Officials Concede Failures on Gauging Border Security

Julia Preston, New York Times, March 21, 2013

More than two years after Homeland Security officials told Congress that they would produce new, more accurate standards to assess security at the nation’s borders, senior officials from the department acknowledged this week that they had not completed the new measurements and were not likely to in coming months, as the debate proceeds about overhauling the immigration system.

Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers were taken aback at a hearing on Wednesday in the House of Representatives when Mark Borkowski, a senior Homeland Security official, said he had no progress to report on a broad measure of border conditions the department had been working on since 2010. The lawmakers warned that failure by the Obama administration to devise a reliable method of border evaluation could imperil passage of immigration legislation.

“We do not want the Department of Homeland Security to be the stumbling block to comprehensive immigration reform for this country,” said Representative Candice Miller, a Republican from Michigan who is the chairwoman of the House Homeland Security subcommittee on border security. She told Mr. Borkowski that the lack of security measurements from the administration “could be a component of our failure to pass something I think is very important for our country.”


Amid contentious discussions in Congress over immigration, one point of wide agreement is that an evaluation of border security will be a central piece of any comprehensive bill. A bipartisan group in the Senate is working to write legislation that includes a “trigger,” which would make the path to citizenship for more than 11 million illegal immigrants in the country contingent on measurable advances in security at the borders.


Obama administration officials said on Thursday that they had resisted producing a single measure to assess the border because the president did not want any hurdles placed on the pathway to eventual citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally.


For several years before 2010, border officials used a measure known as operational control to describe the level of security along the southwest line. But in 2010, Ms. Napolitano said the department would drop that standard, arguing it did not reflect a substantial buildup of agents and detection technology in recent years, and it was insufficiently flexible to account for the varying terrain and fast-changing conditions along the nearly 2,000-mile southwest border, where most illegal crossings occur.


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  • bigone4u

    Translation from bureaucratese to plain English: Hoards of illegals are still poring across the border.

    • The__Bobster

      Hell, they are now crossing and surrendering as soon as they see an ICE agent, knowing they will soon be released.

  • Felix_M

    And the chair-moisteners in Washington still wonder why their own countrymen now hate them so much.

  • The__Bobster

    Obama administration officials said on Thursday that they had resisted producing a single measure to assess the border because the president did not want any hurdles placed on the pathway to eventual citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally.


    Incredible. They actually admit it. Of course, Obongo will declare the border secure as soon as Congress produces an amnesty bill that requires it.

    • GeneticsareDestiny

      I’m rather surprised too, that they would come right out and say it so plainly. The administration has flat-out admitted that they are against the majority of American citizens, who want illegals deported and the border closed.

  • IKantunderstand

    So, let me see if I have this right. There are cameras at all the intersections of my city. They are able to discern if you run a red light by a micro second. They have domestic drones flying overhead. They intercept untold millions of emails, facebook postings etc. The TSA can actually dismantle humans with fake limbs and diapers, in mere moments. People with 7/11 franchises, apparently, are also able to institute more security surveillance than the United (for now) States government. Really? Really? Liars! Kiss my tens of thousands of years in the making lily WHITE ass.

  • Shattered

    Total failure. E-Verify the entire nation and end chain migration/birth citizenship.

  • SargeInCharge

    This is a cute article where government officials pretend they are fully invested in border security. If our government officials truly wanted full, uncompromising border security — it would be done already.

  • NYB

    Third World countries like India can complete thousands of miles of border fencing, but not Washington.

  • ConcernedYoungAmerican

    I love that many of the presumably Lefty commentators on the New York Times are livid about this.

    “We are not the world’s keeper.”
    A guy in Arizona: “The comforts of your New England homes provides no clue as to the reality of the world outside of it.”
    “Obama is much more loyal to illegal aliens and foreigners than he is to the American people.”
    Keep up your righteous indignation, y’all! Wake up!

  • StillModerated

    I used to be afraid of the government until I realized that it’s run by lazy shiftless affirmative action bureaucrats.

  • Bobby

    Come on!!! Please!! Lawmakers were surprised about border security.blah.blah….
    Lawmakers are going to take a trip to the border,….blah blah, …. WHAT A CROOK OF CR-P!