[40] Igbanugo Partners, “Expedited Removal Process Supports U.S. Government’s Efforts To Control The Nation’s Borders, But Omits Judicial Process For Certain Noncitizens,” Mshale – The African Community Newspaper, Jun. 1, 2007. Expedited removal gave immigration enforcement the power to hold without bail and remove any apprehended individual who had not been admitted or paroled and who could not prove continuous presence in the United States for two years or more, and who did not express a credible fear of persecution leading to an asylum claim.

[41] Alison Siskin, “Immigration Policy on Expedited Removal of Aliens,” Congressional Research Service, Sept. 30, 2005. Historically, immigration law has recognized greater procedural rights for removing individuals currently in the United States than for those seeking entrance, irrespective of the mode of entry. Expedited removal has limited what counts as within the United States for purposes of those procedural and Constitutional rights. The U.S. Commission to Investigate Religious Freedom also produced a study commissioned by Congress: “Report on Asylum Seekers in Expedited Removal” in 2005, which found serious deficiencies in the process and widespread failure to notify apprehended individuals of their right to protection if they feared persecution or torture. See

[42] “Chertoff: End ‘Catch and Release’ at Borders,” Associated Press, Oct. 18, 2005.

[43] National Immigration Law Center, “DHS Announces Latest in Series of Expedited Removal Expansions: Entire U.S. Border Now Covered,” Immigrants’ Rights Update, Vol. 20, Issue 1, Mar. 23, 2006.

[44] Daniel Pulliam, “Chertoff Calls For End of ‘Catch and Release,’” Government Executive Oct. 18, 2005.

[45] J. Zarazua, “Pearsall Detention Complex to Expand,” My San Antonio News, Aug. 1, 2008.

[46] Amended Written Statement of Heather E. Williams, First Assistant Federal Public Defender, District of Arizona – Tucson, June 25, 2008, Before the United States House of Representatives, Subcommittee of Commercial and Administrative Law, Oversight Hearing on the “Executive Office for United States Attorneys,” available at, at 4.

[47] Immigration Policy Center, “Fewer Job Openings Equals Fewer Immigrants: Undocumented Immigration Slows Along With the U.S. Economy,” Oct. 1, 2008.

[48] Joanna Lydgate, “Assembly-Line Justice: A Review of Operation Streamline,” Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity & Diversity, UC Berkeley Law School, Jan. 2010, available at

[49] Mickey Mccarter, “No Timetable for Immigration Reform Effort” Homeland Security Today, Aug. 15 2010.

[50] ICE, “ICE announces results of repatriation program,” available at;

[51] Ted Robbins, “Claims Of Border Program Success Are Unproven” NPR, Sept. 13, 2010.

[52] Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, “Immigration Prosecutions at Record Levels in FY2009” Syracuse Univ.. Sept. 21, 2009.

[53] Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, “FY 2009 Federal Prosecutions Sharply Higher,” Syracuse Univ., Dec. 1. 2009.

[54] Joanna Lydgate, “Assembly-Line Justice: A Review of Operation Streamline,” Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity & Diversity, UC Berkeley Law School, Jan. 2010.

[55] Evan Pellegrino, “Factory justice? Illegal immigrants pushed through the system” Green Valley News, Apr. 20, 2010.

[56] Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, “Arizona Federal Prosecutions Driven to Record Highs,” Syracuse Univ., Aug. 17, 2010.

[57] Solomon Moore, “Push on Immigration Crimes is Said to Shift Focus,” New York Times, Jan. 11, 2009.

[58] Brady McCombs, “The Work: Road Stops, Remote Patrol, Monitoring Gun Shows,” AZ Daily Star, Nov. 16, 2009.

[59] Brady McCombs, “Officers Worked Long Shifts, Accrued Sizable Pay,” AZ Daily Star, Nov. 15, 2009.

[60] See Daniel Borunda, “Immigration rights, Civil Rights Violations Suit is Settled for $100,000,” El Paso Times, Mar. 19, 2009.

