What Doubling Border Patrol Agents Would Mean

"Of course, people would be deployed in similar roles to those that they're playing now," she said. "A lot of them are dealing with technology and monitoring flows and analyzing data. I mean, they're not just all out in vehicles surveilling, physically surveilling, along the border."

The surge of agents would likely lead Border Patrol to focus more on missions like intelligence and collaboration with other law enforcement agencies and Mexican officials.

What's the argument against more agents?

If you're someone who believes in limited government spending -- or devoting money to say, kids, instead of guys with guns -- then you'll probably see this as a waste. But there are more arguments against adding more agents than just the dollar cost.

Both Moran and Meissner agree that if Border Patrol doubled its workforce, agents are going to need proper training. Without that, the results could be disastrous.

"You've got to have seasoned, experienced people," Meissner said. "They're dealing with human lives; there are civil rights issues, human rights issues."

And then there's the militarization of the border. As spending on border security has increased in the past decade, migrants seem to be facing greater risks.

The number of known deaths among unauthorized border crossers went from 241 to 472 -- nearly double -- from 1999 to 2005, according to a Government Accountability Office report.

And the deaths don't just happen in the desert. At least 15 people have been killed by border agents in the Southwest since January 2010, The New York Times reported earlier this month. There's been scant transparency after shootings, and critics say there needs to be more accountability and oversight.

Oddly enough, Meissner thinks an increase in agents and lower immigration flows in the future could make the border even more dangerous for migrants. If the number of border crossers keeps dropping, there may be a presumption that whoever is crossing is a "real bad guy," Meissner said, "and that's not always the case."

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