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Highlights

The U.S. Border Patrol, a component of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency, a part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), aims to apprehend persons who illegally enter the United States between official ports of entry, including potential terrorists, aliens, and contraband smugglers, thereby deterring or stopping illegal activity. The Patrol operates permanent and tactical (temporary) interior traffic checkpoints on major and secondary U.S. roads, mainly in the southwest border states where most illegal entries occur, as part of a multi-layer strategy to maximize detection and apprehension of illegal entrants. This report addresses (1) the role of interior checkpoints in the Patrol's strategy; (2) what is known about checkpoint costs and benefits; and (3) how checkpoints are evaluated and what performance measures indicate regarding their effectiveness.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Bureau of Customs and Border Protection 1. To better gauge the effects of border control efforts, the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection should develop additional performance measures for the Border Patrol for the productivity and effectiveness of interior checkpoints, such as apprehensions per agent work year and cost per apprehension.
Closed - Implemented
The Border Patrol has put in place a number of measures of performance intended to assess annual performance that substantially meet the intent of our recommendation.
Bureau of Customs and Border Protection 2. To better gauge the effects of border control efforts, the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection should include in CBP's Performance and Annual Report data and analysis provided by the additional performance measures on the performance of interior checkpoints and what might be done to improve their effectiveness.
Closed - Not Implemented
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has not reported data using a checkpoint performance effectiveness measure in its annual Performance Plan or the Department of Homeland Security Performance and Accountability Report, or included in these reports analysis of how checkpoint performance can be improved. Checkpoint performance data CBP includes in these reports are limited to outputs in terms of apprehensions, drug seizures, and referrals for prosecution.

Full Report