[61] U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, “Audit Report: Southwest Border Prosecution Initiative Program”, (March 2008), available at

[62] “ICE BEST team arrests 15 criminal aliens from a 3-county south Texas area,” Mar. 7, 2007, available at

[63] ATF Fact Sheet on Project Gunrunner, available at

[64] Tom Barry, The Failed Border Security Initiative, April 22, 2009, available at

[65] Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, “FY 2009 Federal Prosecutions Sharply Higher,” Syracuse Univ. Dec. 21, 2009.

[66] See Border Network for Human Rights, Status of Human and Civil Rights at the Border, Dec. 10, 2007, available at; Border Action Network, Human and Civil Rights Violations Uncovered, 2008, available at

[67] US-Mexico Border and Immigration Task Force, US-Mexico Border Policy Report, November 2008 at 8.

[68] Testimony of Secretary Janet Napolitano before Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee,
“Southern Border Violence: Homeland Security Threats, Vulnerabilities, and Responsibilities,” Mar. 25, 2009.

[69] Michael Ferraresi and JJ Jensley, “Phoenix Police Battle Wave of Abductions,” Arizona Central, Feb. 15, 2009.

[70] Statement of Phil Gordon, Phoenix Mayor, April 20, 2009, Before the Sen. Comm. on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, “Southern Border Violence: State and Local Perspectives,” available at

[71] Arizona Department of Public Safety Press Release, IIMPACT Detectives Break Up Valley Area Human Smuggling Organizations (March 11, 2009) available at

[72] Joint Task Force North, Mission, available at

[73] Joint Task Force North, History of Joint Task Force North, available at

[74] “U.S./Mexico Initiative Targets Alien Smugglers & Human Traffickers,” CBP Press Release, Aug. 17, 2005.

[75] “U.S. Border Patrol Partners with Agencies to Unveil Operation Lifeguard,” CBP Press Release, Oct. 17, 2007.

[76] Brady McCombs, Arizona Daily Star, Zero Tolerance Working, Says Border Patrol, (April 6, 2008) available at

[77] “Operation Rakes in Weapons Arsenal,”, (March 31, 2008) available at; “Armas Cruzadas: ICE led bi-lateral law enforcement and intelligence-sharing operation to thwart export of arms from the United States into Mexico” US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Investigations, (June 3, 2008) available at

[78] Coast Guard Report, “DHS and the Southwest Border Part VI,” April 22, 2009, available at

[79] “Fact Sheet: Operation Firewall,” ICE, Jan. 15, 2010.

[80] “Operation Streamline and its Effects on the Courts and Law Enforcement on the Border,” National Immigration Forum, May 11, 2010.

[81] “Fact Sheet: Operation Stonegarden,” National Immigration Forum, Feb. 17, 2010.

[82] FBI, “Department of Justice Announces Resources for Fight Against Mexican Drug Cartels” March 24, 2009, available at

[83] “Fact Sheet; Arizona Border Control Initiative – Phase II,” DHS Press Release, Mar. 30, 2005.

[84] Press Briefing by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg, and Deputy Attorney General David Ogden on U.S. Mexico Border Security Policy, DHS Press Release Mar. 24, 2009.

[85] Rick Perry, Perry Notes March 2008, available at

[86] Ray Stern, “Smuggling Syndicate Crushed in ‘Operation En Fuego,’ AG’s Office Says,” Phoenix New Times, Dec. 11, 2008.

[87] “Department of Homeland Security Launches Operation “ICE Storm,” DHS Press Release, Nov. 10, 2003.


[89] Donna Miles, “’Operation Jump Start’ Jumps Into Gear Along Southwest Border” American Forces Press Service, June 15, 2006, available at

[90] James Pinkerton, “Localized immigration enforcement on rise; Federal inaction means more than ever, nation’s law agencies take issue into own hands,” The Houston Chronicle, Oct. 9, 2007.

[91] “Terry Goddard Announces Take-Down of Billion-Dollar Drug-Trafficking Organization,” Arizona Department of Law, Dec. 23, 2008.

[92] Press Briefing by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg, and Deputy Attorney General David Ogden on U.S. Mexico Border Security Policy, DHS Press Release Mar. 24, 2009.