In testimony before the Homeland Security Committee in Congress, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano stated that the U.S. government has achieved “effective control of the great majority” of both the Canadian and Mexican borders.
Fact Check: Napolitano keep claiming that our borders are under effective control. This claim helps to advance the Obama Administration’s campaign for amnesty. With illegal immigration supposedly under control, says the administration, our country can afford to be lenient with the illegal aliens already here and grant them legal status.
The administration bases its assertion that the border is secure on the declining numbers of illegal aliens apprehended by the Border Patrol in recent years. The administration claims that its allegedly improved enforcement has brought this situation about. The truth, however, it has done little more than the previous administration to secure the Mexican border and has significantly undermined interior enforcement in numerous ways.
The decline in apprehensions derives mainly from the sharp economic downturn which began in 2008 and still continues. Thus a key question arises: When the U.S. economy improves, will existing border enforcement be an effective deterrent to increasing numbers of aliens trying to enter our country illegally?
Statistics two years ago from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, an agency of Napolitano’s own department, suggest otherwise. These figures, reported by the General Accountability Office (GAO), show that the U.S. government does not have “effective control” of 1,081 miles of the 1,954 mile-long Mexican border. A total of 744 miles are under “effective control,” but that only means that authorities can “reasonably ensure” that illegal crossers will be caught. Just 129 miles are under full control.
Just recently an audit by the GAO found that the Border Patrol only intercepts about 61 percent of illegal border crossers. Also, last year showed a reverse of the downward trend of apprehensions in recent years with a small increase.
The Obama Administration certainly has its reasons for wanting Americans to believe that the Mexican border is secure. But the government’s own statistics offer no reason to believe that it is.