Thursday, May 26, 2011

JANET NAPOLITANO HAS GONE UTTERLY INSANE! NO DOUBT EXISTS!


Submitted by: John Butler
DHS: Considering an Acceptable Level of Illegal Migration; Downsized Border Patrol? May 26, 2011


By: Anthony Kimery




A variety of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials on the US border with Mexico interviewed by Homeland Security Today offered a candidly astonishing revelation. They said because of the decrease in apprehensions of illegals and the increase in seizures of narcotics trying to be smuggled into the country, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) leaders in Washington, DC are mulling over the notion of whether, as a matter of official policy, there's an acceptable level of illegal migration into the United States - and whether the CBP workforce needs to be slashed as a result.



The officials said the decrease in apprehensions has caused some officials to believe that some Border Patrol stations and outposts and CBP operations along the southern border are “over-manned” and not as busy as they’d been in recent years. Some of the officials even said "things" have had to be "found ... to [keep some agents] busy."

But officials and former officials said the notion that there’s an acceptable level of illegal migration fails to take into account the lack of sufficient numbers of CBP agents at land Ports of Entry (PoEs); not enough Border Patrol agents on patrol in the most inhospitable areas of the northern border; and Border Patrol’s insufficient policing of federally owned lands on both borders because Border Patrol agents aren’t allowed to routinely patrol these lands without first “jumping through all sorts of environmental and other hoops," as an agent complained.

Consequently, according to senior Border Patrol agents and officials Homeland Security Today interviewed, there are significant stretches of land along both the US/Mexico and US/Canadian border that aren’t adequately patrolled by boots on the ground.

Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) that represents the entire 24,000-employee CBP workforce, told Homeland Security Today in a statement that “the reality on the ground is that Customs and Border Protection staffing at ports of entry all along the US southwestern border is insufficient. Incidents of employees having to work forced overtime and double-shifting are all too commonplace.”

“Moreover,” Kelley said, “it is a situation that appears likely to worsen, rather than improve, particular in heavily-trafficked ports where CBP has plans to expand the number of open travel lanes without a corresponding increase in staffing. For example, the number of inspection booths in the San Ysidro port of entry will increase from 24 to 63 in the near future. All of this puts enormous pressure on CBP employees.”

Continuing, Kelley said “CBP and Congress should be addressing the critical staffing shortages along the US southwestern border. The men and women of CBP deserve the staffing and resources they need to perform their vital homeland security and trade facilitation duties.”

Earlier Kelley had told the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security that CBP staffing at Northern border ports of entry is woefully short of the CBP agents that are needed at land PoEs, a situation the union said will only get worse unless Congress moves to provide additional staffing.

“There has not been a new hire for over two years at the ports of entry in Vermont,” Kelley explained, noting that “ten percent fewer CBP Officers in Vermont are now processing approximately twenty percent more vehicle and commercial traffic.”

The 293 miles of densely-wooded area along Maine’s land border with Quebec was among the examples cited by Kelley for the severe impact of staffing shortages along the northern border.

Buffalo, New York was another example. Kelley stated that “CBP management is constantly pulling CBP Officers from various areas to open auto lanes” to keep traffic from backing up; in Detroit, where staffing is “below peak,” there are insufficient officers to cover the duties of those who otherwise would be sent to training - with the result that the port skimps on training; and at the Port of Sweetgrass, Montana - which processes some 130,000 commercial vehicles a year - the frontline workforce is down by 11 officers just since Jan. 1, 2010.

“All of this should be unacceptable to Congress and the public,” Kelley said, saying “it increases the threat to our nation.”

Kelley said CBP should be required to submit a yearly workplace staffing model.

Testifying before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security’s Appropriations Subcommittee on May 24, Kelley additionally said more needs to be done beyond the administration’s modest fiscal 2012 budget request to address serious staffing shortages in the number of frontline CBP officers, agriculture specialists and trade-related personnel.

The men and women of CBP “are deserving of more resource and technology to perform their jobs better and more efficiently,” Kelley stated, adding that “after a net decrease of over 500 CBP officer positions between 2009 and 2011, the administration is only seeking appropriated funding to support 300 CBP officers above the fiscal 2011 budget and additional canine assets to port of entry operations.”

Separately, the House Committee on Appropriations approved its version of the fiscal 2012 homeland security appropriations measure that provides for a total of 21,186 CBP Officers.

But, Kelley said, CBP “is continuing to increase the number of supervisors when a much greater need exists for new frontline hires.”

In real numbers since the creation of CBP in 2003, Kelley said “the number of new managers has increased at a much higher rate than the number of new frontline CBP hires.”

And CBP’s own numbers, she said, showed a 2009 ratio of one supervisor for every five CBP officers and one supervisor for every six CBP agriculture specialists. In part, she said, “the tremendous growth in CBP managers and supervisors at the [ports of entry] has come at the expense of national security preparedness and frontline positions.”

