Border Control:

Revised Strategy Is Showing Some Positive Results

GGD-95-30: Published: Dec 29, 1994. Publicly Released: Jan 31, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed U.S. efforts to secure the southwest border, focusing on: (1) the extent to which border security is threatened by drug smuggling and illegal immigration; and (2) ways the United States can enhance security between ports of entry.

GAO found that: (1) although the full extent of drug smuggling and illegal immigration is unknown, both pose serious security threats along the U.S. southwest border; (2) despite U.S. law enforcement efforts, the flow of cocaine and illegal immigrants continues and is expected to increase; (3) a 1993 study on ways to enhance security along the southwest border between ports of entry recommended that the Border Patrol emphasize entry prevention instead of apprehension, construct physical barriers, and set up additional highway checkpoints to prevent entry; (4) although there is increased interest in a national entry prevention strategy, many officials believe that drug smuggling and illegal immigration activities have merely been rerouted to other southwest border areas where enforcement is less effective; (5) the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) plans to implement a national strategy that focuses on preventing illegal entry; and (6) it is too early to assess what impact the new INS strategy will have on drug smuggling and illegal immigration along the southwest border.

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