U.S. Customs and Border Protection Company History Timeline

(6,966 Jobs)

Mounted watchmen of the United States 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.


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.


The Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, prohibiting the importation, transport, manufacture or sale of alcoholic beverages went into effect at midnight on January 16, 1920.


On May 28, 1924, Congress passed the Labor Appropriation Act of 1924, officially establishing the United States Border Patrol for the purpose of securing the borders between inspection stations.

Since its inception in 1924, the United States Border Patrol has had a proud history of service to our nation.

The future of the United States Border Patrol promises to be as exciting and interesting as its past, and will continue to echo the motto that agents have lived by since 1924.


In 1925 its duties were expanded to patrol the seacoast.


The agents did not have uniforms until 1928.


In 1932 the Border Patrol was placed under the authority of two directors, one in charge of the Mexican border office in El Paso, the other in charge of the Canadian border office in Detroit.


President Franklin D. Roosevelt combined the Bureau of Immigration and the Bureau of Naturalization into the Immigration and Naturalization Service in 1933.


The first Border Patrol Academy opened as a training school at Camp Chigas, El Paso, in December 1934.


Although horses remained the transportation of choice for many years, by 1935, the Border Patrol began using motorized vehicles with radios.


The workload and accomplishments of the Patrol remained fairly constant until 1940, when the Immigration Service was moved from the Department of Labor to the Department of Justice.


In 1952, the government airlifted 52,000 illegal immigrants back to the Mexican interior.


The Border Patrol began expelling adult Mexican males by boatlift from Port Isabel, Texas, to Vera Cruz in September 1954.


The Patrol added 155 officers, but discharged 122 of them when the crisis ended in 1963.


In an effort to bring a level of control to the border, Operation "Hold the Line" was established in 1993 in El Paso, and proved an immediate success.


Homeland security became a primary concern of the nation after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.


On March 1, 2003, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was established, and the United States Border Patrol became part of United States Customs and Border Protection, a component of DHS.

In addition, the History Program maintains a large reference collection relating to current organizational history and that of the legacy organizations that were united in 2003 to form United States Customs and Border Protection.


The recent history of construction along the border dates back to November 2, 2005 when the United States 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.

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