BP Agents Told to Stop Making Illegal Immigrant Arrests
A United States border patrol agent catches an illegal immigrant crossing from Mexico to the U.S. in San Ysidro, California, April 13, 2011. [AP]
April 27, 2011
Both sheriffs are elected officials. Dever is a Republican, Estrada, a Democrat.
Others have questioned the methodology and conclusions of the Homeland Security numbers showing the border is more secure.
Mark Hanna, CEO of Real Life Enterprises, a Phoenix-based technology integration and security company, has testified before the Arizona Senate about what he called Homeland Security’s flawed methodology used to compile border security statistics. Hanna maintains the numbers are dangerously misleading.
Hanna, who is currently working on a private/public partnership pilot program along the Arizona border, said he attended a February conference at which Michael Fisher, chief of the United States Border Patrol, and Mark S. Borkowski, assistant commissioner for technology and innovation acquisition, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, showed off charts indicating arrests were decreasing and argued the border was more secure. The charts also showed an increase in marijuana seizures along the border and an increase in Border Patrol agents.
But those charts left out crucial data, Hanna said.
“Since we don’t know how many illegal crossings are occurring, then a decrease in apprehensions might mean that there are fewer illegal crossings, and the border is more secure. But it could also just as easily mean that more illegal border crossings are occurring, and we’re just not catching as many. In order to know how secure the border is, you need to know how many are crossing and the threat level of those who are crossing illegally," he said.
“It is a very dangerous condition for the secretary of Homeland Security to be using incomplete data to form such a conclusion, and then repeatedly announce these conclusions as fact,” he said.
The Department of Homeland Security did not return repeated requests for comment on Hanna’s specific challenges to the agency’s methodology.
Whatever the methodology, Dever said the numbers don’t accurately describe what’s happening on the ground.
“We do not know who’s crossing that border, but that anyone who wants to can. That’s the message our nation needs to hear, that anyone who wants to can, and is. And our own Department of Homeland Security does not have clear definition of what securing the border even means," Dever said.
“People are disgusted, the smiles are gone off their face, their general sense of welfare been taken away from them and until that’s returned you can throw all the numbers on the board. … I’ll tell Napolitano, in spite of all of your declarations and efforts to the contrary, things are not safe. No, they are not secure.
“You can use your numbers to say it’s more secure, but it does not define a sense of safety or well-being. You can say it’s more secure, but it’s more dangerous than ever.”