The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reports that the nearly 2,000-mile U.S. border with Mexico is vulnerable to cross-border illegal activity.
Office of Border Patrol (Border Patrol), within DHS's U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), is responsible for securing the border between U.S. ports of entry and has divided responsibility for southwest border miles among nine Border Patrol sectors.
CBP reported spending about $3 billion on Border Patrol's southwest border efforts in fiscal year 2010, apprehending over 445,000 illegal entries.
This testimony provides preliminary observations on (1) the extent to which DHS reported progress in achieving operational control--Border Patrol was able to detect, respond, and interdict cross-border illegal activity--of the southwest border; (2) the extent to which operational control reflects Border Patrol's ability to respond to illegal activity at the border or after entry into the United States; and (3) how DHS reports the transition to new border security measures will change oversight and resource requirements for securing the southwest border.
"We have devoted unprecedented amounts of manpower, infrastructure and technology to the Southwest border under this administration," DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano said. "Over the past two years, our seizures of illegal drugs, currency and weapons have increased significantly -- helping to make the Southwest border more secure than ever before."
So, which is it? The border is secured or the border is not secured as it ever was, Napolitano? GAO's preliminary analysis of the 873 border miles under operational control in 2010 showed that about 129 miles (15 percent) were classified as "controlled" and the remaining 85 percent were classified as "managed." Border Patrol stated that operational control does not require its agents to be able to detect and apprehend all illegal entries. read more »