On the heels of Obama’s CIR plan to expand border enforcement, a new report uncovers nearly 300 wrongful arrests by Border Patrol

Report also reveals almost $1 million in cash and other incentives
January 29, 2013


On the heels of Obama’s CIR plan to expand border enforcement, a new report uncovers nearly 300 wrongful arrests by Border Patrol and almost $1 million in cash and other incentives

January 29, 2013 (New York, NY) – A new report from Families for Freedom in collaboration with New York University (NYU) Immigrant Rights Clinic entitled, “Uncovering USBP: Bonus Programs for United States Border Patrol Agents and the Arrest of Lawfully Present Individuals” reveals crucial information about the incentives and consequences of USBP practices. Using detailed new data from the USBP station in Rochester, New York and the Buffalo Sector that were obtained through a Freedom of Information lawsuit, the report reveals the existence of various incentive programs provided to Border Patrol agents in their quest to apprehend individuals of color, many of whom have legal status. The report also documents the broad array of persons with lawful status who suffer at the hands of USBP.


The release of the report contains the first data on U.S. Border Patrols’ (USBP) discretionary bonus programs that include cash bonuses, vacation awards, and distribution of gift cards to border patrol agents. Data shows bonuses reached up to $2,500 a year per agent. This program has been ramped up from a yearly budget of a few thousand dollars in 2003 to nearly $200,000 in 2011. In total, from 2003 to 2011, close to $1 million dollars were allocated for cash awards for the Buffalo Sector

alone. The report also provides that as a result of USBP’s policing practices, close to 300 cases of wrongful arrests have been reported, the vast majority are people of color from Africa, South and East Asia, and the Caribbean.

The report also provides concrete evidence of the wide array of persons of lawful status who are arrested by USBP, including tourists, persons with work or student visas, lawful permanent residents and United States citizens. In just one program, between 2006 and 2011, in one USBP station there were almost 300 documented cases of arrest and detention of persons with lawful status. The actual number is probably far higher because USBP did not formally instruct its agents to document these arrests until June 2010.



Anetta, US Citizen, Families for Freedom member

Abraham Paulos, Executive Director, Families for Freedom

Nancy Morawetz, NYU Professor and Co-Director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic

Christian Ramirez, Human Rights Director, Southern Border Communities Coalition

Ryan Bates, Co-Chair Northern Border Coalition



Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 12 pm EST, 9am PST



Telephonic Press Briefing, (559) 726-1200: Access code 416888

Families for Freedom is a New York-based human rights organization by and for immigrant families facing and fighting deportation. 

NYU School of Law Immigrant Rights Clinic engages in direct legal representation of immigrants and community organizations in litigation and in immigrant rights campaigns.