The first permanent Border Patrol presence in Florida was in March of 1925 with the establishment of the Jacksonville Station. Shortly thereafter, Border Patrol stations were opened in Key West, Miami, Homestead, and West Palm Beach. When the office in Tampa was opened, it was designated to operate as its own Sector Headquarters. Since 1925, stations have been operational in Charleston, South Carolina; Savanna and Atlanta, Georgia; and Tallahassee, Gainesville, Okeechobee, Sebring, Lake City, and Daytona Beach, Florida. A Sector Headquarters has been located in the Miami area since about 1927, except for a period from 1956 to 1960 when it was moved to Tampa. The first boat program was established at the Miami Sector in 1935 and the aviation program was added to sector operations in 1948.
U.S. Border Patrol Agents were the original Air Marshals. Between May and August of 1961, there were three successful and one unsuccessful hijacking attempts on U.S. commercial aircraft by unstable Cuban dissidents. In August of 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced to the Nation that U.S. Border Patrol Agents would be deployed to prevent future hijackings; 12 hours later, Border Patrol Agents were guarding their first flight. The operation was coordinated by the Miami Sector for flights originating throughout the nation. At its peak, 50 Border Patrol Agents were flying on 92 flights a day, guarding 1,310 flights in total, and logging 1,724,396 air miles. The operation ended in October of 1961 and was successful in that during the operation, no hijackings were attempted.
In 1962, 89 U.S. Border Patrol Agents were deputized and sent to the University of Mississippi to assist in security during a time of national crisis. The Chief of the Miami Sector at that time, Chief Elmo Rainbolt, was appointed by Attorney General Robert Kennedy as Chief U.S. Marshal and was to escort James Meredith into the University of Mississippi. Chief Rainbolt received letters of commendation from both President John F. Kennedy and Attorney General Robert Kennedy for his Service to the Nation.
Miami Area of Responsibility
The Miami Sector (MIP) as we know it today was established in 1940 and consists of approximately 187,000 square miles and has 1,203 miles of coastal border (Florida only) along the Atlantic and Gulf shores of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina (1,776 miles of Coastal Border in the official area of responsibility (AOR). While the Miami Border Patrol Sector's AOR includes Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, the sector's primary area of operation takes place in the state of Florida, excluding the Florida Panhandle west of the Apalachicola River, which covers 42,464 square miles. There are six Border Patrol Stations located within the AOR of MIP. These stations are strategically located and staffed to address the current threat within the State of Florida only.