OBP005015

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Bureau of Customs and Border Protection PF225 Operational Justification
Report Date: 01/18/2008 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Project Fence 225 is a Department of Homeland Security initiative designed to provide tactical infrastructure and technology deployment supplemented by a mobile law enforcement presence. The deployment of the tactical infrastructure will enhance border security and prevent the entry of terrorists and terrorist weapons of mass effect while at the same time impacting upon human trafficking and narcotics organizations’ ability to operate along our Nation’s border. Project Fence 225 will augment current station resources along with future technologies deployed via the SBInet program in targeted areas to achieve operational control of the nation’s northern and southern borders. The deployment of the tactical infrastructure is geared toward disrupting identified routes of ingress into the United States that are utilized by smugglers and potential terrorists, providing RGV Sector the means to formulate pre-emptive strategies to address these incursions through the deployment and integration of tactical infrastructure, technology and personnel. RGV border stations have identified several significant areas where a border security fence will assist with achieving the mission of the border patrol. These projects are known as RGV Sector Projects O-1 through O-21. These areas have been selected for the placement of a fence based on the operational necessity in each particular area. Each selected area has geographic characteristics requiring an actual physical barrier in conjunction with the appropriate mix of personnel and detection technology. SITUATION General Situation: PF 225 is designed to provide for additional tactical infrastructure deployment (border fencing), to enhance current law enforcement patrols, and to coordinate government enforcement assets and to address the high volume of illicit trafficking activities in and around the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Sector. This deployment of tactical infrastructure will target high traffic areas in order to enhance the probability of apprehension of terrorists, weapons of mass effect (WME), Aliens from Special Interest Countries (ASIC), Other Than Mexican (OTM), Undocumented Migrants (UDM), Human Trafficking Organizations (HTO) and Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTO) from entering illegally through the RGV Area of Responsibility.

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General Concept: The concept of the operation is to deploy tactical infrastructure while utilizing current and future technological assets throughout the approximately pre-designated 70.00 miles of targeted areas. It will provide field agents with real-time intelligence and a tactical advantage over illegal entries throughout the operational area. This operation will strengthen the Sector’s defense in-depth strategy and is intended to push the station’s northern depth of intrusion as far south from the IBWC levee as possible, and with the implementation of additional technologies will ultimately push operational control as far south as the US/Mexico border.

Synopsis of Each Project Project O-1 Roma & Project O-2 Rio Grande City, Texas
The terrain throughout the Rio Grande City Area of Responsibility consists of urban, rural and remote areas. The rural areas consist of both farmlands with wooded areas lining the river’s edge, and rolling hills that are dense in brush and cacti. The urban areas consist of neighborhoods and businesses within close proximity to the river. Pedestrian fencing would cover several river miles of urban area in the cities of Roma (project O-1), Rio Grande City, Texas (project O-2) and the rural areas immediately adjacent to these cities. This pedestrian fencing would cover approximately 3.8 miles of urban and rural area in Roma, Texas. In Rio Grande City, Texas pedestrian fencing would cover approximately 8.7 miles of urban and rural area. The proximity of the Rio Grande River to neighborhoods, the Roma Port of Entry (O-1) and the Rio Grande City Port of Entry (O-2) have historically provided concealment for illegal entrants facilitating quick passage to vanishing points. Short response times and traffic congestion make these areas a desirable crossing point for all types of illegal activities to include drug and human smugglers. The possibility of detection and apprehension is diminished by the ease with which a person can vanish into the community infrastructure and population within minutes, sometimes only seconds. In these areas, pedestrian fencing will be significantly beneficial to the operational needs of the Rio Grande City station in that it would funnel illegal activities outside of urban areas to rural and remote areas where vanishing times are greater; thus increasing the chances of detection and apprehension. Vanishing Point: The average time for illegal entrants to travel to vanishing points is from several seconds to a few minutes. With the placement of the fence, this time will undoubtedly increase. If incursions are forced to cross in areas where there is no fence, the increase in travel time will allow additional response time for enforcement personnel to interdict illegal entrants.

