The U.S. Border Patrol is a specific subdivision of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency. Border Patrol agents have broad powers to enforce various laws, regulations, and policies related to protecting the United States borders. In an immigration law context, Border Patrol performs many different tasks that are directly related to immigration violations and policies.
Some of the tasks that Border Patrol performs can include:
- Arresting persons under suspicion of illegal immigration
- Building border fences and other structures
- Participating in the removal / deportation process
- Patrolling for border safety purposes
- Performing traffic inspections for hidden passengers (this has expanded to sites such as bus stops and railway stations)
- Identifying and protecting against terrorist threats
Border Patrol agents are authorized to employ the use of force if necessary. Also, Border Patrol often works in conjunction with other government agencies, such as the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) and local/state/federal law enforcement agencies.
Border Patrol policies have often come under criticism, mainly due to the increased use of force and surveillance after 9/11. Due to the increased strictness surrounding border policies, some legal issues have arisen in connection with border patrol issues.
Some of these may include:
- Illegal Immigration: stricter policies have led to greater numbers of deportation and removal due to illegal immigration; some states have enforced stricter immigration policies
- Documentation issues: some states and jurisdictions are seeking to enforce policies that require greater monitoring of immigrant documents, especially for employers who hire immigrants
- Transportation of illegal goods: confiscation of property often occurs in connection with Border Patrol, who may be seeking for illegal drugs, prohibited fruits and vegetables and other items. Retrieving property after an arrest may sometimes be difficult
- Arrest and detainment of non-illegal aliens: in some cases, aliens who are legitimately in the country have been arrested and even removed from the country, because of factors such as wrong identifications. Immigrant apprehension laws often provide remedies for aliens who have been wrongfully detained by Border Patrol
One concern with Border Patrol issues is that non-citizens are often not afforded the same constitutional rights and protections as U.S. citizens. Thus, if you or a loved one is facing any border-related issues, you may wish to speak with an immigration attorney immediately for advice and legal representation.
Border patrol is an important aspect of national security as well as immigration policy. If you or a loved one needs legal assistance for border patrol issues, it’s in your best interests to hire a qualified immigration lawyer. Your attorney can advise you of how to proceed with the legal process, and can also represent you if you’re required to make an appearance in a court of law.