It sounded tough, intended to convince skeptical conservatives that reform would be based on stringent border security. But as it turns out, the structure Gang sources described is simply not in the bill.

In the legislation, the Commission would be formed if the Secretary of Homeland Security “certifies that the Department has not achieved effective control in all high-risk border sectors during any fiscal year beginning from the date that is five years after the enactment of this Act.” The Commission’s “primary responsibility,” according to the bill, “shall be making recommendations to the President, the Secretary, and Congress on policies to achieve and maintain the border security goal” of 100 percent surveillance and 90 percent apprehension. The Commission will have six months to write a report “setting forth specific recommendations for policies for achieving and maintaining the border security goals [specified in the bill].” That report shall contain, according to the bill, “recommendations for the personnel, infrastructure, technology, and other resources required to achieve and maintain [those goals].”

The bill requires that the head of the Government Accountability Office then review the report to determine whether the Commission’s recommendations are likely to work and what they will cost. And then — the process stops. “The Commission shall terminate 30 days after the date on which the report is submitted,” says the bill.

There is nothing about the Commission going from “being an advisory panel to a policy-making one.” The strict trigger that Gang sources advertised as being in the bill just isn’t there.