Past Features

January 19, 2015

The Battle Over Border Accountability
Avoiding Operational Control
Glenn Spencer, American Border Patrol -- January 19, 2015  
Chairman Candice S. Miller - Opening Statement -- February 15, 2011
    Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano recently said, “...it's important to recognize that ‘operational control' is a very narrow term of art in Border Patrol lingo.”.... It does not take into account infrastructure. It does not take into account technology, which is a force multiplier.” Moreover, she said that operational control “should not be construed as kind of an overall assessment of what's happening at the border.”
    If that is true then I ask: what should we be using to gauge the effectiveness of our efforts to control the border? How can we reassure the American people that their federal government is in fact accomplishing one its primary missions?
At the same hearing...
Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC): “But what I would like to try to get to is a further understanding from you of what operational control really means.”
Border Patrol Chief Fisher: “Congressman, I will say that part of our overall mission is to substantially increase the probability of apprehension of those people that seek to do harm to this country."
    Chief Fisher was fully aware that congress said operational control "... means the prevention of all unlawful entries into the United States..." -- but he and others in DHS management don't like that idea.
    For years bureaucrats at the DHS have deliberately refused to accept the legal definition of border security. They know "If you can't measure it, you can't improve it".
    The new border bill -- HR 399 -- specifically prohibits presidential appointees from even reviewing metrics proposed to be used for border accountability (page 25, line 14).
    Chairman McCaul is finally taking the accountability issue head-on - thanks to the great work of Chairman Candice Miller.

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