Report says we can’t even secure 1/2 the border E-mail
Why can't they secure the border? It's a question you hear night and day. And while the issue of border security is certainly complex, there are some basic facts that go a long way towards explaining the problems.

One such fact involves geography. The USA/Mexico border is 2,000 miles long. That's just too large an area to "secure."

According to a recent article by Reuters News Service, less than half of the United States' porous southwest border with Mexico is under the operational control of the U.S. Border Patrol.

That's coming from the GAO, or the Government Accountability Office.

Based on their study of the border and related security issues, the GAO report determined that the Border Patrol had achieved "varying levels of operational control" over just 873 miles, or 44 percent of the border by the end of last year.

The report did find that the number of miles under operational control increased an average of 126 miles per year from 2005 through 2010 as the result of massive expenditures on personnel and the "fence."

The GAO, which is the investigative arm of the U.S. Congress, noted that only 129 of those miles, or 15 percent, were classified as "controlled."

President Barack Obama's administration has been under intense political pressure to beef up security on the southwest border to prevent drug violence from spilling over from Mexico as well as to crack down on illegal immigration.

Yet of the nine Border Patrol sectors along the southwest border, only Yuma, in far western Arizona, had achieved complete operational control along its stretch of the border.

The remaining sectors noted between 11 and 86 percent of their area under "operational control."

"The Border Patrol attributed the uneven progress across sectors to multiple factors, including prioritizing resource deployment to sectors deemed to have greater risk from illegal activity," the report said.

Of the 1,120 miles of the border where operational control had not been achieved, around two-thirds were classified as "monitored," meaning that the Border Patrol had a good shot at detecting intrusions.

But the agency's ability to respond depended on the available resources.

The U.S. Border patrol has a budget of roughly $12 billion.


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