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Project O-3 Los Ebanos, Texas
Fence placement in this location provides additional security for the area surrounding the LSE POE. Due to the proximity of the City of Los Ebanos, Texas to the Rio Grande River, response time for interdiction is limited. Counter-surveillance activity by smuggling organizations is commonplace and facilitated by the local community infrastructure. Fencing is needed in these areas due to heavy illicit smuggling activity and quick passage to vanishing points. The construction of the proposed fence greatly increases law enforcement response time and will prevent illegal incursions from blending in with the local population and infrastructure. Vanishing Point: The average time for illegal entrants to travel through routes of egress to vanishing points is from several seconds to approximately 10 minutes. With the placement of the fence, this time will undoubtedly increase. If incursions are forced to cross in areas where there is no fence, the vanishing point should increase by 5 minutes to 20 minutes, allowing additional time for enforcement personnel to interdict illegal entries.

Project O-4 Penitas, Texas to Abram, Texas
This area consists of fencing to begin where the U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission levee begins, just west of Penitas, Texas. The proposed fence will parallel the levee until reaching Abram Extension Road. The areas south of the proposed fence are primarily Federal refuge property and farmland. This particular area continually experiences significant illegal trafficking of undocumented immigrants and narcotics due to the ease of concealment that the dense vegetation provides. Response times are hindered in this area due to the heavy brush in many areas which provides cover and concealment until reaching the levee. North of the community of Abram, Texas is more native brush land which facilitates passage into the community of Perezville. A network of trails leads to various routes of egress for smugglers. Counter-surveillance efforts by smuggling organizations are commonplace and can easily be achieved from within the communities of Penitas and Abram. Placement of a fence would deter incursions from this area to more remote areas ultimately disrupting established smuggling routes. Vanishing Point: The current average time for illegal entrants to travel through routes of egress to vanishing points is from 10 minutes to 30 minutes. Placement of the fence would increase the vanishing time by about 20 minutes to 45 minutes for traffic attempting to circumvent the proposed fence.

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Project O-5 Granjeno, Texas
This project consists of continuous fence running just south of the Anzalduas Port of Entry which is currently under construction near Granjeno, Texas. This fencing will provide additional security for the POE as well as for the community of Granjeno, Texas. The intended impacts of the proposed fence in this area would be to deter any illegal incursions near the city of Granjeno, Texas and reroute any illegal trafficking into areas where Agents would have the advantage of additional response time. The proposed fence in this location would prevent illegal entrants from concealing themselves within the city of Granjeno and would force any illegal routes of travel around the city. This rerouting gives enforcement personnel a significant advantage and should result in a higher rate of apprehension and ultimately serving in a deterrence effect. Similar to the Pharr POE, the Anzalduas POE construction design consist of a long bridge spanning across several acres of U.S. soil before crossing into Mexico. The Pharr POE has historically experienced bridge jumpers utilizing ropes to scale from the bridge and smugglers utilizing the bridge to cross illegal cargo and dumping it over the bridge without having to negotiate the actual river itself. The fence placement in this area would limit the success rate of attempts to circumvent the POE facility itself. Vanishing Point: The average time for illegal entrants to travel through routes of egress to vanishing points is from 5 minutes to 30 minutes. Placement of the fence would increase the vanishing time by 15 to 30 minutes.

Project O-6 Hidalgo, Texas
Placement of the fence in this area is essential due the refuge property along the Rio Grande River near Hidalgo, Texas that provides concealment and facilitates easy passage of illegal incursions into the Hidalgo, Texas area. The Hidalgo, Texas area has historically been the focal point of the McAllen Station due to its proximity to the city of Reynosa. Reynosa continues to be a significant smuggling hub for illegal entrants and narcotics. The area is nationally notorious for the apprehension of undocumented immigrants originating and/or traveling through “Special Interest Countries” as defined by OBP. This particular area has experienced a significant amount of reportable border violence incidences, including assaults on Border Patrol Agents. Placement of the fence in this area enhances our ability to detect possible illegal incursions making it vital for McAllen Border Patrol Operations. Vanishing Point: The average time for illegal entrants to travel through routes of egress to vanishing points is currently from several seconds to about 20 minutes. The addition of a fence would significantly increase the vanishing points providing the Border Patrol an extended response time. Construction of a fence in this area would greatly improve response time. The fence would greatly benefit this area due to the fact that it is Federal Refuge property comprises the majority of the land located between the Rio Grande River and the city of

