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Katko Joins ICE, HSI To Honor Shadow Wolves’ Legacy of Enhancing Border Security

June 15, 2022

Katko Joins ICE, HSI To Honor Shadow Wolves’ Legacy of Enhancing Border Security 

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, Rep. John Katko (R-NY), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, joined U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Tohono O’odham National Tactical Enforcement Officer Unit, known as the Shadow Wolves, in commemorating the signing of the Shadow Wolves Enhancement Act (H.R. 5681) into law and recognizing Ranking Member Katko’s efforts in spearheading the legislation through passage.

“It was an honor to join the Shadow Wolves today to recognize their critical contributions to our homeland security,” said Ranking Member Katko.“Every day, Shadow Wolves officers carry out a difficult and dangerous mission under increasingly challenging circumstances. At a time when border encounters are at an all-time high, and deadly drugs such as fentanyl and methamphetamine continue to pour into American communities, the Shadow Wolves are crucial in the fight against drugs and human traffickers.  Their methodical approach and shared borders with Mexico have enabled them to track and apprehend dangerous smugglers in rugged desert and mountainous terrain across the southwestern United States. Modernizing the Shadow Wolves would benefit the officers by reclassifying them, while securing our borders by expanding the program throughout the nation. The Shadow Wolves Enhancement Act will take a meaningful step towards securing the border and codifying this vital tactical unit.”

Based in the deceivingly quiet tribal lands of Arizona, a little known but impressive group of Native American law enforcement leaders put a unique set of skills to work tracking smugglers at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Working in the shadows of the border, just as their name implies, the Shadow Wolves are the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) only tracking unit entirely composed of Native Americans. This elite group was established by Congress in 1974 to combat rampant smuggling from Mexico into the United States through the lands of the Tohono O’odham Nation in southern Arizona. Since then, the Shadow Wolves have patrolled the region, which includes a 76-mile stretch of border with Mexico for over 40 years using their ancestral skills sharpened over many generations. The Shadow Wolves take their name from the way the unit tracks—like a wolf pack. They play a critical role in securing the southern border by specializing in the interdiction of drug smugglers, human traffickers, and other illicit commodities, such as drugs and weapons on tribal lands.

With bipartisan support, Congress passed the legislation on April 5, 2022. President Biden signed the Shadow Wolves Enhancement Act into law on April 19, 2022.