“Kelley nailed it nicely on shortages at the POE's, which include air and sea ports,” said former veteran Border Patrol agent, G. Alan Ferguson, vice chairman of the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers.

Ferguson said a particular “major security issue is the sea ports, which are under staffed resulting in only some ships/containers being inspected.”

And “as for agents having nothing to do, that is pure BS,” Ferguson said, pointing out that “I'm in touch with agents all along the Arizona border several times a day, both by phone and online, and I quote one here: ‘the entire Arizona border, with the exception of Yuma, is out of control.’”

Other boots on the ground Border Patrol agents Homeland Security Today interviewed expressed identical sentiments.

“Any concept of an acceptable level [of illegal migration] is bogus on its face when false numbers are being used,” Ferguson declared, saying “DHS has painted a lie that the border is secure, that there are fewer coming [across the border] and that there are few physically in the US. They use a figure of 12 million, when it is closer to 25 million at the least. And they keep coming ... A prime example are the two trucks in Mexico carrying over 513 [illegals] headed here just reported in the news. How many trucks and trains carrying numbers like that are not caught before getting here?”

Ferguson was referring to the discovery earlier this month in Mexico of more than 500 persons in two 18-wheelers bound for the the US border.

According to the Chiapas, Mexico, Attorney General's office, specialized X-ray machines that were used on the two tractor-trailer rigs at a checkpoint at Chiapas detected the illegal aliens, who were from El Salvador, Ecuador, China, Japan, Guatemala, India, Nepal, Honduras and the Dominican Republic. The illegals represented a $3.5 million cargo. Another tractor-trailer packed with 219 people was discovered in January.

The two trucks' drivers tried to speed away from the Chiapas checkpoint, but they were quickly apprehended by law enforcement. The illegal immigrants reportedly told Mexican authorities they’d paid $7,000 to be transported and smuggled into the US. Mexican authorities said some have paid as much as $30,000, and that the illegal human-trafficking business into America operated by Mexican transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) is a $6.6 billion annual business.

“DHS tries to use think tank dialog to show they are proficient at [meeting] the congressional mandate of homeland security,” but “the reality is that even when massive holes in that security become known, such as the northern border or trains, they are slow to respond … Yet, DHS has on hand millions of MREs [Meals Ready to Eat] in readiness for refugees from Mexico, but can't handle our own nation,” Ferguson said.

In testimony in early May before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano hinted that DHS is considering “metrics” that possibly could translate into new border staffing policies.

The Secretary told the Committee that because “illegal immigration attempts, as measured by Border Patrol apprehensions,” have “decreased 36 percent in the past two years [which “are less than one third of what they were at their peak”],” coupled to “increases in seizures of cash, drugs and weapons … Customs and Border Protection has begun the process of developing an index … to comprehensively measure security along the Southwest border” to “help guide future investments” and to “target resources to more cost-effective programs that have the biggest impact on improving border security.”

“As part of this process,” Napolitano explained, “CBP will be convening a group of independent, third-party stakeholders from a diverse cross-section of critical areas of civic life – to include law enforcement officials, representatives from border-communities, former members of Congress, experts from independent think-tanks – to evaluate and refine this index as we move forward.”

Napolitano said “this index will help us measure progress along the Southwest border comprehensively and systematically, rather than by anecdote.”

“With the reliable and trusted measures of border security that we are developing and validating with third-party experts, we can provide an accurate picture of the state of the southwest border … and more precisely guide future border security investments,” the Secretary told lawmakers, noting that “the border, as a whole, is simply not the same as it was two years ago, or even one year ago – in terms of the manpower, resources, and technology.”

Continuing, Napolitano told lawmakers “… it is important to focus on how we can best measure progress in the future. Significant improvement has occurred since 2007 in all the major metrics used to describe capabilities and results. Border Patrol apprehensions decreased from nearly 724,000 in FY 2008 to approximately 463,000 in FY 2010, a 36 percent reduction, less than one third of what they were at their peak. In fiscal years 2009, 2010, and the first half of 2011, CBP and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement [ICE] have seized 75 percent more currency, 31 percent more drugs, and 64 percent more weapons along the Southwest border as compared to the last two and a half years of the previous administration.”

Comparing these successes with the level of border manpower today, Napolitano said “Border Patrol had fewer than 13,300 agents at the southwest border at the end of FY2007, and 15,442 as of September 30, 2008, while there were 17,535 at the end of FY2010. In 2007, CBP had 154.7 miles of fence, which increased to 279 by end of FY2009 and is now at 649 miles. However, above all of these measures of improvement, it is clear we must also focus on more comprehensive and accurate measurements of border security.”

