Securing the nation's borders from illegal entry of aliens and contraband, including terrorists and weapons of mass destruction, continues to be a major challenge. In November 2005, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the launch of the Secure Border Initiative (SBI), a multiyear, multibillion dollar program aimed at securing U.S. borders and reducing illegal immigration. Within DHS, U.S. Custom and Border Protection's (CBP) SBI program is responsible for developing a comprehensive border protection system using technology, known as SBInet, and tactical infrastructure--fencing, roads, and lighting. GAO was asked to provide periodic updates on the status of the program. This report addresses (1) the extent to which CBP has implemented SBInet and the impact of delays that have occurred, and (2) the extent to which CBP has deployed tactical infrastructure and assessed its results. To do this work, GAO reviewed program schedules, status reports, and previous GAO work; interviewed DHS and CBP officials, among others; and visited three SBI sites where initial technology or fencing had been deployed at the time of GAO's review.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Bureau of Customs and Border Protection||1. To improve the quality of information available to allocate resources and determine tactical infrastructure's contribution to effective control of the border, the Commissioner of CBP should conduct a cost-effective evaluation of the impact of tactical infrastructure on effective control of the border.|