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From A Border Patrol Agent

Sunday, May 20, 2007  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt
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In a post below I referenced an e-mail from a Border Patrol agent.  I have now receievd his permission to post it:

Hugh,

Hope you read this. I’m a Border Patrol Agent and have been assigned to
Arizona (Tucson Sector) for [many] years. This is the busiest section
of border in the nation. I have been shot at and assaulted with rocks,
bottles, etc. more times than I can count. I’m not bragging, just trying to
establish some credibility. Here are a few facts you should be aware of:

Fact: Fences are useless without Border Patrol Agents to patrol them. They
don’t prevent people from crossing, they merely slow them down. Fences are
about certainty of arrest, not the physical barrier itself.

Fact: It takes one Agent per 1/4 mile to effectively control a section of
border fence. Anything less and the fence(s) are ineffective. We see it
every day; the bad guys get over, under, or through.

Fact: The U.S./Mexico Border is 1951 miles long. We need 4 agents per mile.
We would need to deploy 7804 Agents per shift, 3 shifts per day. Total
required manpower: 23,412 Agents per day. Projected BP staffing level:
18,000.

Fact: Fences are absolutely necessary ONLY in urban areas where Agents have
only seconds to minutes to make an apprehension.

Fact: The BP will never have sufficient manpower to forward deploy agents
every 1/4 mile across the border. Fence or no fence, potential terrorists,
illegal aliens and drug smugglers will exploit the areas devoid of agents.

Fact: Forward deploying every Agent in the BP will leave coverage gaps.
These gaps will be exploited. With all Agents forward deployed no Agents
will be available to cover the gaps.

Fact: Huge tracts of the border are inaccessible because of environmental
issues and/or terrain challenges

Solution: DEFENSE IN DEPTH.

1. Forward deploy Agents in URBAN areas supported by fencing and stadium
lighting (See San Diego/Texas).
2. Deploy roving patrols to rural/remote areas where agents have hours to
days to make an apprehension. These agents need support from sensors,
drive-through barriers, ground surveillance radar, infrared/daytime cameras,
UAVs, air assets, etc to create certainty of arrest.
3. Stand up permanent immigration checkpoints in Arizona on major routes of
egress from the border. Support these checkpoints with sensors, radar,
remote cameras, etc to mitigate illegal traffic attempting to circumvent it.

San Diego, New Mexico and Texas have employed this strategy with great
effect; Arizona does not and is the weak link. Tucson Sector comprises 13%
of the SW Border but accounts for nearly 40% of all BP apprehensions/illegal
entries.

Give Arizona the technology, drive-through barriers, agents and permanent
checkpoints (WHICH HAVE BEEN BANNED BY CONGRESSIONAL LANGUAGE FROM
1999-2006!!!!!) not 800+ miles of fence. It is a catastrophic waste of
money.

Ask any BP Agent on the southwest border and they’ll tell you the same
thing.

Don’t know if you reply to any of your Emails, but I would love to go into
greater depth if you’re interested, particularly regarding checkpoints in
Arizona.

Thank you,

It seems to me that the draft bill needs to increase not only the amount of fence constructed prior to the first “probationary Z visa” issues, but also another30%+ hike in the number of BP agents.

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