Consequently, Napolitano stated, “CBP is developing … a new comprehensive index that will more holistically represent what is happening at the border and allow us to measure progress … That is why CBP is creating a new comprehensive index drawing on data gathered both from their own operations as well as from third parties.”

“This index would take into account traditional measures such as apprehensions and contraband seizures, state and local crime statistics on border-related criminal activity and overall crime index reporting,” Napolitano told the Committee. “But to fully evaluate the condition of the border and the effectiveness of our efforts, this index would also incorporate indicators of the impact of illegal cross-border activity on the quality of life in the border region.”

Napolitano said “this may include calls from hospitals to report suspected illegal aliens, traffic accidents involving illegal aliens or narcotics smugglers, rates of vehicle theft and numbers of abandoned vehicles, impacts on property values, and other measures of economic activity and environmental impacts. CBP is currently working with outside experts and stakeholders to further guide what data to include.

“These new measures are also critical to evaluating existing resources and guiding future federal investments in personnel, technology, and infrastructure. They are key to determining how best to apply limited resources to gain the most impact on border security.”

CBP agents who commented on Napolitano’s testimony said they’ve heard “scuttlebutt” that the new effort to develop the “metrics” Napolitano revealed has led them to believe that a “policy is being considered that would establish an acceptable level of illegal migration,” as one candidly offered.

CBP officials told Homeland Security Today that the success they’ve had in buttoning-up the southern border has led to internal, top-level discussions about whether there’s an acceptable level of illegal migration.

Furthermore, they said they have concerns that in the near future there could be movement on the part of the administration to cut back the existing number of CBP personnel on the border, some of whom even now, officials said, “are having to be given busy work” because of the decrease in the operational tempo in certain areas along the border as a result of fewer illegal entries and narco drug smuggling attempts.

The Los Angeles Times reported April 21 that the “plunge in border crossings leaves agents fighting boredom” – and even nodding off, if the account is to be believed.

According to the report, “wild foot chases and dust-swirling car pursuits may be the adrenaline-pumping stuff of recruitment efforts, but agents on the US/Mexico border these days have to deal with a more mundane occupational reality; the boredom of guarding a frontier where illegal crossings have dipped to record low levels.”

The Times went on to state that one Border Patrol agent near San Luis, Arizona where “the border fence ran right in front of [his] post,” was found “fast asleep” by “a supervisor” because of the inactivity around his post.

“Almost every region has lonely outposts where agents sit for hours staring at the border, watching the ‘fence rust,’ as some put it,” the Times reported.

“When the traffic stops … of course it’s going to be difficult for the agents to stay interested,” Yuma, Arizona sector Border Patrol Supervisory Agent Ken Quillin was quoted as telling the Times, adding, “I understand guys have a tough time staying awake … they didn’t join the Border Patrol to sit on an X,” which is slang for line watch duty.

“When you go from 700,000 arrests in a sector to 100,000 … of course boredom is going to settle in,” the Times also quoted local border patrol agents’ union president Brandon Judd saying about the lowest numbers of apprehensions in the San Diego Sector since the 1970s.

But when asked about these anecdotes, the Border Patrol and other CBP officials Homeland Security Today interviewed said they “give a very distorted picture of what’s really happening on the southwest border overall,” as one put it. “While there may be pockets where [agents] are nodding off, it’s not the norm.”

A veteran Border Patrol official who has worked both the northern and southern borders said on condition of anonymity that “if [Napolitano] is looking to move resources around to help cost to apprehension ratio she needs to have ICE agents start doing interior enforcement. If a southern border sector has agents who do not have enough work … she should send those agents to help show ICE how to arrest aliens and do the case work for removal.”

Border Patrol agents agreed, pointing to the more than 500 illegals who were caught earlier this month in Mexico being transported to the US. They questioned how many operations like this one have not been busted.

According to US counter-TCO intelligence analysts, this mode of transport may have been on-going for some time – and successfully - because investigations have determined that 18-wheel rigs belonging to Mexican companies that were deemed “trusted (freight) shippers” to the US from Mexico had been being used to transport illegal immigrants across the border.

“As for [whether there should be an official policy that holds that there’s] acceptable numbers [of illegal border crossers], yeah, that [number] should be zero,” the Border Patrol official said, adding, “we need to stop the kid glove approach on wildlife lands (both state and federal) and squeeze the routes and deny all easy routes. Heck, the illegals do far more damage to the protected lands than [Border Patrol] agents.”

Continuing, the official stated “if we had any interior enforcement, we would start seeing a decline in illegal crossings. If we could start in the north (Washington and Oregon), and work our concentrated interior enforcement forcing the illegals to flee south and cut off the free social services … we would see a lot of self deportations. We target welfare along with the state, hit airports, train and bus stations. If we use the media and really push the publicity, they should begin fleeing before we even begin the operation.”