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Hidalgo, Texas. In this area, technology and increased personnel would ssist in deterring illegal incursions in and around Hidalgo, Texas but a physical barrier is needed due to the city’s proximity to the river and adjacent refuge property.

Project O-7 & O-8 Donna, Texas
The terrain throughout the Weslaco Border Patrol Area of Responsibility consists of 39 river miles of urban and rural areas. The rural areas consist of both farmlands with wooded areas lining the river’s edge, and the urban areas consist of neighborhoods and businesses within close proximity to the Rio Grande River. The proposed location of both fence projects will tie into the future Donna Port of Entry fence on both the east and west sides creating a continuous fence line. The dense brush and remoteness in these areas in and around the new Donna Port of Entry (O-7) and the Retamal Dam area (O-8) currently require additional resources. The possibility of detection and apprehension of an illegal entrant is currently diminished because of the dense brush used as concealment. Vanishing Point: In these areas, fencing will funnel illegal activities to areas where the time it takes to reach the vanishing point is expanded, less dense brush, more tactically advantageous locations (where future infrastructure, i.e. cameras, will be located), increasing the chances of detection and apprehension. Consequently, the fence will act as a force multiplier thus effectively allowing the redeployment of resources to other areas.

Project O-9 & O-10 Progreso, Texas
The terrain throughout the Weslaco Border Patrol Station’s Area of Responsibility consists of 39 river miles of urban and rural areas. The rural areas consist of both farmlands with wooded areas lining the river’s edge, and the urban areas consisting of neighborhoods and businesses also within close proximity to the river. The proposed location of pedestrian fencing will cover urban areas near the city of Progreso Lakes, Texas (project O-9), and near the rural areas of the Progreso Port of Entry (project O-10). The proposed location of the fence will tie into the Progreso Port of Entry fence thus creating a continuous fence line. The proximity of the Rio Grande River to neighborhoods, the city of Progreso Lakes, (O9) and the Progreso Port of Entry (O-10) provides concealment and facilitates easy passage of illegal incursions into the surrounding communities. Short response times and highly dense brush make these areas desirable crossing points for all types of illegal activities including drug and human smuggling. The possibility of detection and apprehension is diminished by the ease with which a person can vanish into the community’s infrastructure and population within minutes. In these areas, pedestrian fencing will be significantly beneficial to the operational needs of the Weslaco Station in that it would funnel illegal activities to other more rural and remote areas where the time it takes to reach the vanishing point is expanded thus increasing the chances of detection and apprehension.

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Vanishing Point: In these areas, fencing will funnel illegal activities to areas where the time it takes to reach the vanishing point is expanded, less dense brush, more tactically advantageous locations (where future infrastructure, i.e. cameras, will be located), increasing the chances of detection and apprehension. Consequently, the fence will act as a force multiplier thus effectively allowing the redeployment of resources to other areas.

Project O-11 Santa Maria-Bluetown, Texas
The fence starts at the Santa Maria Canal and parallels the levee to Nemo Road in Bluetown, Texas. The areas south of the proposed fence are primarily Federal and State refuge properties and farmland. This particular area continually experiences significant illegal trafficking of undocumented immigrants and narcotics due to heavy brush that provides cover and concealment until reaching the levee. A network of trails leads to various routes of egress utilized by human traffickers and narcotic smugglers. Placement of a fence would redirect illegal entrants to undesired and unestablished locations providing additional time for agents to effectively and promptly make arrests. Vanishing Point: The average time for intruders to reach the vanishing point is from 5 minutes to approximately 20 minutes. With the placement of the fence, this vulnerability time will undoubtedly increase. If incursions are forced to cross in areas where there is no fence, the vanishing point should increase from 20 minutes to 45 minutes, allowing additional time for enforcement personnel to interdict the illegal cross-border activities.

