Guest Commentary: A Lame Duck Amnesty?

April 9, 2012
TANCREDO: Our Southwest border remains as dangerous and porous as ever

March witnessed the second anniversary of the murder of Arizona rancher Rob Krentz by an illegal alien intruder 25 miles from the Arizona-Mexico border. In his memory, let’s review the state of border security.

Has anything changed?

Our nation’s 1950-mile Southwest border remains as dangerous and open to illegal entry as ever, but this reality is being ignored by both the news media and denied by the Obama administration. The combination of government lies, news media co-optation and Republican complacency constitutes a three-part conspiracy to avoid public discussion of border security until after the November election.

The political motive behind this conspiracy is clear: The Washington establishment does not want the abysmal lack of border security to stand in the way of the next amnesty campaign being planned for the lame-duck session of Congress that will occur after the Nov. 6 election.

The criminal dishonesty of the Department of Homeland Security and the Border Patrol management team with regard to border security is matched only by the blatant cowardice of Republican congressional leaders. By their silence on border security, Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are co-conspirators with Lindsey Graham and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

The border remains unsecured seven years after the Minutemen put a huge media spotlight on it is a national disgrace. The Government Accountability Office, or GAO, confirmed the embarrassing state of affairs in a November 2011 report. The GAO reported that only 44 percent of the Southwest border has even a minimal degree of security against illegal entry, and that figure obscures more than it reveals.

It is a matter of criminal negligence that Congress allows the Border Patrol to define “operational control” so loosely that it is meaningless for national security purposes. Would you be satisfied if your home security system provided you with 44 percent certainty that intruders would be detected? Yet Congress allows this charade to continue.

Beneath the surface of Border Patrol data you will discover that, in fact, only 15 percent of the border – about 130 miles out of the 1950 mile total – is actually “fully controlled.”

The government brags that it now has 700 miles of “fencing” on the Southwest border, but often neglects to clarify that number as combing both true pedestrian fencing and “vehicle barriers.” In truth, we have only about 340 miles of true fencing, of which only 36 miles is the double fencing authorized by the 2006 Secure Border Act.

There is good reason to believe that border crossings have declined since their peak in 2005, but the official numbers are unreliable because of the way the Border Patrol collects and reports the numbers. It is well-known among rank-and-file Border Patrol officers and publicly reported by the watchdogs at the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers that the official numbers are manipulated for political effect.

Moreover, the government has stopped reporting the “gotaway” number. That is the estimate of border crossings based on the ratio of illegal trespassers detected versus the number apprehended. Historically, that ratio has always been 4-to-1 or 5-to-1, which mans that if 100 illegal trespassers were apprehended on a given night, 400 to 500 eluded capture and entered the country successfully. For example, if 300,000 illegal entrants were apprehended in 2011, about 1.2 million entered the country successfully.

Congress is participating in this charade of improved border security as a prelude to another amnesty. Americans would not tolerate another amnesty if they knew the border remains porous, so amnesty advocates must perpetrate a big lie to lull citizens asleep.

The only thing that could spoil this plan for a new amnesty is a Republican presidential candidate who pulled the curtain away from this façade of lies. The odds of that happening seem to be diminishing daily.

Tom Tancredo represented Colorado’s 6th Congressional District from 1999-2009 in the U.S. House of Representatives and finished second to John Hickenlooper in the 2010 Colorado gubernatorial race.


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