History and Purpose
The recent history of construction along the border dates back to November 2, 2005 when the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) created the Secure Border Initiative (SBI), a comprehensive, multi-year plan designed to secure America’s borders and reduce illegal immigration.
Part of this multi-layered strategy – via the Secure Fence Act of 2006 – required that the Department construct, in the most expeditious manner possible, the necessary infrastructure (including pedestrian and vehicle fencing) to deter and prevent illegal entry on our Southwest Border.
The strategy also directed the Department to hire thousands of additional Border Patrol agents. In order to accommodate this influx of personnel, new facilities needed to replace old, outdated structures in which space was already cramped.
Though various (and sometimes disparate) iterations of programs have existed to support these efforts, the current management structure came in place in 2009 when – under the guidance of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Office of Administration – the office charged with constructing the border fence (the Border Patrol Facilities and Tactical Infrastructure program) migrated to the Facilities Management and Engineering (FM&E) Directorate and added facility responsibilities in support of the Office of Border Patrol to its duties.
In support of CBP’s operational and mission support entities, FM&E now oversees the planning, design, and construction/lease – as well as maintenance, repair, and operation – of more than 4,500 operational and administrative CBP facilities nationwide, along with roughly 650 miles of fence and other forms of tactical infrastructure. Other functional responsibilities include tunnel remediation and the provision and management of agent and officer housing in remote border areas. As the official entity within CBP performing these functions, FM&E plays an essential role in helping support the facilitation of legitimate trade and travel though the official U.S. Ports of Entry (POEs); secure our Nation’s borders between the POEs via land, air, and maritime patrols, and; train, house, and support frontline and administrative personnel in the fulfillment of CBP’s mission.