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Fact Sheet

March 16, 2004



  • Establish federal, state and local coordinated efforts to achieve operational control of the Arizona border and support of the Homeland Security priority mission of anti-terrorism, detection, arrest and deterrence of all cross-border illicit trafficking.
  • Significantly impair the ability of the smuggling organizations to operate.
  • Decrease the rate of violent crime and reduce the need for social services in southern Arizona.

Additional Tools for Success

    The Arizona Border Control (ABC) Initiative will build upon the combined assets within Homeland Security of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the Department of the Interior (DOI,) and other federal agencies. Close liaison will be maintained with the Tohono O’odham Nation and state and local law enforcement.
    • 60 Additional U.S. Border Patrol Agents who are specially trained in search, rescue and remote tactical operations will be deployed temporarily to support the ABC Initiative. These agents are able to deliver life-saving medical treatment in remote parts of the Arizona desert when necessary.
    • 200 experienced Border Patrol agents will be permanently assigned to Arizona this Summer bringing the Tucson Sector to more than 2000 agents.
    • Department of Interior will support and coordinate patrol activity on DOI entrusted lands which includes assigning a full-time coordinator to the ABC Initiative.
    • David Aguilar, Chief Patrol Agent for the Tucson Sector has been named Integrator of the ABC Initiative supported by Philip Crawford of ICE Detention and Removal Operations (DRO) as Deputy Integrator, to oversee and coordinate the efforts of Homeland Security assets.

    Additional aviation resources have been assigned to the ABC Initiative for border surveillance of illegal activities.

    • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) will be used beginning in early June along the border. Funding for this project comes from the FY ’04 budget in Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate.
    • Immigration and Customs Enforcement Air and Marine Operations will fly additional hours patrolling the area with both helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.
    • CBP/Border Patrol has assigned four additional A-Star 350 helicopters to assist with these efforts.
    • Air and Marine Operations and the Border Patrol will use additional aircraft to rapidly transport search, rescue and enforcement assets to remote areas of the Arizona desert.
    Investments to ensure the safety and security of Arizonans as well as potential illegal aliens will take place through additional resources and communication channels.

    • The ABC Initiative will continue efforts to disrupt, dismantle and target the financial assets of human smugglers. The U.S. Attorney for Arizona has committed to prosecute identified human smugglers.
    • Operation ICE Storm, a component of the ABC Initiative, implemented in October, 2003 has resulted in more than 2,059 criminal and administrative arrests, 162 indictments, as well as the seizure of 86 assault weapons and nearly $2.5 million. This operation will continue as part of the ABC Initiative.
    • ICE Detention and Removal officers will add resources to increase the capacity of detention space and removal assets.
    • Outreach efforts in order to warn would-be illegal migrants of the dangers of contracting smugglers and using the remote Arizona desert to effect their illegal entry into the United States.

    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, responsible for the enforcement of border, economic, infrastructure and transportation security laws. ICE seeks to prevent acts of terrorism by targeting the people, money and materials that support terrorist and criminal activities.

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