Border Patrol:

Southwest Border Enforcement Affected by Mission Expansion and Budget

T-GGD-92-66: Published: Aug 5, 1992. Publicly Released: Aug 5, 1992.

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GAO discussed the Immigration and Naturalization Service's (INS) Border Patrol's enforcement activities. GAO noted that: (1) the Border Patrol maintains control of the international boundaries between the ports-of-entry by detecting and preventing the smuggling and illegal entry of aliens into the United States; (2) between fiscal year (FY) 1986 and FY 1991, Border Patrol funding increased 82 percent, from $164 million to $299 million, although Border Patrol officials have not been able to fund all of its authorized positions along the southwest border; (3) the proportion of time spent by Border Patrol agents on border control activities has declined from 71 percent of total hours in FY 1985 to 60 percent in FY 1991; (4) overall the apprehension rate has decreased, as southwest border sectors made 4 apprehensions per 10 hours in FY 1986, compared to 2.7 apprehensions per 10 hours in FY 1991; (5) at the 4 sectors GAO visited along the southwest border, the Border Patrol vehicles and electronic equipment were in poor condition and, as of FY 1991, 49 percent of all Border Patrol vehicles exceeded mileage criteria for vehicle replacement; (6) without suitable vehicles and electronic detection devices, the Border Patrol has sometimes left areas known for high levels of illegal entry and drug smuggling unpatrolled; and (7) the Border Patrol's ability to carry out its enforcement mission has been negatively affected by the decrease in the proportion of agent time devoted to border control activities and the poor condition of its equipment.

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