The Border Patrol has been using canines since 1986. It began by training four dogs to detect concealed humans and narcotic drugs. During their first five months of service, the four dogs and their handlers assisted in apprehending concealed migrants and in the seizure of more than $150 million in narcotics. The program was so successful that by the end of 1988, the agency had increased it to 79 canine teams.

The Border Patrol recently expanded the program to include therapy dogs, because 14 of its agents committed suicide in 2022.

It established a Support Canine Program to provide support for agents suffering from stress, anxiety, and depression. Chaplains and agents from the agency’s Peer Support and Chaplaincy programs are using specially trained therapy dogs to help these agents.

Stress expected to increase

The Border Patrol is reportedly preparing for record numbers of illegal border crossings — as many as 14,000 people per day — when Title 42 is terminated. Agent morale is hitting record lows already.

Former Border Patrol chief Rodney Scott attributes the low morale to being overwhelmed by the skyrocketing increase in illegal crossings and the need to process them. The agents are taken away from the work they joined the Border Patrol to do and are required to pick up large groups of undocumented asylum seekers and process them at makeshift processing centers.

The sections of the border the agents are supposed to be patrolling are left open while they are working at the processing centers.

And most illegal crossers who are not expelled under Title 42 are released into the United States.

This isn’t the way to treat agents who are risking their lives to secure the border.

Being a Border Patrol agent is a very dangerous job. According to agency statistics, 42 agents have lost their lives during Biden’s presidency.

Todd Bensman claims that the administration is using an “immigration magic trick” to cover up the record number of illegal crossings by granting humanitarian parole to migrants who want to enter the United States without visas or other valid entry documents before they reach the border instead of after they make an illegal crossing. This makes their entries “legal.”

This may fool the public, but I don’t think it is going to fool the Border Patrol agents.


Published originally on The Hill.

Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an Executive Branch Immigration Law Expert for three years. He subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years. Follow him at: