Border Patrol:

Southwest Border Enforcement Affected by Mission Expansion and Budget

GGD-91-72BR: Published: Mar 28, 1991. Publicly Released: Mar 28, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Immigration and Naturalization Service's (INS) Border Patrol's ability to carry out its border control mission along the southwest border.

GAO found that: (1) Patrol funding increased 61 percent between fiscal year (FY) 1986 and FY 1990, from $164 million to $263 million; (2) since 1988, Patrol staff along the southwest border declined by 9 percent; (3) the Patrol's inability to reach authorized staffing levels was partly attributable to a high attrition rate; (4) the proportion of total Patrol agent time devoted to border control activities decreased from 71 percent in 1986 to 60 percent in 1990; (5) the number of reported apprehensions per agent work hour decreased from 4 per 10-hour period in FY 1986 to 2.5 in FY 1990; (6) narcotics seizures increased from 649 in FY 1985 to 4,000 in FY 1990; (7) assaults against Patrol agents increased from 128 to 282 between 1987 and 1990; (8) Patrol vehicles were in poor condition, but replacement vehicles were not available due to funding limitations; and (9) some of the electronic equipment agents used to detect illegal entry did not work and some sectors needed additional electronic equipment to better monitor the border.

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