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 Home > News & Policies > January 2002

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 25, 2002

Securing America's Borders Fact Sheet: Border Security
Fact Sheet Action Plan for Creating a Secure and Smart Border

America's borders - land, air or sea - are the boundaries between the United States and the rest of the world. The massive flow of people and goods across our borders helps drive our economy, but can also serve as a conduit for terrorists, weapons of mass destruction, illegal migrants, contraband, and other unlawful commodities. The new threats and opportunities of the 21st century demand a new approach to border management. President Bush envisions a border that is grounded on two key principles:

  • First, America's air, land, and sea borders must provide a strong defense for the American people against all external threats, most importantly international terrorists but also drugs, foreign disease, and other dangerous items.
  • Second, America's border must be highly efficient, posing little or no obstacle to legitimate trade and travel.

The President's 2003 Budget begins the process of achieving this vision of the border of the future.

Facts about America's Borders

  • The United States has a 7500-mile land and air border shared with Canada and Mexico and an exclusive economic zone encompassing 3.4 million square miles.  
  • Each year, more than 500 million people are admitted into the United States, of which 330 million are non-citizens.  
  • On land, 11.2 million trucks and 2.2 million rail cars cross into the United States, while 7,500 foreign-flag ships make 51,000 calls in U.S.  ports annually.
  • The Smart Border of the Future
    America requires a border management system that keeps pace with expanding trade while protecting the United States and its territories from the threats of terrorist attack, illegal immigration, illegal drugs, and other contraband. The border of the future must integrate actions abroad to screen goods and people prior to their arrival in sovereign U.S. territory, and inspections at the border and measures within the United States to ensure compliance with entry and import permits. Federal border control agencies must have seamless information-sharing systems that allow for coordinated communication among themselves, and also the broader law enforcement and intelligence gathering communities. This integrated system would provide timely enforcement of laws and regulations. Agreements with our neighbors, major trading partners, and private industry will allow extensive pre-screening of low-risk traffic, thereby allowing limited assets to focus attention on high-risk traffic. The use of advanced technology to track the movement of cargo and the entry and exit of individuals is essential to the task of managing the movement of hundreds of millions of individuals, conveyances, and vehicles.

    Some of this work has already begun with Canada, our largest trading partner. On December 12, 2001, Governor Tom Ridge, Director of the Office of Homeland Security, and John Manley, then Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs, signed the "Smart Border Declaration" with a 30-point action plan that will help speed and secure the flow of people and goods between the United States and Canada. The Smart Border Declaration recognizes that "our current and future prosperity and security depend on a border that operates efficiently and effectively under all circumstances." A similar effort is currently underway with Mexico.

    Border Security Initiatives in the 2003 Budget
    In the 2003 Budget, the President will propose approximately $11 billion for border security, including $380 million for the Immigration and Naturalization Service to construct a state of the art Entry-Exit visa system. In total, this will represent an increase of $2.2 billion from the 2002 Budget for border security. This additional funding will allow our border agencies to begin implementing a seamless air, land, and sea border that protects the United States against foreign threats while moving legitimate goods and people into and out of the country. The new border initiatives will be managed by the agencies with primary responsibility for border control.

    U.S. Customs Service -- Inspections
    The President's 2003 Budget increases the inspection budget of the Customs Services by $619 million, for a total of $2.3 billion.  This additional funding increases the ability of the Customs Service to fulfill its critical border security role. Specifically, the additional resources in the 2003 Budget will allow the Customs Service to achieve the following key objectives:

    • Additional Personnel.  The Customs Service will complete the hiring of approximately 800 new inspectors and agents to carry out additional security activities on our borders and at our seaports.
    • New Technology.  The President's Budget provides resources to purchase technologically advanced equipment that will assist in inspecting shipments so that time consuming and labor-intensive searches can be minimized.

    Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) -- Enforcement
    The President's 2003 Budget increases the INS budget for enforcement by $1.2 billion, for a total of $5.3 billion, including the resources necessary to implement the Entry-Exit visa system. These resources will enhance key INS missions related to homeland security, including border patrol, inspections, and the implementation of a technologically advanced system for monitoring the entry and exit of foreign visitors. Key goals include:

    • Additional Personnel.   The INS will more than double the number of border patrol agents and inspectors on the northern border. INS will also install integrated information systems to ensure that timely, accurate and complete enforcement data is transmitted to INS agents and other border security agencies operating in the field.
    • Entry-Exit Tracking System.   The INS will implement a new entry-exit system to track the arrival and departure of non-U.S. citizens. This new system will dramatically improve our ability to deny access to those individuals who should not enter the United States, while speeding the entry of routine, legitimate traffic.

    United States Coast Guard
    The President's 2003 Budget increases funding for the Coast Guard's homeland security-related missions (protecting ports and coastal areas, as well as interdiction activities) by $282 million, to an overall level of $2.9 billion. After September 11, the Coast Guard's port security mission grew from approximately 1-2 percent of daily operations to between 50-60 percent today. In addition, the Coast Guard has important national security missions such as illegal immigration and drug interdiction and port security.

    • Coordination.   Working with other port entities, the Coast Guard is developing tracking mechanisms for all vessels operating in the maritime domain: within or transiting to U.S. ports and transiting our coastal waters. The heart of this maritime domain awareness program is accurate information, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance of all vessels, cargo, and people extending well beyond our traditional maritime boundaries.
    • Coastal Asset and Infrastructure Protection.  Coast Guard forces will provide enhanced defenses for critical high-risk vessels and coastal facilities, marine and otherwise (e.g. nuclear power plants, oil refineries). Close coordination through Harbor Safety Committees, which help bring together the many local, state, and Federal agencies that maintain and protect the harbor, will ensure a well-balanced protective envelope is sustained at different threat levels