The Washington Times
President Obama made a run for the border yesterday to shore up his
credentials on the immigration issue. Speaking from Chamizal National Memorial
in El Paso, Mr. Obama defended his strategy as if it were working. “They’ll
never be satisfied,” he said, lashing out at critics. “The truth is, the
measures we’ve put in place are getting results.”
The Obama administration has cooked up a novel way to calculate what a great
job his Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has been doing in stemming
the flow of aliens flooding over the border from Mexico. In March, Ms.
Napolitano stood on a bridge connecting El Paso to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and
proclaimed border security to be “better than ever.” In testimony before the
Senate Homeland Security Committee last week, Ms. Napolitano claimed that the
meaning of “operational control” of the border is “archaic” and that she intends
to devise a “more quantitative and qualitative way to reflect what actually is
occurring at the border.” She said she wants an index that would include a
measure of how many persons have been deterred from even attempting to jump the
By counting these theoretical illegals – as opposed to real ones – Ms.
Napolitano’s border-security mission becomes much easier. While hundreds of
thousands actually cross over annually, compared to, say, Mexico’s entire
population of 112 million, they represent a tiny fraction. Preventing border
crossing in a computer model or a spreadsheet allows Ms. Napolitano to proclaim
“mission accomplished” without having to actually crack down in a way that would
offend left-wing open-border advocacy groups.
Ms. Napolitano’s attempt to redefine what it means to secure the U.S. border
is a brilliant example of double-speak worthy of “Big Sis.” Real numbers are far
less forgiving. In February, the Government Accountability Office reported that
the Border Patrol has only 873 miles of the 2,000-mile southern border subject
to “operational control.” The term means simply that the Border Patrol has the
capacity to deter illegal crossers and pursue them when they’re spotted. The
remaining length is mostly open for free passage. In remote regions of Arizona,
cartels have established observation posts providing intelligence to ensure safe
border transit for drug couriers.
Mr. Obama and his economic advisers do deserve some credit for discouraging
illegals from crossing the southern border.