Project O-12 West side Los Indios, Texas
The fence starts at the Yellow Barn Road and runs parallel to the levee to Treviño Road in Los Indios, Texas. The areas south of the proposed fence are primarily farmland, dense brush and vegetation, while the areas north of the proposed fence have a number of small sub-divisions. Due to the ability of illegal entrants to blend in with the local community and quick access to routes of egress, this particular area is conducive to illegal incursions by undocumented immigrants and narcotic smugglers. Law enforcement efforts are hindered in this area due to the heavy brush, which provides cover and concealment for illegal entrants until reaching the levee. The incorporation of a fence in this area will redirect potential cross-border violators away from the community towards more open and uninhabited areas. Vanishing Point: The current average time for illegal entrants to reach the vanishing point is from 2 minutes to 10 minutes. Placement of the fence would increase the vulnerable time from approximately 15 minutes to 30 minutes for traffic attempting to circumvent the proposed fence. This will allow additional time for agents to interdict the illegal cross-border activities.

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Project O-13 Los Indios, Texas
This fencing will provide additional security for the POE as well as for the community of Los Indios, Texas. The areas south of the proposed fence are primarily Federal refuge properties and farmland. A network of trails leads to various routes of egress for illegal entrants. The intended impacts of the proposed fence in this area would be to deter any and all illegal incursions near the city of Los Indios, Texas and redirect any illegal trafficking into areas where agents would have the advantage of additional response time. The proposed fence in this location would prevent undocumented immigrants from concealing themselves within the city of Los Indios and would force the routes of egress around the city. This rerouting gives agents a significant advantage and should result in a higher rate of apprehension. Law enforcement efforts are hindered in this area due to the heavy brush, which provides cover and concealment until reaching the levee. Vanishing Point: The current average time for illegal entrants to reach the vanishing point is from 5 minutes to 20 minutes. Placement of the fence would increase the vulnerable time from approximately 15 minutes to 30 minutes for traffic attempting to circumvent the proposed fence. This will allow additional time for agents to interdict the illegal cross-border activities.

Project O-14 Los Indios, Texas
This fencing will provide additional security for the POE as well as for the community of Los Indios, Texas. The areas south of the proposed fence are primarily dense brush and farmland providing cover and concealment for illegal entrants. The intended impacts of the proposed fence in this area would be to deter any illegal incursions near the city of Los Indios, Texas and reroute any illegal trafficking into areas where agents would have additional response time. The proposed fence in this location would prevent undocumented immigrants from concealing themselves within the community of Carricitos, (within the Los Indios, Texas city limits). Additionally, it will also force any illegal routes of egress around the communities. This rerouting gives agents a significant advantage and should result in a higher rate of apprehension. Vanishing Point: The current average time for illegal entrants to reach the vanishing point is from 5 minutes to 20 minutes. Placement of the fence would increase the vulnerable time from approximately 20 minutes to 40 minutes for traffic attempting to circumvent the proposed fence. This will allow additional time for agents to interdict the illegal cross-border activities.

Project O-15 La Paloma-El Calaboz, Texas
The fence starts at Cemetery Road in La Paloma, Texas and runs parallel to the levee to Garza Sandpit Road in El Calaboz, Texas. The areas south of the proposed fence are primarily farmland, dense brush and vegetation. Fencing is needed in this area due to

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heavy illicit smuggling activity in this area. Due to the proximity of the communities of La Paloma and El Calaboz to the Rio Grande River, response time for interdiction is limited. The construction of the proposed fence greatly increases law enforcement response time and will ultimately contribute greatly to the success of our mission. The physical barrier would prevent illegal incursions from blending in with the local population and infrastructure within the time-frame that it currently takes. Countersurveillance activities by smuggling organizations is commonplace and facilitated by the local community’s infrastructure. Vanishing Point: The current average time for illegal entrants to reach the vanishing point is from seconds to approximately 5 minutes. Placement of the fence would increase the vulnerable time from approximately 10 minutes to 20 minutes for traffic attempting to circumvent the proposed fence. This will allow additional time for agents to interdict the illegal crossborder activities.

