Coast Guard and Border Patrol Sign Cooperation Agreement

SAN JUAN, PR – The U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Border Patrol signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation as part of the recently formed Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG) Thursday.

Ramey Sector Border Patrol Chief Michael DeBruhl and the Commander of U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan, Capt. James E. Tunstall, signed the cooperation agreement in a ceremony held at the Coast Guard’s Sector San Juan Headquarters.

“We are proud to enter into this cooperative effort with the Coast Guard today,” said Chief Patrol Agent Michael DeBruhl. “Through our CBIG successes, the partnership between the Coast Guard and the Border Patrol continues to evolve and strengthen our ability to operate seamlessly, shoulder-to-shoulder, towards gaining operational control of our border.”

The agreement calls for the permanent assignment of Border Patrol Intelligence agents within the Coast Guard’s Sector San Juan Operations Center located in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. This collaboration will immediately improve overall intelligence services, intelligence gathering, and allow the Border Patrol to more efficiently support the Coast Guard’s biometrics-at-sea program.

“We are pleased to be a part of this ongoing effort with the Border Patrol to fuse intelligence through the collocation of our people,” said Capt. James E. Tunstall, Sector San Juan Commander. “CBIG through the high level of cooperation and coordination among all of our partners is paying dividends. Over the past year we observed a 38 percent reduction in illegal migrants attempting to reach our shores. This is due in large part to the sharing and fusion of intelligence, the detection and interdiction of illegal migrants at sea, and the successful prosecution of those attempting to enter our country illegally”

The concept of CBIG resulted from a March 2006 collaboration of local Homeland Security components that effectively stemmed the increased flow of traffic across the Mona Passage between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. In July 2006, CBIG was formally created to unify efforts of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Air & Marine (A&M), Office of Field Operations (OFO), and Office of Border Patrol (OBP), the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the United States Attorney ‘ s Office, District of Puerto Rico, in their common goal of securing Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands against illegal maritime traffic and gaining control of our nation’s Caribbean borders.

After the ceremony, the group met to discuss progress and achievements.

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