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January 4, 2021

Two Border Patrol Officers Attempt to Keep a Fugitive in the U.S, 1939

Two Border Patrol officers attempt to keep a fugitive in the U.S as he tries to get back to Mexico, 1939. The photo was taken by Luis Marden for National Geographic. Whether real or staged, it would certainly spark class conversation!

Mounted watchmen of the U.S. Immigration Service patrolled the border in an effort to prevent illegal crossings as early as 1904, but their efforts were irregular and undertaken only when resources permitted. The inspectors, usually called Mounted Guards, operated out of El Paso, Texas. Though they never totaled more than seventy-five, they patrolled as far west as California trying to restrict the flow of illegal Chinese immigration.

In March 1915, Congress authorized a separate group of Mounted Guards, often referred to as Mounted Inspectors. Most rode on horseback, but a few operated cars and even boats. Although these inspectors had broader arrest authority, they still largely pursued Chinese immigrants trying to avoid the Chinese exclusion laws. These patrolmen were Immigrant Inspectors, assigned to inspection stations, and could not watch the border at all times. Military troops along the southwest border performed intermittent border patrolling, but this was secondary to “the more serious work of military training.” Aliens encountered illegally in the U.S. by the military were directed to the immigration inspection stations. Texas Rangers were also sporadically assigned to patrol duties by the state, and their efforts were noted as “singularly effective.”

Customs violations and intercepting communications to “the enemy” seemed to be of a greater concern than enforcing immigration regulations in the early years of the twentieth century. Agencies charged with inspecting people and goods entering and leaving the U.S. noticed that their efforts were totally ineffective without border enforcement between inspection stations. After 1917, a higher head tax and literacy requirement imposed for entry prompted more people to try to enter illegally.

In 1918, Supervising Inspector Frank W. Berkshire wrote to the Commissioner-General of Immigration expressing his concerns about the lack of a coordinated, adequate effort to enforce immigration and customs laws along the border with Mexico.

1 comment:

  1. This article on Border Patrol Officers is very knowledgeable article. Everyone should aware of this. Immigration Consultants Singapore




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