The U.S. Border Patrol is the organization that polices the entry of illegal immigrants into our country. The official mission of the United States Border patrol is to protect the boundaries of the United States by preventing illegal entry, and by detecting, interdicting, and apprehending illegal aliens, smugglers, and contraband. Today, the United States Border Patrol consists of 21 sectors. Each sector is headed by a chief patrol agent. There are 145 stations located throughout the continental United States, and in Puerto Rico. The Border Patrol controls the border by land, sea, and air. The Border Patrol has jurisdiction across all United States borders and at least 25 miles off the border. The Border Patrol agents are responsible to check factories for illegal workers. As of September of 1995, the Border Patrol had 530 agents.
The Border Patrol's efforts may be sufficient but many people believe that there are many problems in the methods of the Border Patrol. First, many people think that all of the equipment is costing the taxpayers too much. An estimation by TIME magazine states that in California alone, $400 million is spent on healthcare for illegal immigrants. CNN says that the care of illegal immigrants in one hospital in Jacksonville, Florida costs taxpayers $44.5 million. A Federal Government estimate says that $1.6 billion dollars is spent on the education of illegal immigrants each year in California alone. Just think of how much money is spent on illegal immigrants across the country. Now this is just the cost of the immigrants that get through the border patrol. These costs could be greatly lowered if the Border Patrol would do its job. Let alone the cost of the illegal immigrants that manage to get through the Border Patrol, the Border Patrol alone is costing plenty. In an overview, some people believe that we are spending too much money on the border patrol, considering that they simply are not doing their job. We are giving them so much money to get the latest equipment, but still people are getting through.
The people in favor of the Border patrol have the basic idea that, yes, the Border Patrol used to be ineffective, but now due to many improvements in federal money, manpower, and technology the Border Patrol is very effective. They say that the reason for all the illegal immigrants in the U.S. is due to when the Border Patrol was not as effective as it could or should be. From the start of the Clinton administration, a $500 million crackdown on illegal immigration was put into effect, most of that money put into the Border Patrol. "Operation Gatekeeper" financed new lights, fencing, vehicles, equipment, and agents. It was the most extensive crackdown ever made against illegal immigrants. Robert Bach, the top policy and planning official for the immigration agency states, "It is a wonderful progress in an area where, frankly, most of us never believed that government intervention like this would work", "This is historic. These routes of travel that Mexicans have been using for decades. We have broken that up." After only one year of "Operation Gatekeeper," the size of the Border Patrol has doubled. The amount of immigrants caught has also almost doubled. In an overview of the supporters argument, they believe that new improvements in the Border Patrol have indeed decreased the amount of illegal immigrants and should be allowed continuing funding to further decrease the amount of illegal immigrants entering the country.
As you can see, there are many different views toward the processes of the Border Patrol. There is no doubt that the Border Patrol and the illegal immigrants getting into the country is costing the American Government a lot of money, but is the money being spent as well as it could be? Do you think that there should be more or less funding of the border patrol? Where do you find yourself in this debate? Are you for or against the efforts of the United States Border Patrol?