Measuring Border Security

By Jerry Kammer and Jerry Kammer on May 11, 2011

President Obama's confident assertions Tuesday about his administration's success in securing the Southwest border don't stand up even to casual examination.

An impressive reduction of a huge number of illegal border crossings can still leave an impressive number of illegal border crossings.

Consider this. On April 21 of this year, the Los Angeles Times reported this: "Apprehensions along the Southwest border overall dropped more than two-thirds from 2000 to 2010, from 1.8 million to 448,000."

That is an impressive drop, to be sure. But 448,000 apprehensions in a year average out to 1,227 per day. Can anyone seriously call that a metric of a secure border?

Last year, our youtube video titled "Gaming the Border" made much the same point, with an observation about the illegal traffic in the Border Patrol's Tucson sector. It noted that even after sharp reductions, the Border Patrol there was still making an average of 660 arrests per day.

And while I was working on the video, Border Patrol agents estimated that for each arrest, anywhere from three to five more illegal border crossers avoided them.

A secure border, Mr. President? That is not a change we can believe in.