Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano defends the federal government’s actions to secure the border in the Arizona Republic.
According to Napolitano “…. the facts are the facts. The numbers are the numbers. We have seen dramatic reductions in illegal-immigrant apprehensions, which is a sign that fewer and fewer people are trying to cross.”
The alleged dramatic reduction in illegal immigrant apprehensions, at least from the ground view on the border, is due to the fact that the immigrants have adapted to the Border Patrol’s strategies and are evading the Border Patrol by staying away from roads and crossing through more rugged country.
Everyone one talks to on the border says pretty much the same thing. The traffic is there, it has just moved to new locations.
The one thing DHS and everyone involved from the federal side consistently avoids is answering the question “why can’t the Border Patrol be concentrated at the border so no illegal entry or drug smuggling occurs in the first place?”
We are throwing billions of dollars at the border, and people and drugs are still crossing. Just because the Border Patrol apprehsnions are down does not mean the traffic is down. What is means is the deployment and strategies of the Border Patrol have been outflanked by drug smugglers and illegal entrants.
Here is a trip following the White Rabbit down the hole into Wonderland….
Napolitano: Government pro-active on border security
Homeland Security chief says government is being pro-active
by Dan Nowicki – Aug. 20, 2010 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is continuing to push back against this year’s election-season narrative that the federal government is not doing enough to secure a lawless and chaotic U.S.-Mexican border.
In a telephone interview Thursday with The Arizona Republic, Napolitano cited the ongoing deployment to the border of 524 National Guard troops and a $600 million border-security bill passed by Congress earlier this month as the latest steps taken to stop Mexican drug smugglers and illegal immigrants from entering.
“One of the things that I have to deal with is perception versus facts,” Napolitano said. “A perception that the federal government is ignoring the border, when the facts are quite to the contrary, particularly over the last 18, 19 months. The perception that the border is overrun. Look, nobody wants any illegal immigration, anybody crossing to sell drugs or to smuggle drugs, but the numbers are all trending, and dramatically so, downwards, not upwards. So, it’s important for people to recognize that our law-enforcement efforts that we’ve been undertaking in a very comprehensive manner all across the border are having real results.”
Napolitano, a former Arizona governor, state attorney general and U.S. attorney, describes a situation different from the complaints heard from the campaign stump, where Republicans and some Democrats routinely call for increased border-security initiatives. The immigration debate, particularly after Arizona enacted a controversial law on the topic, has dominated the Republican primary races for U.S. Senate, governor and other offices.
“The plain fact of the matter is that we, for the last year and a half, have been focused on that Southwest border,” Napolitano said. “And the facts are the facts. The numbers are the numbers. We have seen dramatic reductions in illegal-immigrant apprehensions, which is a sign that fewer and fewer people are trying to cross. And we have seen increases in drug seizures and gun seizures and cash seizures, and part of that is because we are being able to focus on the drug trade as well as the human-trafficking trade.”
The number of illegal immigrants arrested by Border Patrol has plummeted by almost two-thirds in just five years, a combined result, authorities say, of fewer people trying to cross because of the economy and increased security. The Republic has reported that since September, inspectors have seized $4.7 million in southbound cash on the Arizona border ($7 million borderwide) and more than 12,000 rounds of ammunition on the Arizona border.
About 17,000 Border Patrol agents now are assigned in the Southwest, double the number of seven years ago. Arizona has nearly 10 agents for each mile of boundary with Sonora.
Napolitano said the recently passed and signed border-security bill will allow for the hiring of at least 1,000 more Border Patrol agents and 200 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigators to focus on the drug-courier routes and the drug-related investigations. The bill also will allow authorities to upgrade communications equipment in areas out of cellphone range and make other border investments.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who with Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., supported the $600 million border-security bill, suggested that the Obama administration still isn’t taking the bloody drug war in Mexico seriously enough, noting that an estimated 28,000 Mexicans have been murdered since late 2006. In an interview with The Republic, McCain said he was pleased to help secure the additional $600 million but that more money is needed to fund the border fence and other needed border initiatives.
“Of course, there have been some improvements, but the violence in Mexico and some of the problems that we are facing are almost unprecedented in the level of violence and the actual security threats,” said McCain, who with Kyl has proposed a 10-point border-security plan that would bring 3,000 National Guard troops to the Arizona border. “Ask someone who lives in the southern part of our state, in the (Border Patrol’s) Tucson Sector, if they believe that the border is secure.”
McCain also complained that Arizona has yet to see any of the 524 promised National Guard troops even though federal officials initially gave the impression that they would arrive Aug. 1.
“You can imagine the skepticism and the cynicism that the people of Arizona feel when, with a lot of fanfare, she (Napolitano) and the president announce 1,200 total National Guard troops, 524 to our border, and not a person has showed up yet,” McCain said.
The first trained troops should show up by the end of August, said 1st Lt. Valentine Castillo, a public-affairs officer for the Arizona National Guard. The troop level will increase every week until reaching full strength by the end of September, he said.
Gov. Jan Brewer is “grateful and appreciative” of the coming National Guard troops and the $600 million in border-security money, but it’s still not enough, her spokesman Paul Senseman said. Brewer supports the McCain-Kyl border plan and wants a strategy “to achieve victory” – a secure border, he said.
Senseman also credited the state’s Senate Bill 1070, which Brewer signed on April 23, for forcing the Obama administration and Congress to do more on the border. Last month, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton blocked key provisions of the law.
Napolitano acknowledged that there will probably always be some work to be done at the border but said she believes the goal of “a border that is safe and secure from San Diego to Brownsville” is attainable.
“All I can do is keep saying that this is a key, key responsibility,” Napolitano said. “It’s a responsibility that I take very seriously as the secretary. I took it seriously as a governor, I took it seriously as a prosecutor, and we will continue to do so.”