Project O-16 El Calaboz-El Ranchito, Texas
The fence starts at Garza Sandpit Road in El Calaboz, Texas and runs parallel to the levee to just east of Estero Road in El Ranchito, Texas. The areas south of the proposed fence are primarily farmland, dense brush and vegetation. Fencing is needed due to the proximity of the communities of El Calaboz and El Ranchito to the Rio Grande River, response time for interdiction is limited in this area. The physical barrier would prevent illegal incursions from blending in with the local population and infrastructure. Vanishing Point: The current average time for illegal entrants to reach the vanishing point is from seconds to approximately 5 minutes. Placement of the fence would increase the vulnerable time from approximately 10 minutes to 20 minutes for traffic attempting to circumvent the proposed fence. This will allow additional time for agents to interdict the illegal crossborder activities.

Project O-17 Mulberry Lane to Riverbend Resort Water Tower
Fence placement in this location provides additional security for the area surrounding the Riverbend Resort and San Pedro, Texas community. A proposed future railway port of entry will be located along this alignment. Fencing is needed in this area due to the close proximity of U.S. Highway 281 and subdivision development near the Rio Grande River, which limiting our response times. The construction of the proposed fence would prevent illegal entrants from blending in with the local population and infrastructure within the time-frame that it currently takes. Counter-surveillance activity by smuggling organizations is commonplace and facilitated by the local community’s infrastructure. Our marked service units can easily been seen while conducting routine patrol activities in this area, making apprehensions more difficult.

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Vanishing Point: The average time for illegal entrants to reach the vanishing points ranges from seconds to approximately 10 minutes. With the placement of the fence, this time will undoubtedly increase. Illegal entrants will be forced to cross through areas where there is no fence thus increasing travel time to vanishing points from 5 minutes to 20 minutes. This will provide additional time for enforcement personnel to interdict illegal cross-border activities. Illegal incursions will also be diverted to locations where Remote Video Surveillance Systems (RVSS) currently exist, facilitating earlier detection and higher probabilities of apprehension.

Project O-18 Los Fresnos Pump to PUB Fence line (west)
Some areas north and south of the proposed fence are Federal refuge property and farmland. This particular area continually experiences significant illegal trafficking of undocumented immigrants and narcotics due to the close proximity of the Rio Grande River to residential subdivisions and schools. This fencing will provide additional security for the future proposed Flor De Mayo Port of Entry. Patrol efforts must be maximized due to the heavy brush in many areas which provides cover and concealment both north and south of the levee. A network of trails leads to various routes of egress for smugglers along this stretch. Placing a fence in this area will act as a force multiplier by allowing Border Patrol to redeploy resources to more remote areas and cover a larger area. Vanishing Point: The current average time for illegal entrants to reach the vanishing points ranges from seconds to 20 minutes. Placement of the fence would increase travel time to vanishing points by approximately 10 minutes to 30 minutes. Illegal entrants will be diverted to locations where Remote Video Surveillance Systems (RVSS) exist, facilitating earlier detection with higher probabilities of apprehension.

Project O-19 Extension of Palm Blvd. to River Levee Dr. (“Y”)
This fencing will provide additional security for the urban areas of Brownsville, Texas and the University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB) campus. The intended impacts of the proposed fence in this area would be to deter any illegal incursions near the city of Brownsville, Texas and reroute any illegal trafficking into areas where agents would have the advantage of additional response time. The proposed fence in this location would prevent illegal entrants from concealing themselves by blending in with the general public within the City of Brownsville. The fence would force current routes of egress to be rerouted to less populated areas. This rerouting provides enforcement personnel a significant advantage and should result in a higher rate of apprehension. The Gateway and Brownsville & Matamoros Ports of Entry within the City of Brownsville have historically experienced bridge jumpers utilizing ropes to scale down from the bridge without having to negotiate the actual river itself. The fence would limit the success rate of those attempting to circumvent the river by utilizing the Port of Entry.

