9 Border Patrol stations to close – 6 in Texas – as agents move closer to border
FAR WEST TEXAS – Nine Border Patrol stations will be deactivated within the next six months to move 41 agents closer to the southern and northern borders, according to a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
CBP Spokesman Bill Brooks of Marfa said the interior stations that will be closed are in some instances hundreds of miles from a border. He said the decision is in keeping with a strategy to use resources wisely and “increasingly concentrate our resources on the border.”
The Texas stations that will be deactivated are in Abilene, San Angelo, Dallas, San Antonio, Lubbock, and Amarillo, and in Billings, Montana; Twin Falls, Idaho; and Riverside, California.
As to how many of those agents the Big Bend Sector may get, “We don’t know yet,” said Brooks. “The process is only beginning.”
The Big Bend Sector – formerly the Marfa Sector – stretches from Sierra Blanca to Sanderson, and from the Texas-Mexico border to Oklahoma, “165,000 square miles and 510 miles of border with Mexico,” Brooks said.
The area sector has stations in Presidio, Marfa, Alpine, Van Horn, Sierra Blanca, Midland, Pecos, Fort Stockton, Sanderson, and a Big Bend National Park substation.
Two of the stations to be deactivated, Lubbock and Amarillo, are in the Big Bend Sector.
But the Federation for American Immigration Reform said the interior stations are a needed “second line of defense” to track down and apprehend illegal immigrants who make it past international borders and into heavily traveled corridors in the United States.
Brooks said the decision has been in the works for some time, but local officials and the media are now being notified. He said the move was not influenced by any recent news events involving immigration.
There will be a budget savings of $1.3 million a year when the nine posts are closed, according to Brooks.
Administration officials have said regular apprehensions of illegal border crossers are at their lowest levels in decades, indicating the administration’s border strategy is succeeding. Some in Congress don’t echo that view.
Brooks, the longtime Big Bend Sector spokesman, now handles public information for the entire southern border, and his title is Branch Chief Southwest Border, Media Division
Office of Public Affairs,
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
CNN and Sentinel and International reporter Robert Halpern contributed to this report.
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