DHS’s Napolitano says border remains secure, GAO says not really

Feb 5, 2013

In what’s expected to be a rubber stamp tour, Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, told a group of reporters in San Diego that the border is secure. “I just finished a helicopter tour of the border, followed by a roundtable with local law enforcement… We are committed to making sure that this sector as well as the entire southwest border remains secure.”

Despite the Secretary’s rosy border security portrait, a fact she neglected to disclose is Border Patrol’s apprehension numbers rose 9 percent in 2012. While the PEW Research Center has reported illegal immigration has slowed, coinciding with the sluggish U.S. economy, another figure most reports fail to highlight is Border Patrol only apprehends 60 percent of illegal aliens crossing into America, allowing 40 percent to escape detection.

When asked by this reporter about the 60/40 percent apprehension numbers at the press conference, Secretary Napolitano replied, “Well I say we can all play numbers games, (but) this isn’t about a numbers game, it’s about what people can see on the border, particularly people like myself and the many people here with me, people who live here. It’s about recognizing that our overall immigration system when it works, border security works, because more people can lawfully cross through the ports and we can tell the difference. The difference is palpable.”

Yet the “palpable” or obvious numbers with which Napolitano wants to quibble came from a Government Accountability Report (GAO). The report also illustrated that the Obama administration has failed to evaluate Border Patrol’s security measures over the past two years, effectively, rendering any recordable metric data to determine if the border is secure unreliable.

While Secretary Napolitano meets with the law enforcement agencies with a vested interest in the “secure” border report, people “on the ground” report a different perspective.

Jack Bayne, who hails from Nebraska, but spends his winters in Arivaca, Arizona, reports that Friday afternoon, he had a run in with local banditos/rip crewmembers while he was panning for gold with area residents. “The banditos came flying out here and we thought they were going to steal our ATVs and lives. I even chased one ATV for several miles and picked up large green duffle bags that fell off the fleeing banditos. When I went back to check on the other men, we called Border Patrol to inform them of the incident and the evidence we collected,” Bayne explained.

However, Bayne and the others waited and waited, but Border Patrol never showed up. “It was frustrating to see Border Patrol did not respond or care about the danger here. We ended up going home to our RVs and called the Tucson Border Patrol several more times, but over the weekend they never arrived or even tried to pick up the duffle bag of evidence.”

Bayne is not alone; many residents have given up calling Border Patrol in the southern Arizona desert. Since the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry happened nearby, Bayne thought this time would be different. “It looks like this duffle bag is filled with supplies for the banditos who keep watch on top of the mountains here so they can signal drug cartels of safe passage, but it’s Monday and nobody has arrived from law enforcement.”

Border Patrol did not return calls for comment from this reporter.

Another example of unsecure borders is found in Napolitano’s backyard. Yesterday, while the DHS Secretary informed members of the media that the borders are secure, in Pinal County a deputy nabbed an illegal alien who has been deported five-times.

Jorge Luis Morales- Espinoza was last deported in December of 2012. Espinoza sterling criminal history consists of numerous arrests in Arizona as well as convictions for Extreme DUI and Aggravated Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer.

“Our elected officials should not be considering ways to give citizenship to those who entered the U.S. illegally until our border is truly secure. While the U.S. Border Patrol and law enforcement agencies do the best they can, unfortunately this administration does not take border security seriously but as they say – what difference at this point does it make,” Sheriff Paul Babeu said.

Many Arizonians, Texans and Californians wonder what exactly Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are up to along the porous southern border? Apparently, some agents are listening to orders from Washington DC. However a group of agents from Immigration and Customs (ICE) just filed a lawsuit and were granted standing to move ahead in federal court. The agents demanded the Court determine whether they are to follow Federal law or the directives of ICE Director John Morton, DHS Napolitano and President Obama, who ordered to cease detaining and processing suspected illegal aliens under the age of 31 based on the failed Congressional DREAM Act, which was intended to grant amnesty to certain illegal aliens.

The shenanigans within border security agencies also exposed a new disturbing trend – corruption.

According to a DHS report ordered by Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee Congressman Michael McCaul (R-TX), corruption inside American border enforcement has exponentially increased and he pointed out the drug cartels are to blame.

“While it has been well known for many years that the cartels have used their massive financial resources to exert a corrupting influence on public officials in Mexico, there is increasing concern over their impact on U.S. officials. Since October 2004, 138 Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and agents have been arrested or indicted on corruption-related charges.

There is also concern that the U.S. government is not resourced at the proper level to deal with the challenges of this corruption. According to recent testimony by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG), there has been a 38 percent increase in complaints against CBP officers since 2004. The OIG also testified that, despite this increase, it only has 219 criminal investigators at its disposal to monitor the activities of over 225,000 employees throughout DHS.”

So far, DHS’s inability to provide a new yardstick for measuring border security remains a sticking point for many members of Congress. Conservatives are reluctant to green light President Obama’s immigration reform proposals until border security proof is obtained.

“DHS fully appreciates the importance and need of having measurable goals to assess progress in the area of border security,” said Jim Crumpacker, the liaison for Homeland Security’s and GAO.

In fact, the Secretary continuously dodged questions regarding border security metrics at the San Diego press conference, predictably, she continued to repeat the Obama administration mantra that the border remains secure, fewer illegal aliens are crossing the southwest borders and the time is now for immigration reform, code word for amnesty.

But the government’s perception of the state of border security is an important question because Secretary Napolitano has the final say regarding border security and after today’s press conference the assumption that is everything is A-Okay along the border.

Napolitano used her 20-plus years living in Arizona, serving as Attorney General and Governor, dealing with border issues as the yardstick for her measurement. She claimed there are 10 times more agents, a record number of resources, high technology, and single- double and even triple fencing in some locations. “Illegal immigration down and now it needs to operate better and needs a better mechanism to operate more efficiently. I believe border is secure and I believe the border is safer. It’s not to say that everything is 100 percent, but realistically no one would say you could eliminate all crime,” she concluded.

For recent amnesty story: http://www.examiner.com/article/amnesty-push-immigration-reform-or-political-pandering-1

© Copyright 2013 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

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