So Who Guards the Border?
POSTED: Wednesday, July 7, 2010 - 8:32pm
UPDATED: Monday, July 12, 2010 - 11:43am
When we think about the size of the illegal immigration problem in this country, it is not surprising that federal officials are simply outnumbered. But now, we know how limited they are.
The Immigration and Customs service has 19,000 employees to handle not only illegals, but smuggling and other customs crimes.
And a new memo shows, when it comes to making a dent in illegal immigration…to quote the movie Jaws…they’re going to need a bigger boat.
And those 19,000 are divided among nine divisions of the agency, only one of which is involved in detention and removal of illegals.
President Obama has mandated that the primary focus be illegals who have committed crimes and are considered a danger. But the deportation process is multi-layered and time consuming.
Only 300,000 were deported last year, and a new memo from the assistant secretary of the agency, john Morton, admits they can only improve a little on that.
“This operation reflects a shift in our strategy and approach to southwest border enforcement,” says Morton. “Today, we are not going to prosecute a given smuggler, a given shuttle company, a given driver.”
400,000 or only about 3-4% of the estimated illegal population in the country is the most they can handle, according to the memo.
So, the memo says essentially not to bother with those who are not considered dangerous. It’s a manpower issue.
Add to that the fact that the Border Patrol and its 45,000 agents and officers have to cover 7000 miles of northern and southern borders, and 327 ports of entry.
It’s obvious, that for the feds to have an impact, it will take sizable budget increases, so, they have adjusted their focus.
Jack Martin of the Federation for American Immigration Reform says it isn’t about the border. “You don’t stop illegal immigration, people coming into the country illegally, until you convince them that they’re not going to get a job if they come into the country illegally.”
It seems to make the case for states getting involved, like Arizona has. But then, the detainees have to go through the process with ICE, and the logjam begins.
And where will the states get the extra money?