Border Patrol Changes Its Strategy

It's focusing on 'risk-based' enforcement
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2012 11:02 AM CDT
In this April 19, 2011, file photo, a member of the National Guard checks on his colleague inside a Border Patrol Skybox near the Hidalgo International Bridge in Hidalgo, Texas.   (AP Photo/Delcia Lopez, File)

(Newser) – The Border Patrol debuted a new strategy today—its first in eight years—that aims to make the patrol more "intelligence-driven." The agency's previous strategy was to flood high-traffic areas with agents, and even after all that time, "the jury, for me at least, is out on whether that's a solid strategy," Chief Mike Fisher tells the AP. The new "risk-based" strategy aims to "figure out who are these people?" by relying on intelligence to identify repeat crossers and figure out what makes them try again.

The new strategy makes no mention of more border fences—Fisher says he won't rule them out, but "it's not going to be part of our mantra." Nor does it linger on technology, a sore spot after a failed $1 billion effort to line the border with cameras and sensors. Fisher says the agency will instead rely on mobile surveillance, like unmanned drones and helicopters. The strategy also calls for harsher punishments for border crossers, and declares ferreting out corrupt agents a top priority.

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