Here's a brief summary of the presentation that was presented on Monday, March 13, by Officer Jonathan Hulog of the U.S. Border Patrol. The presentation focused on the current situation at the US-Canadian and Southern border and the efforts being taken to address border security.
The northern border of the Spokane sector includes Eastern Washington to Western Montana. Three hundred agents are employed in this area.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection was formed in 2003. There are three distinct entities in CBP: Office of Field OPs (blue uniforms), Air and Marine Ops (dressed in yellow), and the Border Patrol (green uniforms). The first deals with trade and travel at ports of entry, the second with activities on the air and sea, and the third with illegal activities outside ports of entry and is mainly a field job. So if you are interested in what you can and cannot bring into the U.S., you would be dealing with Customs agents at one or more of the 238 ports of entry to the U.S. Illegal entry to the U.S. via water craft would be addressed by Air and Marine Ops. Crossing the border by land involves Border Patrol agents such as Jonathan.
Three quarters of CBP agents are involved with the southern border with Mexico, mainly with drugs and illegal immigration. Unfortunately, the Mexican cartel is involved with both. On the northern border, many illegal immigrants fly to Canada and hike to the U.S. There are 20,000 employees connected with border patrol. Border Patrol agents are embedded in other agencies and are called up for natural disasters, civil disturbances, and special operations. Despite good pay and a $20,000 enlistment bonus, a high rate of promotion, and an entry age of only 18, it's a difficult job series to recruit for. Horse patrols are common, using wild mustangs from BLM. Not surprisingly, there is active recruitment at rodeos.
Surveillance involves cameras, radar towers (with a reach of 12 miles), drones, and tracking skills. "Coyotes" are often armed, some are just young high schoolers from the local communities. Agents visit high schools and even grade schools to discourage young people from participating. Ranchers are important liaisons as well since they own large areas of land along the border. Immigration legislation is the biggest challenge; right now the bar for claiming asylum is low and most illegal immigrants are released after being charged.
Many thanks to Agent Hulog for his informative talk.