2. What are the concrete metrics used to measure border security?
Since 2004, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been required to maintain “operational control” the border, i.e., the Department must be able to detect, identify, classify, and then respond to and resolve illegal entries along our U.S. borders. According to a 2011 GAO report, the federal government has only 6.5 percent operational control of the southwest border. The stunning revelation that this administration had left the border highly vulnerable caused DHS to abandon that metric. Recently, Administration officials admitted that they have no standard by which to measure border security and have no plan to establish one, apparently because the Administration is concerned that it will discourage Congress from passing a large-scale amnesty. Meanwhile, Secretary Napolitano publicly dismissed the Gang of Eight’s idea of a border security “trigger” as “not the way to go.” According to recent news reports, the Gang of Eight is contemplating a trigger that simply asks DHS to submit a plan “to achieve within a decade 90 percent apprehension and 100 percent real-time surveillance.” Once that plan is simply submitted, illegal immigrants would be offered amnesty and, like 1986, there will be no way to guarantee that the enforcement will ever take place. Even the rejected 2007 legislation included a stricter trigger, requiring DHS to certify 100 percent operational control of the border.