According to an investigative report written for the Arizona Republic in the past five years more than $106 billion have been spent to build fencing along more than 650 miles of the border and and more than doubling the number of Border Patrol agents along it to almost 18,500. They erected surveillance towers and hidden sensors. They added drones, aircraft, canine teams, horse patrols, checkpoints and vehicle patrols that range up to 60 miles from the actual border to arrest migrants and catch drug smugglers.
All of this infrastructure — along with a 58 percent drop in the number of migrants arrested by the Border Patrol compared with five years ago — underpins Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s claim that the border is more secure now than it has ever been. Arizona Central
But is it?
Last week it was reported that a radar equipped drone used by the Customs Department demonstrated less than half of those illegally crossing from Mexico were stopped by border agents. Customs department officials blames the ‘Got Away’ rates on rugged terrain, lack of border agents and inability by the drone to differentiate US citizens from others.
It was further reported that many of those caught by the Border Patrol are no longer hiding from officers but instead are turning themselves over to officials. The word in Mexico is that those who make it into the US are going to be eligible for amnesty. The agency’s official response is that this sudden spike in arrests and the reason for it is anecdotal but one has to wonder what message is being sent by the current administration.
The Border Patrol policy is that they do not try to stop illegal crossings at the border; instead they try to stop illegals before they get too far. This policy means that Arizona and other state residents who may own land adjacent to the Mexico border must deal with a daily influx of border crossers. They must protect themselves and their families in this ‘no man’s land’ and fear the US government if they themselves don’t follow all laws, including holding suspected illegal crossers on their private land.
Contrary to Secretary Napolitano’s confident statements about our Southern border, it still appears that we must secure it before trying to enact an amnesty program.