“The biggest thing the DHS can do to target illegals is to have ICE do their job in so far as immigration enforcement [is concerned], as opposed to doubling the efforts of the Drug Enforcement Administration [DEA],” the official continued.

A veteran CIA operations officer who served in law enforcement on the Southern border who conducts counter-cartel training told Homeland Security Today that any DHS effort to establish metrics that are linked to a policy that would accept a certain level of illegal migration “is more smoke and mirrors from DHS. These people apparently have no shame. When I worked along the border in the early '70s, the Border Patrol agents told me that they were only catching a percentage of the illegals. How many they missed was not known, but was assumed to be substantial. I think in recent years there have been several attempts to come up with a figure, but at present I don't trust any numbers coming out of this Department of Justice [DoJ] or DHS.”

“To say that the numbers are down is bullshit, pure and simple,” the former official said. “Plus, the Border Patrol can only work a standard shift; so they may have to stop a pursuit or working a fresh [indication of illegal crossings] before catching the aliens due to their shift ending. We also have reports of agencies being told to stop apprehending illegals that certainly would cut down on the numbers. I see this as a parallel to the gun sale fiasco that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives [ATF] is tied up in that is being used - I suspect - to dummy the number of actual illegal guns sold in America to send across the border.”

[Editor’s note: this is a reference to ATF’s controversial “Project Gunrunner” – a component of DoJ’s larger “Operation Fast and Furious” – that’s now under congressional scrutiny. Under the program, DoJ deliberately allowed munitions – including automatic weapons and 50. Caliber sniper rifles - to be sold to gun traffickers knowing they’d be transported into Mexico in an effort to track where the weapons ended up. One of these guns ended up in the hands of the narco-cartel that was used to kill Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry near Nogales, Texas earlier this year. Another one of the guns may have been involved in a cartel’s murder of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata, also earlier this year]

“Finally,” the official added, “given the national security issues [Special Interest Aliens from Muslim nations] and the volume of drug shipments coming across the border; this isn't just about illegal aliens anymore. I honestly don't know if this country can survive another four years of these idiots."

Homeland Security Today has reported that the volume of drugs known to be being sold in the US by Mexican TCOs, when compared to the amounts that are being seized, demonstrably show that significant quantities somehow are still making it across the border.

In her testimony before the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Napolitano conceded that “a safe and secure border region requires vigorous interior enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws,” and that “this enforcement must be robust and smart — targeting criminals, threats to public safety, and employers who knowingly hire illegal workers. Enforcement must be conducted in a manner consistent with our values and our priorities.”

But Napolitano also told the Committee “our interior enforcement efforts are achieving unprecedented results. In Fiscal Years 2009 and 2010, ICE removed more illegal aliens from our country than ever before, with more than 779,000 removals nationwide. Most importantly, more than half of those removed last year – upwards of 195,000 – were convicted criminals, the most ever removed from our country in a single year. This surge in these criminal removals did not happen by accident. It is the result of a targeted enforcement strategy designed to identify and remove those who present the greatest danger to our communities.”

One of the Border Patrol veterans who spoke to Homeland Security Today said the reality, in his opinion, is “we are trying to plug holes as opposed to building a wall from one end and work to the other end. We should start in San Diego and continue east. The other thing is to … prosecute the smugglers. Get the maximum sentence. It’s not that hard. Once you get them on the run, we can simply work south.”

The official said that “the plan should be to continue the plan we have in place with Operation Hold the Line and Operation Gatekeeper, where we stop the illegal crossings at the easy areas and force the illegals to cross in harsher areas.”

Homeland Security Today first explained this strategy in its award-winning January 2009 cover report, Savage Struggle on the Border.

“Exactly! You squeeze a balloon, and it bulges somewhere else,” Ferguson explained. “Since I began 33-plus years ago, it has been that way. Close a section of the line, and the polleros [human smuggling guides] just take [the illegals they are smuggling] elsewhere. It worked well for them when there were fewer agents. But even now there are many areas off limits to agents, such as the restricted Bureau of Land Management land in Arizona and New Mexico, so the smugglers still have plenty of open access without opposition to bringing their loads across." It's a problem that’s been documented by Congress’s investigative arm, the Government Accountability Office.


In a prepared statement that he issued regarding the hearing at which Napolitano testified, Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn, said “a new standard for measuring border security that will be more accurate and effective will inform the debate and allow us to set achievable security goals.”

“But,” Lieberman said, “I firmly believe that we will not be able to secure the border until we enact smart immigration reform that address the underlying reasons that most people come here illegally: to find employment, and reunite with family members. We still have a chance in this session to try and achieve this. As good as the recent news is about the death of Osama Bin Laden, we know the war against Islamist terrorism is not over. The enemy is still out there and will continue to try and attack us here at home. That’s why the security of our borders is so critical.”DHS: Considering an Acceptable Level of Illegal Migration; Downsized Border Patrol?

