Reporters Eric Lipton and Julia Preston of the New York Times produced a fine story from South Texas for the Sunday paper, putting the surge in illegal immigration in the context of the immigration reform debate in the Senate.
But it seems to me they buried the lede, placing it at the mid-point of the story with this remarkable revelation about the state of border security in the Rio Grande Valley. Lipton and Preston reported:
Several parts of the border, like one 25-mile stretch west of McAllen, are at times not being watched, so the number of migrants who cross from Mexico without getting caught is surging, too, three agents said in interviews last week.
"It's really demoralizing because there's so much traffic passing through here and we can't do anything about it," one agent said Friday while on patrol, asking that his name not be used because he was not authorized to speak publicly. "And when you try to do something and they won't let you do it," he added, having been ordered during recent shifts not to drive his truck, "it's just really demoralizing."
As we have repeatedly noted in this blog, and as several other news accounts have made clear, the surge in South Texas is not a recent phenomenon. Indeed, when the annual CIS border trip took us to south Texas in February, we learned that the surge had begun in the summer of 2012. And despite the considerable press attention and frequent mentions by members of Congress, the Border Patrol has been incapable of controlling the area.
All of this makes a mockery of the Obama administration's assurances that the border is secure. It also calls into question the border security metrics that the Senate is considering for the reform bill that Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) wants the Senate to pass before the Fourth of July recess.