Campaign Promises

Departments -> Homeland Security -> Border Security

ItemHomeland Security
Border SecurityGrade
HS-1 The Promise: "Support the virtual and physical infrastructure and manpower necessary to secure our borders and keep our nation safe."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan for Homeland Security dated 11/16/08.
Status:According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the USA was home to approximately 12M illegal immigrants as of CY2016. In CY2009, 132K of 392K illegal aliens apprehended were classified as "criminal aliens" by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency and deported. In CY2016, 135K criminal aliens were apprehended and deported.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 provided $280M for technology improvements along the southern border, $420M for construction of Customs & Border Protection (CBP) facilities, and $1B for airport explosives detection systems.

The Total Budget Authority (TBA) for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for FY2010 was $56.0B, a $3.3B increase over the FY2009 authorization (excluding $2.8B from the ARRA) and included $368M to support 20,000 CBP agents protecting 7,479 miles of U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada, as well as the coastal waters around Florida and Puerto Rico. Under President Obama, the TBA for DHS had risen to $68.3B for FY2017.

Six (6) unarmed "Predator B" Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) provided border surveillance in the Southwest as of CY2016 with another three (3) operating along the border with Canada between Minnesota and the State of Washington. These are supplemented by eight (8) aerostats that form the Tethered Aerostat Radar System (TARS) to provide surveillance of the U.S./Mexico border, south Florida and Puerto Rico, as well as some 16,800 vehicles, 245 aircraft, 295 watercraft, and 300 camera towers.

On 05/25/10, President Obama ordered the deployment of 1,200 National Guard troops to the border under "Operation Phalanx." This broke down to 524 for Arizona, 250 for Texas, 224 for California, 72 for New Mexico, and 130 for Command and Control and other support functions. A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report at that time, indicated that only 44% of the Southwest border (about 860 miles) was under the CBP's operational control. On 08/11/10, the Senate approved $600M for an additional 1,000 border agents, 250 CBP agents, and 250 ICE agents. President Obama signed this bill on 08/13/10, bringing the number of agents along the border with Mexico to 18,200.

FY2009 enacted authorizations were $11.30B plus $680M under the ARRA for the CBP and $6.03B plus $20M under the ARRA for ICE. The operational budget numbers under President Obama were as follows:


For Border Security Fencing, Infrastructure and Technology:

By end-CY2016, nearly 700 of the 1,969 mile border with Mexico had been fenced off. Recorded apprehensions accounted for about 80% of 500K suspected illegal crossings.

Manpower to enforce the nation's border security did not fare well under President Obama. CBP Agent staffing in CY2009 was 20,119 (17,408 for the Southwest Border, 1,887 for the Northern Border, and 223 for Coastal Border sectors). By end-CY2016, despite manpower increases in CY2010-CY2012, the total number of agents had dropped to 19,828 (17,026 Southwest, 2,059 Northern, and 211 for Coastal sectors). Total ICE personnel strength went up from about 12,500 in CY2009 to about 19,300 in CY2015.

As of end-CY2016, President Obama had delivered on his promise to "support" border security initiatives in terms of personnel, infrastructure and technology.

This promise was fulfilled.