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This particular area has experienced a significant amount of reportable border violence incidences, including assaults on Border Patrol Agents. Apprehensions in this area typically yield incursions of returning criminal aliens into the United States due the large influx of previously deported aliens being repatriated to Mexico by Immigration and Customs Enforcement through the Gateway Port of Entry. Vanishing Point: The current average time for illegal entrants to reach the vanishing points ranges from seconds to minutes. Placement of the fence would increase the travel time to these points from 5 to 40 minutes. Illegal incursions will be diverted to locations where Remote Video Surveillance Systems (RVSS) currently exist and facilitate detection providing a higher probability of apprehension.

Project O-20 River Levee Dr. (“Y”) to Veterans Port of Entry
Placement of the fence in this area is essential due to the fact that USFWS Cat Corridor easement runs along the south side of the USIBWC levee near Brownsville, Texas. This easement provides cover and concealment, which facilitating routes of egress for illegal entrants into the University of Texas at Brownsville and the Lincoln Park area. The Brownsville, Texas area has historically been the focal point of the Brownsville Station due to its proximity to the city of Matamoros. Matamoros continues to be a significant smuggling hub for undocumented immigrants, narcotics, and aliens from countries other than Mexico. This area is nationally notorious for the apprehension of undocumented immigrants originating and/or traveling through “Special Interest Countries” as defined by OBP. This particular area has experienced a significant amount of reportable border violence incidences, including assaults on Border Patrol Agents. In the Brownsville, Texas area, use of detection technology enhances our ability to identify possible illegal incursions. The presence of physical infrastructure would greatly enhance and compliment our ability to deter illegal entry in that area. Vanishing Point: The current average time for illegal entrants to reach the vanishing points ranges from seconds to minutes. Placement of the fence would increase the travel time to these points from 5 to 40 minutes. Construction of a fence in this area would greatly enhance the safety of the residents commuting to and from the University of Texas at Brownsville campus as well as divert illegal entrants to locations where Remote Video Surveillance Systems (RVSS) exist. This should facilitate detection, which should provide a higher probability of apprehension.

Project O-21 East of Veterans POE to Sea Shell Inn
The terrain contained within this area is agricultural, urban and marsh in nature. Multiple entry points exist on the south side throughout project O-21. Several of these entry points border urban environments. The geographic layout of this area dictates travel to routes of egress leading to vanishing points. These vanishing points leading into these urban environments range from seconds to minutes. As one moves out further east, the terrain

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becomes more agricultural, which deprives illegal entrants the ability to use urban areas for concealment. The fence will allow Border Patrol to concentrate on more specific locations without illegal entrants circumventing patrols. Eastward towards the end of the fence project, the terrain begins to consist of marsh and dense vegetation making travel long and tedious. Utilization of the proposed fence will push potential illegal entrants towards the marsh thus slowing down current travel times from minutes to hours. This will expand Border Patrol’s window of opportunity for apprehension, which provides a tactical advantage to quickly facilitate apprehension and reach a successful law enforcement resolution. Combining additional resources will enable Border Patrol to push the station’s northern depth of intrusion as far south from the IBWC levee as possible. Vanishing Point: The current average time for illegal entrants to reach the vanishing points ranges from seconds to hours. Placement of the fence would increase the travel time to these points from several minutes to hours. Pedestrian fencing along with support infrastructure (improved river roads, lighting, cameras, etc) in the above mentioned urban and rural areas will significantly act as force multipliers and assist in achieving and maintaining operational control of these areas. The deployment of the tactical infrastructure is geared toward disrupting identified routes of ingress into the United States that are utilized by smugglers and potential terrorists, providing the RGV stations the means to formulate pre-emptive strategies to address these incursions through the redeployment and integration of additional tactical infrastructure, technology and personnel. Once operational control is achieved and maintained in these areas, manpower resources would be redeployed to other rural and remote areas in the Rio Grande Valley’s Area of Responsibility.

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