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Homeland Security

Border Security Overview

Border Security Overview

Protecting Our Borders

America shares 7,000 miles of land border with Canada and Mexico, as well as rivers, lakes and coastal waters around the country. These borders are vital economic gateways that account for trillions of dollars in trade and travel each year. They are also home to some of our nation’s largest – and safest – cities and communities. Protecting our borders from the illegal movement of weapons, drugs, contraband, and people, while promoting lawful entry and exit, is essential to homeland security, economic prosperity, and national sovereignty.

Creating a Safer Border Environment

DHS works to secure our borders through the deployment of personnel, technology, and infrastructure; as well as working closely with our neighbors in Canada and Mexico, and our many federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial partners.

CBP Border Patrol agents, agriculture specialists, Air and Marine agents, and officers guard America’s front lines. These men and women prevent terrorists and their weapons from entering the United States while continuing their mission of seizing contraband and apprehending criminals and others who illegally attempt to enter the United States.

Through increases in Border Patrol staffing; construction of new infrastructure and fencing; use of advanced technology—including sensors, radar, and aerial assets –investments to modernize the ports of entry; and stronger partnerships and information sharing, we are creating a safer, more secure, and more efficient border environment.

Making Travel Faster and the Border Safer

By expanding trusted traveler programs, we are enhancing our ability to expedite and facilitate known, low risk "trusted travelers" arriving into the United States. This makes it faster and easier for millions of visitors and business people to cross the border while allowing CBP officers additional time to focus on higher risk, unknown travelers.

DHS is continuing to make our border states safer. CBP Border Patrol apprehensions have dropped by 53 percent since 2008, indicating that fewer people are attempting to illegally cross the border; while the Border Patrol is better staffed than at any time in its history with more than 21,000 border agents— most of these agents at the Southwest border.  

Patrols in the Southwest have substantially increased the amount of drugs, guns, and cash seized over the last three years:

  • 74 percent more money
  • 41 percent more drugs, and
  • 159 percent more weapons have been apprehended.

Additionally, since 2008, crime rates have fallen in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas.

See Border Security Results

Last Published Date: November 1, 2013
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