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Mexican Border - BORSTAR

For people living on the Southern United States border shared with Mexico, stories of people dying while attempting to cross the border are a frequent news item in the papers. BORSTAR, which stands for Border Patrol Search, Trauma, and Rescue Teams of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, is a program that is in place to protect the lives of undocumented aliens crossing the border, as well as the lives of border patrol agents and the public.

Cooperation with Mexico

BORSTAR forms a part of the Border Safety Initiative (BSI), which is a bi-national program with Mexico aimed at making the shared border safer. BORSTAR agents may, however, respond to search and rescue situations anywhere in the United States. U.S. BORSTAR agents have trained counterparts in Mexico and agents on both sides of the border now participate in search and rescue missions.


BORSTAR's aims are first and foremost to rescue agents and aliens along the border. Assistance to aliens may take various forms, such as finding them and giving them water due to dehydration or finding them stuck in remote locations and rescuing them from situations from which they cannot extract themselves.


BORSTAR agents receive significant specialized training above that of what a regular border patrol agent receives. After the basic academy training, BORSTAR agents receive additional instruction in search and rescue operations. In addition, they must undergo intensive physical training and testing. They learn emergency medical procedures and how to operate all-terrain vehicles, among other things.

Canine Program

BORSTAR includes canine teams, which are used to locate undocumented aliens and missing people such as border patrol agents. Canine teams are most often used in areas where the terrain is too rugged for an effective search by humans. The canines are permitted to go alone and search by scent. Once the canines find a person, they return to a border agent and lead the agent to the person.