May 26, 2011


By: Anthony Kimery




A variety of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials on the US border with Mexico interviewed by Homeland Security Today offered a candidly astonishing revelation. They said because of the decrease in apprehensions of illegals and the increase in seizures of narcotics trying to be smuggled into the country, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) leaders in Washington, DC are mulling over the notion of whether, as a matter of official policy, there's an acceptable level of illegal migration into the United States - and whether the CBP workforce needs to be slashed as a result.

The officials said the decrease in apprehensions has caused some officials to believe that some Border Patrol stations and outposts and CBP operations along the southern border are “over-manned” and not as busy as they’d been in recent years. Some of the officials even said "things" have had to be "found ... to [keep some agents] busy."

But officials and former officials said the notion that there’s an acceptable level of illegal migration fails to take into account the lack of sufficient numbers of CBP agents at land Ports of Entry (PoEs); not enough Border Patrol agents on patrol in the most inhospitable areas of the northern border; and Border Patrol’s insufficient policing of federally owned lands on both borders because Border Patrol agents aren’t allowed to routinely patrol these lands without first “jumping through all sorts of environmental and other hoops," as an agent complained.

Consequently, according to senior Border Patrol agents and officials Homeland Security Today interviewed, there are significant stretches of land along both the US/Mexico and US/Canadian border that aren’t adequately patrolled by boots on the ground.

Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) that represents the entire 24,000-employee CBP workforce, told Homeland Security Today in a statement that “the reality on the ground is that Customs and Border Protection staffing at ports of entry all along the US southwestern border is insufficient. Incidents of employees having to work forced overtime and double-shifting are all too commonplace.”

“Moreover,” Kelley said, “it is a situation that appears likely to worsen, rather than improve, particular in heavily-trafficked ports where CBP has plans to expand the number of open travel lanes without a corresponding increase in staffing. For example, the number of inspection booths in the San Ysidro port of entry will increase from 24 to 63 in the near future. All of this puts enormous pressure on CBP employees.”

Continuing, Kelley said “CBP and Congress should be addressing the critical staffing shortages along the US southwestern border. The men and women of CBP deserve the staffing and resources they need to perform their vital homeland security and trade facilitation duties.”

Earlier Kelley had told the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security that CBP staffing at Northern border ports of entry is woefully short of the CBP agents that are needed at land PoEs, a situation the union said will only get worse unless Congress moves to provide additional staffing.

“There has not been a new hire for over two years at the ports of entry in Vermont,” Kelley explained, noting that “ten percent fewer CBP Officers in Vermont are now processing approximately twenty percent more vehicle and commercial traffic.”

The 293 miles of densely-wooded area along Maine’s land border with Quebec was among the examples cited by Kelley for the severe impact of staffing shortages along the northern border.

Buffalo, New York was another example. Kelley stated that “CBP management is constantly pulling CBP Officers from various areas to open auto lanes” to keep traffic from backing up; in Detroit, where staffing is “below peak,” there are insufficient officers to cover the duties of those who otherwise would be sent to training - with the result that the port skimps on training; and at the Port of Sweetgrass, Montana - which processes some 130,000 commercial vehicles a year - the frontline workforce is down by 11 officers just since Jan. 1, 2010.

“All of this should be unacceptable to Congress and the public,” Kelley said, saying “it increases the threat to our nation.”

Kelley said CBP should be required to submit a yearly workplace staffing model.

Testifying before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security’s Appropriations Subcommittee on May 24, Kelley additionally said more needs to be done beyond the administration’s modest fiscal 2012 budget request to address serious staffing shortages in the number of frontline CBP officers, agriculture specialists and trade-related personnel.

The men and women of CBP “are deserving of more resource and technology to perform their jobs better and more efficiently,” Kelley stated, adding that “after a net decrease of over 500 CBP officer positions between 2009 and 2011, the administration is only seeking appropriated funding to support 300 CBP officers above the fiscal 2011 budget and additional canine assets to port of entry operations.”

Separately, the House Committee on Appropriations approved its version of the fiscal 2012 homeland security appropriations measure that provides for a total of 21,186 CBP Officers.

But, Kelley said, CBP “is continuing to increase the number of supervisors when a much greater need exists for new frontline hires.”

In real numbers since the creation of CBP in 2003, Kelley said “the number of new managers has increased at a much higher rate than the number of new frontline CBP hires.”

And CBP’s own numbers, she said, showed a 2009 ratio of one supervisor for every five CBP officers and one supervisor for every six CBP agriculture specialists. In part, she said, “the tremendous growth in CBP managers and supervisors at the [ports of entry] has come at the expense of national security preparedness and frontline positions.”

