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03 July 2003

Agents Added to U.S.-Canada Border to Enhance Homeland Security

(Over 375 new agents bring total to 1,000 on northern U.S. border)
(510)


The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) will deploy more
than 375 new border patrol agents to various locations along the
northern U.S. border with Canada to enhance security, according to a
July 2 CBP press release.


"Homeland security is our top priority," said CBP Commissioner Robert
Bonner. "Customs and Border Protection has the front-line
responsibility for detecting terrorists and terrorists weapons,
including weapons of mass destruction at our nation's borders."

By the end of 2003, there will be approximately 1,000 border patrol
agents permanently assigned to the U.S. northern border, the press
release said.

Following is the text of the CBP press release:

(begin text)

U.S. CUSTOMS BORDER PROTECTION AGENCY
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
Washington, D.C.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 2, 2003

CBP Assigns Additional Border Patrol Agents to Increase Northern
Border Security
(Over 375 agents to be re-assigned, bringing total to over 1,000 on
northern Border)

Washington, D.C. -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
Commissioner Robert C. Bonner has directed that additional Border
Patrol agents be deployed as part of the continuing effort to enhance
northern border security. More than three hundred and seventy-five
Border Patrol agents will be strategically and permanently assigned to
various locations along the northern border bringing the total number
of Border Patrol agents to 1,000 along the U.S border with Canada.

"Homeland security is our top priority," said CBP Commissioner Robert
Bonner. "Customs and Border Protection has the front-line
responsibility for detecting terrorists and terrorists weapons
including weapons of mass destruction at our nation's borders. The
Border Patrol is an essential part of Customs and Border Protection
and provides security against intrusions between our nation's official
crossing points. This is an important step in increasing security
along our northern border and is necessary given the continuing threat
of terrorism," Bonner added.

Funding for these additional permanent positions was provided in the
fiscal year 2003 budget passed by Congress. In May 2002, 245 Border
Patrol agents were selected as part of the northern border fiscal year
2002 enhancements and the wartime supplemental appropriation. By the
end of this year, approximately 1,000 Border Patrol agents will be
permanently assigned to the northern border. The Border Patrol has
also deployed additional aircraft to provide air coverage across the
entire northern border.

The Border Patrol was transferred from the former INS and became a
division of Customs and Border Protection on March 1, 2003. Customs
and Border Protection (CBP) is a new agency within the Department of
Homeland Securitys Border and Transportation Security Directorate. In
addition to the Border Patrol, CBP unifies all of the Inspectors
(Customs, Immigration and Agriculture) at the ports of entry of the
United States, including all of the ports of entry. Currently, CBP has
over 2,500 inspectors assigned to the northern border crossing points.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)