11700 E. Jefferson Avenue
Detroit, MI 48214
P.O. Box 44975
Phone: (313) 926-4700
Fax: (313) 926-4790
In June 1924, the first Border Patrol Sector Headquarters was activated at Detroit with the organization of a sector extending from Port Sanilac, Michigan, to Port Clinton, Ohio. Detroit was the sole station at Sector Headquarters, with an initial complement of 18 officers. The Detroit Station was to function in much the same manner as a sub-sector but under the direct command of the Sector Chief Patrol Inspector.
The need for a Border Patrol station in Detroit had become increasingly apparent following passage of the Volstead Act inaugurating the Prohibition era. Liquor smuggling across the Detroit River was rapidly expanding, and was closely associated with a mounting volume of alien smuggling. Rum runners were crossing the international border within the future Sector's boundaries with large loads of contraband liquor and crews of illegal entrants. In testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee immediately prior to formation of the Border Patrol, the Commissioner of Immigration testified that at least a hundred aliens a day were being smuggled into the United States across the Detroit and St. Clair Rivers.
Until 1964, the Detroit Border Patrol Station was located on the first floor of a two-story building at the corner of Mt. Elliott and East Jefferson Avenue in downtown Detroit. The century-old building had once been the nurses' quarters for the United States Public Health Service Hospital. At that time, a new building was constructed at the same location, with Attorney General Robert Kennedy present for the groundbreaking. The station remained in that building, along with Sector HQ, until April 1996, when the station moved to Atwater Street on the Detroit River waterfront. In 2013, the Department of Homeland Security allocated and broke ground on a new $17 million Detroit Border Patrol Station. In February 2015, the station was completed and station personnel moved into its present location at 11700 E. Jefferson Avenue, in Detroit.
Area of Responsibility
Detroit Station is responsible for 70 miles of international border, made up of the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair. The Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit/Windsor, Ontario Tunnel are located in the station's area, along with a freight train tunnel that runs under the Detroit River. Although there is no land boundary with Canada, the relatively narrow and heavily congested channels of the Detroit River provide accessible locations for attempting illegal entry. The area along the international boundary is in a densely populated urban location that contains one of the highest percentages of registered boat users in the country. Throughout the boating season there is an almost continuous procession of private and commercial vessels.
Agents assigned to the Detroit Station conduct marine operations during the boating season, along with freight train check, and anti-smuggling activities. During the non-boating season, agents patrol the shorelines