U.S. immigration laws context for U.S. Border Patrol
The United States Border Patrol is a law enforcement agency with responsibility for controlling the entry of individuals to the U.S. and specifically toward preventing the occurrence of illegal immigration as much as is possible. The U.S. Border Patrol can accordingly be responsible for removing individuals whom it detects attempting to move into the U.S. over the country’s borders.
As such, the U.S. Border Patrol exercises oversight over the nation’s long and largely unsettled borders with the two neighbors physically contiguous with the nation’s main landmass, as comprise Canada and Mexico. Administrative issues have ensured that the specific policy and workload shouldered by the U.S. Border Patrol with regard to those two nations differs to some extent:
U.S. Border Patrol functions in regard to Mexico:
Current social conditions and the past history of the often fraught relationship between the two countries have conspired to ensure that the main emphasis of the U.S. Border Patrol as a federal agency has often been both perceived and experienced as being toward enforcement against the occurrence of illegal immigration from the direction of Mexico.
For one, the high rates of poverty as have commonly been experienced by the population of Mexico, along with the more recently increased rate of violence to which the nation’s populace is similarly subject, have combined with the U.S.’s relatively high level of affluence and employment to provide an incentive for border crossings to occur northward, regardless of whether immigration and work visas have actually been granted
by the U.S. government.
Another factor in the difficulty faced by the U.S. Border Patrol consists of the past history of the two countries, as is most dramatically marked by the U.S.’s forcible seizure of a large portion of territory formerly under the control of Mexican authorities in the 19th century.
As a result, links persisted between the Spanish-speaking populations on both sides of the border as additionally acted to encourage greater rates of border crossings than would otherwise be allowed for by the empowered U.S. authorities. As such, the effectiveness of the U.S. Border Patrol in this area has often been questioned.
U.S. Border Patrol functions in regard to Canada
The relatively high affluence of Canada, as comparable to the U.S. and placed far above the levels in quality of life generally attained by the populace of Mexico, has typically ensured a much-reduced numbers of officers assigned by the U.S. Border Patrol in comparison with the similar functions exercised in regard to the U.S.-Mexico border.
Administrative history of the U.S Border Patrol
Along with long-standing practical issues, the U.S. Border Patrol has more recently been affected by the increased concern over national security issues raised by the terrorist attacks committed on U.S. soil on September 11, 2001, and by the associated rise in violent Islamic fundamentalism around the globe. As such, the U.S. Border Patrol was shifted from the oversight of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to the Department of Homeland Security.