“Kelley nailed it nicely on shortages at the POE's, which include air and sea ports,” said former veteran Border Patrol agent, G. Alan Ferguson, vice chairman of the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers.

Ferguson said a particular “major security issue is the sea ports, which are under staffed resulting in only some ships/containers being inspected.”

And “as for agents having nothing to do, that is pure BS,” Ferguson said, pointing out that “I'm in touch with agents all along the Arizona border several times a day, both by phone and online, and I quote one here: ‘the entire Arizona border, with the exception of Yuma, is out of control.’”

Other boots on the ground Border Patrol agents Homeland Security Today interviewed expressed identical sentiments.

“Any concept of an acceptable level [of illegal migration] is bogus on its face when false numbers are being used,” Ferguson declared, saying “DHS has painted a lie that the border is secure, that there are fewer coming [across the border] and that there are few physically in the US. They use a figure of 12 million, when it is closer to 25 million at the least. And they keep coming ... A prime example are the two trucks in Mexico carrying over 513 [illegals] headed here just reported in the news. How many trucks and trains carrying numbers like that are not caught before getting here?”

Ferguson was referring to the discovery earlier this month in Mexico of more than 500 persons in two 18-wheelers bound for the the US border.

According to the Chiapas, Mexico, Attorney General's office, specialized X-ray machines that were used on the two tractor-trailer rigs at a checkpoint at Chiapas detected the illegal aliens, who were from El Salvador, Ecuador, China, Japan, Guatemala, India, Nepal, Honduras and the Dominican Republic. The illegals represented a $3.5 million cargo. Another tractor-trailer packed with 219 people was discovered in January.

The two trucks' drivers tried to speed away from the Chiapas checkpoint, but they were quickly apprehended by law enforcement. The illegal immigrants reportedly told Mexican authorities they’d paid $7,000 to be transported and smuggled into the US. Mexican authorities said some have paid as much as $30,000, and that the illegal human-trafficking business into America operated by Mexican transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) is a $6.6 billion annual business.

“DHS tries to use think tank dialog to show they are proficient at [meeting] the congressional mandate of homeland security,” but “the reality is that even when massive holes in that security become known, such as the northern border or trains, they are slow to respond … Yet, DHS has on hand millions of MREs [Meals Ready to Eat] in readiness for refugees from Mexico, but can't handle our own nation,” Ferguson said.

In testimony in early May before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano hinted that DHS is considering “metrics” that possibly could translate into new border staffing policies.

The Secretary told the Committee that because “illegal immigration attempts, as measured by Border Patrol apprehensions,” have “decreased 36 percent in the past two years [which “are less than one third of what they were at their peak”],” coupled to “increases in seizures of cash, drugs and weapons … Customs and Border Protection has begun the process of developing an index … to comprehensively measure security along the Southwest border” to “help guide future investments” and to “target resources to more cost-effective programs that have the biggest impact on improving border security.”

“As part of this process,” Napolitano explained, “CBP will be convening a group of independent, third-party stakeholders from a diverse cross-section of critical areas of civic life – to include law enforcement officials, representatives from border-communities, former members of Congress, experts from independent think-tanks – to evaluate and refine this index as we move forward.”

Napolitano said “this index will help us measure progress along the Southwest border comprehensively and systematically, rather than by anecdote.”

“With the reliable and trusted measures of border security that we are developing and validating with third-party experts, we can provide an accurate picture of the state of the southwest border … and more precisely guide future border security investments,” the Secretary told lawmakers, noting that “the border, as a whole, is simply not the same as it was two years ago, or even one year ago – in terms of the manpower, resources, and technology.”

Continuing, Napolitano told lawmakers “… it is important to focus on how we can best measure progress in the future. Significant improvement has occurred since 2007 in all the major metrics used to describe capabilities and results. Border Patrol apprehensions decreased from nearly 724,000 in FY 2008 to approximately 463,000 in FY 2010, a 36 percent reduction, less than one third of what they were at their peak. In fiscal years 2009, 2010, and the first half of 2011, CBP and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement [ICE] have seized 75 percent more currency, 31 percent more drugs, and 64 percent more weapons along the Southwest border as compared to the last two and a half years of the previous administration.”

Comparing these successes with the level of border manpower today, Napolitano said “Border Patrol had fewer than 13,300 agents at the southwest border at the end of FY2007, and 15,442 as of September 30, 2008, while there were 17,535 at the end of FY2010. In 2007, CBP had 154.7 miles of fence, which increased to 279 by end of FY2009 and is now at 649 miles. However, above all of these measures of improvement, it is clear we must also focus on more comprehensive and accurate measurements of border security.”

