SAN DIEGO -- Recent data indicates illegal immigration from Mexico has dropped significantly over the past few years, to the point that it has essentially reached zero.
In light of that, Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher went before Congress on Tuesday to unveil the agency’s latest strategic plan. The previous one, created in the 1990s and refined after 9/11, focused on an unprecedented buildup of resources. The Border Patrol has more than doubled the number of agents to about 21,000 and invested billions of dollars in new technology, some of which has failed.
The strategy was known as prevention through deterrence.
Now, the plan is to deploy resources based on intelligence to respond to specific threats. One area is the disruption of criminal gangs, like the powerful Mexican drug cartels, which are blamed for much of the violence and crime along the border.
“Through targeted enforcement against high priority threats and the expansion of programs that aim to reduce smuggling and associated crimes, the Border Patrol will increase the ability to disrupt and degrade the transnational criminal organizations along our borders," Fisher testified before a Congressional subcommittee.
Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), whose district includes a portion of the U.S.-Mexico border, welcomes the change in strategy. But he questions how the new plan will be implemented. He also wonders what system would be used to determine its success.
“I appreciate the strategic plan, but we still got a lot more work to go," Cuellar said. "The goals, the priority goals and the performance measures.”
Fisher said the rest of the plan should be ready by 2013.