says the majority of U.S. Border Patrol agents don’t think they have been given
the tools they need to adequately protect the country from terrorists.
survey – which included comments from 500
front-line border protection personnel on homeland security issues – was conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates
for the National
Border Patrol Council, which represents roughly 10,000 Border Patrol employees
survey indicated that 64 percent of those questioned said they were “just somewhat or not really satisfied with the tools,
training and support” they have been given to stop potential terrorists from
entering the country.
In addition, the survey showed that a majority of Customs
and Border Patrol inspectors and Border Patrol agents interviewed think that
some of the federal strategies designed to increase security are ineffective.
Fifty-three percent of Customs and Border Patrol inspectors
say the agency’s “One Face at the Border” initiative has had a negative impact.
More than 75 percent of Border Patrol agents say the “strategy of deterrence,” another Homeland Security initiative is either “just
somewhat effective” or “not at all effective” in protecting the borders.
“After 9-11 they are trying to mesh three jobs into one,”
one agent told the survey firm, “whereas [before], each person would specialize
in their respective areas…”
“The bureaucratic bungling that plagued and hampered the
old Immigration and Naturalization Service has not only survived, it has
thrived in the new Department of Homeland Security,” T.J. Bonner, president of
the National Border Patrol Council, said in a statement.
Bonner’s group, which requested the survey, claims the poll
is the first time anyone had asked actual border protection workers about the
administration’s homeland security strategies.
“While the results of this survey come as no surprise to
anyone familiar with the situation on our borders, they should alarm everyone
else,” Bonner said.
Paula Keicer, a spokeswoman for Customs and Border
Protection, said the agency thinks it has given its agents all the tools
necessary to accomplish their jobs.
“Definitely,” she said. “We’re on the right course, but
we’re improving. On a day-to-day basis, we’re looking into things that need to
Keicer said those improvements are being accomplished with
help from field agents. She also contended that the survey didn’t do a very
good job of representing those agents’ views.
“It wasn’t a very good survey, because only 500 of our
42,000 CBP employees were questioned,” Keicer said. “So the methodology of the
survey was not complete.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is an agency within the
Department of Homeland Security that combined the U.S. Customs Service, U.S.
Immigration, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the U.S. Border
– by Mark H. Reddig, associate