Insecuring the Border

By James R. Edwards, Jr. on April 24, 2011

Fox News recently made an exclusive report confirming that Border Patrol and Homeland Security officials are manipulating apprehension figures.

That is, border security agencies are forcing Border Patrol officers not to apprehend aliens attempting to cross the Mexican border illegally. You read that right: Let them go, never touch them.

Rather, officers routinely "TBS" (turn back south) would-be illegal aliens. On orders from supervisors, Border Patrolmen don't even try to arrest, detain, or apprehend many border jumpers.

Arizona's Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever and Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu asserted this fact. The Janet Napolitano Homeland Security Department put its propaganda machine into high gear, launching a denial campaign full of cynically repeated talking points and sanctimony.

But more than 100 current and former Border Patrol officers and lawmen have confirmed the sheriffs' assessment.

  • "This is nothing new, during my career with the border patrol, this was done regularly. . . . By assigning agents to different tasks, locations, etc., the apprehensions can be increased or decreased dramatically," wrote Dan McCaskill Jr., a retired Border Patrol agent who worked in the Anti-Smuggling Unit.

  • "Do some in management play games with numbers and cater to the wishes of politicians like Janet Napolitano and David Aguilar? Resoundingly, yes. Time for the foolish political games to stop." (From the National Border Patrol Council Local 2544 of Tucson website.)

  • "Just remember, for years now we have been told from the highest ranking managers in our agency that 'every apprehension is a FAILURE' (Johnny Williams – former INS Western Region Director), and that we 'are NOT immigration officers' (current CBP Deputy Commissioner David Aguilar to Border Patrol agents when he was the Chief of the Border Patrol)…. We have been told that Apprehensions = failure, we are not 'immigration' officers, we should not 'lower' ourselves to the status of an immigration officer, and our primary job is not apprehending illegal aliens. Couple all this with Secretary Napolitano's recent public announcement about what she expects our apprehension numbers to be this fiscal year, and it's not hard to figure this thing out." (from the National Border Patrol Council Local 2544 of Tucson website)

Why would the government demand nonapprehension? The main reason is to lower the statistics. TBSing gives the (false) appearance that the border is more secure – that fewer aliens are attempting illicit entry – that border agents are capturing a higher percentage of those trying to come in – that the official line claimed from Washington by this administration about our having effective control of the southern border is actually true. The "proof" lies in the official number of apprehensions.

Napolitano has asserted that the U.S. has established "operational control" over much of the border, even making such a claim with a straight face before the House Homeland Security Committee. But Congress's investigative arm, the Government Accountability Office, has concluded that we only have actual operational control of 129 miles of the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border.

With falsified statistics, the Obama administration hopes to hoodwink the American people into going along with mass amnesty. The scam doesn't seem to be working very well.