The Wellesley Island Border Patrol Station is located in upstate New York, about 243-miles north of Buffalo, and borders the Canadian province of Ontario. The rural location of the Wellesley Island station offers agents some exciting opportunities to track illegal border crossers and disrupt border crimes away from the station. The opportunity to engage criminals in the field is something that agents in busier hubs rarely have.
Wellesley Island is part of the Buffalo, NY sector, which itself is part of the larger Northern Border conglomerate of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency. According to the CBP, the seizure of marijuana is the most common job performed by agents with the Buffalo group of border stations.
In 2011, the Buffalo sector seized 1,426.25 pounds of marijuana, which is the second-largest yield of seized marijuana of any CBP border station along the American and Canadian border. The Buffalo sector also has the second highest rate of illegal alien apprehensions amongst all Northern border stations. Tracking and apprehending undocumented aliens attempting to enter the US is among the most important jobs performed by Wellesley Island station’s border patrol agents, marine interdiction agents and CBP officers.
Working at the Wellesley Island Station
According to the CBP, the Buffalo sector of border stations employed 311 border patrol agents in 2011. The current number of border patrol jobs along this critical stretch of border represents a 300-percent increase over 2004 job totals. Because of the rural nature of the surrounding area, border patrol jobs in Wellesley Island involve aiding local law enforcement when needed. Border patrol jobs at the Wellesley Island station largely focus on community outreach and public safety:
- In 2010, an agent stationed at Wellesley Island was awarded the agencies highest recognition because he helped local police save a woman during a hostage situation.
- For the past two years, Wellesley Island hosted a Citizens’ Academy, a community outreach program, in which the station gives select members of the community a tour of the facility as well as insights into the mission of the station and the technology it uses.
The Historical Significance of the Wellesley Island Station
The first border station in the area was built in Watertown, NY during the CBP’s inception in 1924. At the time, the top border crime in the area was liquor smuggling from Canada- namely whiskey, rum and various kinds of moonshine.
The Watertown station was closed in 1949 when the Northern border sector was reorganized to meet the needs of post-World War II America. The station remained closed until 1957 when it re-opened in Watertown. The station moved to its current location on Wellesley Island in 1998, and changed its name to the Wellesley Island Border Station shortly thereafter.
The area of responsibility for the Wellesley Island station spans 2,569 square miles patrolled by border patrol agents, which includes 256 miles of shoreline policed by marine interdiction agents and 70 miles of international border.