Consequently, Napolitano stated, “CBP is developing … a new comprehensive index that will more holistically represent what is happening at the border and allow us to measure progress … That is why CBP is creating a new comprehensive index drawing on data gathered both from their own operations as well as from third parties.”

“This index would take into account traditional measures such as apprehensions and contraband seizures, state and local crime statistics on border-related criminal activity and overall crime index reporting,” Napolitano told the Committee. “But to fully evaluate the condition of the border and the effectiveness of our efforts, this index would also incorporate indicators of the impact of illegal cross-border activity on the quality of life in the border region.”

Napolitano said “this may include calls from hospitals to report suspected illegal aliens, traffic accidents involving illegal aliens or narcotics smugglers, rates of vehicle theft and numbers of abandoned vehicles, impacts on property values, and other measures of economic activity and environmental impacts. CBP is currently working with outside experts and stakeholders to further guide what data to include.

“These new measures are also critical to evaluating existing resources and guiding future federal investments in personnel, technology, and infrastructure. They are key to determining how best to apply limited resources to gain the most impact on border security.”

CBP agents who commented on Napolitano’s testimony said they’ve heard “scuttlebutt” that the new effort to develop the “metrics” Napolitano revealed has led them to believe that a “policy is being considered that would establish an acceptable level of illegal migration,” as one candidly offered.

CBP officials told Homeland Security Today that the success they’ve had in buttoning-up the southern border has led to internal, top-level discussions about whether there’s an acceptable level of illegal migration.

Furthermore, they said they have concerns that in the near future there could be movement on the part of the administration to cut back the existing number of CBP personnel on the border, some of whom even now, officials said, “are having to be given busy work” because of the decrease in the operational tempo in certain areas along the border as a result of fewer illegal entries and narco drug smuggling attempts.

The Los Angeles Times reported April 21 that the “plunge in border crossings leaves agents fighting boredom” – and even nodding off, if the account is to be believed.

According to the report, “wild foot chases and dust-swirling car pursuits may be the adrenaline-pumping stuff of recruitment efforts, but agents on the US/Mexico border these days have to deal with a more mundane occupational reality; the boredom of guarding a frontier where illegal crossings have dipped to record low levels.”

The Times went on to state that one Border Patrol agent near San Luis, Arizona where “the border fence ran right in front of [his] post,” was found “fast asleep” by “a supervisor” because of the inactivity around his post.

“Almost every region has lonely outposts where agents sit for hours staring at the border, watching the ‘fence rust,’ as some put it,” the Times reported.

“When the traffic stops … of course it’s going to be difficult for the agents to stay interested,” Yuma, Arizona sector Border Patrol Supervisory Agent Ken Quillin was quoted as telling the Times, adding, “I understand guys have a tough time staying awake … they didn’t join the Border Patrol to sit on an X,” which is slang for line watch duty.

“When you go from 700,000 arrests in a sector to 100,000 … of course boredom is going to settle in,” the Times also quoted local border patrol agents’ union president Brandon Judd saying about the lowest numbers of apprehensions in the San Diego Sector since the 1970s.

But when asked about these anecdotes, the Border Patrol and other CBP officials Homeland Security Today interviewed said they “give a very distorted picture of what’s really happening on the southwest border overall,” as one put it. “While there may be pockets where [agents] are nodding off, it’s not the norm.”

A veteran Border Patrol official who has worked both the northern and southern borders said on condition of anonymity that “if [Napolitano] is looking to move resources around to help cost to apprehension ratio she needs to have ICE agents start doing interior enforcement. If a southern border sector has agents who do not have enough work … she should send those agents to help show ICE how to arrest aliens and do the case work for removal.”

Border Patrol agents agreed, pointing to the more than 500 illegals who were caught earlier this month in Mexico being transported to the US. They questioned how many operations like this one have not been busted.

According to US counter-TCO intelligence analysts, this mode of transport may have been on-going for some time – and successfully - because investigations have determined that 18-wheel rigs belonging to Mexican companies that were deemed “trusted (freight) shippers” to the US from Mexico had been being used to transport illegal immigrants across the border.

“As for [whether there should be an official policy that holds that there’s] acceptable numbers [of illegal border crossers], yeah, that [number] should be zero,” the Border Patrol official said, adding, “we need to stop the kid glove approach on wildlife lands (both state and federal) and squeeze the routes and deny all easy routes. Heck, the illegals do far more damage to the protected lands than [Border Patrol] agents.”

Continuing, the official stated “if we had any interior enforcement, we would start seeing a decline in illegal crossings. If we could start in the north (Washington and Oregon), and work our concentrated interior enforcement forcing the illegals to flee south and cut off the free social services … we would see a lot of self deportations. We target welfare along with the state, hit airports, train and bus stations. If we use the media and really push the publicity, they should begin fleeing before we even begin the operation.”

“The biggest thing the DHS can do to target illegals is to have ICE do their job in so far as immigration enforcement [is concerned], as opposed to doubling the efforts of the Drug Enforcement Administration [DEA],” the official continued.

A veteran CIA operations officer who served in law enforcement on the Southern border who conducts counter-cartel training told Homeland Security Today that any DHS effort to establish metrics that are linked to a policy that would accept a certain level of illegal migration “is more smoke and mirrors from DHS. These people apparently have no shame. When I worked along the border in the early '70s, the Border Patrol agents told me that they were only catching a percentage of the illegals. How many they missed was not known, but was assumed to be substantial. I think in recent years there have been several attempts to come up with a figure, but at present I don't trust any numbers coming out of this Department of Justice [DoJ] or DHS.”

“To say that the numbers are down is bullshit, pure and simple,” the former official said. “Plus, the Border Patrol can only work a standard shift; so they may have to stop a pursuit or working a fresh [indication of illegal crossings] before catching the aliens due to their shift ending. We also have reports of agencies being told to stop apprehending illegals that certainly would cut down on the numbers. I see this as a parallel to the gun sale fiasco that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives [ATF] is tied up in that is being used - I suspect - to dummy the number of actual illegal guns sold in America to send across the border.”

[Editor’s note: this is a reference to ATF’s controversial “Project Gunrunner” – a component of DoJ’s larger “Operation Fast and Furious” – that’s now under congressional scrutiny. Under the program, DoJ deliberately allowed munitions – including automatic weapons and 50. Caliber sniper rifles - to be sold to gun traffickers knowing they’d be transported into Mexico in an effort to track where the weapons ended up. One of these guns ended up in the hands of the narco-cartel that was used to kill Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry near Nogales, Texas earlier this year. Another one of the guns may have been involved in a cartel’s murder of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata, also earlier this year]

“Finally,” the official added, “given the national security issues [Special Interest Aliens from Muslim nations] and the volume of drug shipments coming across the border; this isn't just about illegal aliens anymore. I honestly don't know if this country can survive another four years of these idiots."

Homeland Security Today has reported that the volume of drugs known to be being sold in the US by Mexican TCOs, when compared to the amounts that are being seized, demonstrably show that significant quantities somehow are still making it across the border.

In her testimony before the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Napolitano conceded that “a safe and secure border region requires vigorous interior enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws,” and that “this enforcement must be robust and smart — targeting criminals, threats to public safety, and employers who knowingly hire illegal workers. Enforcement must be conducted in a manner consistent with our values and our priorities.”

But Napolitano also told the Committee “our interior enforcement efforts are achieving unprecedented results. In Fiscal Years 2009 and 2010, ICE removed more illegal aliens from our country than ever before, with more than 779,000 removals nationwide. Most importantly, more than half of those removed last year – upwards of 195,000 – were convicted criminals, the most ever removed from our country in a single year. This surge in these criminal removals did not happen by accident. It is the result of a targeted enforcement strategy designed to identify and remove those who present the greatest danger to our communities.”

One of the Border Patrol veterans who spoke to Homeland Security Today said the reality, in his opinion, is “we are trying to plug holes as opposed to building a wall from one end and work to the other end. We should start in San Diego and continue east. The other thing is to … prosecute the smugglers. Get the maximum sentence. It’s not that hard. Once you get them on the run, we can simply work south.”

The official said that “the plan should be to continue the plan we have in place with Operation Hold the Line and Operation Gatekeeper, where we stop the illegal crossings at the easy areas and force the illegals to cross in harsher areas.”

Homeland Security Today first explained this strategy in its award-winning January 2009 cover report, Savage Struggle on the Border.

“Exactly! You squeeze a balloon, and it bulges somewhere else,” Ferguson explained. “Since I began 33-plus years ago, it has been that way. Close a section of the line, and the polleros [human smuggling guides] just take [the illegals they are smuggling] elsewhere. It worked well for them when there were fewer agents. But even now there are many areas off limits to agents, such as the restricted Bureau of Land Management land in Arizona and New Mexico, so the smugglers still have plenty of open access without opposition to bringing their loads across." It's a problem that’s been documented by Congress’s investigative arm, the Government Accountability Office.


In a prepared statement that he issued regarding the hearing at which Napolitano testified, Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn, said “a new standard for measuring border security that will be more accurate and effective will inform the debate and allow us to set achievable security goals.”

“But,” Lieberman said, “I firmly believe that we will not be able to secure the border until we enact smart immigration reform that address the underlying reasons that most people come here illegally: to find employment, and reunite with family members. We still have a chance in this session to try and achieve this. As good as the recent news is about the death of Osama Bin Laden, we know the war against Islamist terrorism is not over. The enemy is still out there and will continue to try and attack us here at home. That’s why the security of our borders is so critical.”  

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment