From: CHSS Grad Admins [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Susan Turriziani
Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2018 8:48 AM
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Subject: Dissertation Announcement - Alan Capps

To: The George Mason University Community

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences is pleased to announce the following dissertation defense:

Alan Capps
Major Professor: Dr. Zachary Schrag

The Antecedents of the U.S.Border Patrol, 1812-1940

Friday, April 20, 2018
10:00 AM - 12:30 PM
George Mason University, Fairfax Campus
Johnson Center, Room 326

This dissertation examines the antecedents of the U.S. Border Patrol. By reviewing the period 1812-1940, I consider the alternatives the U.S. Congress could have but did not embrace, concerning the establishment of a border patrol force. In doing so, I clarify the process by which the antecedents reveal the developmental evolution of a federal agency designed to enforce the comprehensive rule of federal law not just specific areas of federal law, a concept that for many critics implied a national police force.

Among the alternatives studied in this dissertation are the employment of the U.S. Marshals service, initially the only constitutionally empowered agency to enforce federal laws, and the early reliance on questionable state and local militias along the northern border with Canada. Additional alternatives I examine include the volatile and independent-minded Texas Rangers along the majority of the southern border with Mexico, and the early role of the federal army when called upon to assist in the enforcement of federals laws along both borders.

Even full jurisdictional control of immigration policies by the federal government in the 1880s, resulting in a series of increasingly restrictive federal immigration laws through the end of World War One, failed to warrant the establishment of dedicated land border force to enforce immigration restrictions. Only after the passage of the Johnson-Reed Act of 1924 were monies appropriated to expand the nascent ad hoc force within the Bureau of Immigration into a Border Patrol with the sole objective of enforcing immigration laws. Through congressional debates, federal reports, executive actions, and witness testimonies, I detail the subsequent protracted bureaucratic struggle between the Departments of Labor and Treasury in the late 1920’s and early 1930s over the proposed consolidation of agencies and enforcement powers into one unified U.S Border Patrol.

This dissertation reflects on the little-known antecedents of the U.S. Border Patrol and contributes to a more concise understanding of its evolution from an interdepartmental agency responsible for one area of federal law into a federal law enforcement agency.

Copies of the dissertation are on reserve in the Johnson Center Library. The doctoral project will not be read at the meeting, but should be read in advance.

All members of the George Mason University community are invited to attend.