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Is the U.S. Border Secure?

In 2011 net immigration from Mexico was zero or perhaps less. Now let’s talk about immigration reform.

One of the most common refrains that's heard from politicians and from people on the street is that we can talk about reforming our immigration policies when the border is secure.

When politicians talk about securing border, they generally mean the border with Mexico. But, here is the vital question; what makes the border secure?

Is the border secure when there is no net migration from Mexico? Is the border secure when no one crosses the border illegally? Is the border secure when there is no smuggling—no infiltration of illegal drugs and weapons? Is the border secure when no terrorists enter the United States? Is the border secure where no one attempts to use a visa to cross into the United States, but then stays in the United States beyond the terms of their visa? What if the person enters the United States on a visa that does not allow a person to work legally in the United States and then starts working; is the border not secure?

Migration From Mexico

Here is the little secret that no one is talking about: in 2011, there was no net migration from Mexico to the United States. According to the Pew Research Hispanic Center, net migration from Mexico in 2011 was zero, or perhaps even less.  

There are several reasons for the change in migration from Mexico including the weaker U.S. economy, the stronger Mexican economy, and lower birth rates from Mexico. However, one of the main reasons for the change in migration is $18 billion. 

In 2012, United States Spent More On Immigration Enforcement Than All Other Types Of Law Enforcement Put Together

In 2012, the United States spent more on immigration enforcement than on all areas of law enforcement combined. The United States government spent $18 billion on immigration enforcement and it spent a total of $14.4 billion on the rest of federal law enforcement including the FBI, the Secret Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and the Drug Enforcement Agency. This massive influx of money into immigration enforcement has helped to secure the border. 

Over The Past Four Years The Obama Administration Has Deported More Immigrants Than Any Other President In History

The other secret that no politician is talking about is that the Obama Administration has deported more documented and undocumented immigrants than any other modern president. As of July 2012, Obama deported 1.4 million documented and undocumented immigrants since the beginning of his administration in 2009. 

According to official numbers from the Department of Homeland Security, Obama has deported 1.5 times more immigrants every month on average than Bush deported.

To put these numbers in an even larger context, between 1892 and 1997 a total of 2.1 million people were deported from the United States. In 2012, more than 400,000 people were deported. If future policy goes according to this trend, by 2014, President Obama will have deported more than 2 million people. In other words, more people will have been deported from 2009 through 2014 than all of the people deported prior to 1997 combined. President Obama has been “stronger” on illegal immigration than any other modern president.

There Has Been A Decrease In Violent Crime And In Arrests Along The Border

Recently, the Department of Homeland Security has recorded a decrease in violent crime along the border. The Department of Homeland Security statistics show a decrease in violent crime and in arrests along the Mexican-American Border. 

Most Of The People Arrested On Federal Terrorism Charges Are U.S. Citizens—Usually Entering The United States At An Airport

According to a recent study at the University of Maryland, most of the people indicted on federal terrorism charges were U.S. citizens and these people usually entered the United States at airports from countries through out the world.

Roughly 40 Percent Of Undocumented Immigrants Entered The United States Legally

According to the popular website PolitiFact roughly 40 percent of the undocumented immigrant population in the United States originally entered the United States legally and then stayed beyond the terms of their original visa.

Should the United States be tracking every person who enters the country?  Should we be monitoring their movements and arrest all those who overstay their visa? If a person enters the United States on a non-work visa and starts working, should the U.S. government track this person down and deport him or her?

How do we determine that the border is secure and who should make this decision? According to some, the Senate Plan calls for a commission of border state governors and other officials make this decision?

The Democrats are trying to ensure that this Commission makes recommendations that Congress then weighs. How do we keep the border safe and secure? Do we militarize the border? 

Despite all of the noise out there; is it actually possible that the border is secure?

Next Post:  The Senate’s Immigration Plan

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Philip S Levine February 05, 2013 at 05:25 PM
I find it VERY strange that most folks do not think about the border to our north - Canada! While overall I have few fears about our Candian or Mexican brothers and sisters if I was a "really bad guy" wouldn't it make more sense to sneak into the US through some obscure field in North Dakota or Washington? No i doubt if our Canadian Border is secure -remember how much bigger it is than Mexico too!
Vanessa Castañeda (Editor) February 05, 2013 at 06:06 PM
@Philip No one cares if Canadians come into the states, because they aren't a visibly different archetype. They're often characterized as weak and laughable in American media, which alters public perception. (Think Robin on How I Met Your Mother, or Will Arnett in 30 Rock, or the flappy headed Canadians on South Park.)
John Webb February 05, 2013 at 09:24 PM
In 2012 there were 46,997 OTM's (other than Mexican's) arrested entering the U.S. from Mexico. These people were from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Phillipines, Somalia, Tunisia, Syria, Uzbekistan, Jordan and Indonesia. There are verified reports of prayer rugs and copies of the Koran being found in the desert between Mexico and Arizona. This is not a U.S. versus the poor immigrant problem, this is a National Security Issue. Your article is correct so far as it goes, but there is more to it and the answers are not easy.
JustUs February 05, 2013 at 09:51 PM
Merle, first of all it would be nice for you to respond when some of us challenge your claims. Let's make this a dialog so that we can try to sort these facts and figures out, ok? If the number of illegals is decreasing why is it costing us more and more to take care of them? The dollar figure has gone up considerably over the last 5 years to over $20B a year just in California for education, health care, welfare and incarcerations (justice system), according to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which acquired all it's figures from the Federal and State governments. If fewer illegals were here it would stand to reason we would pay LESS, not MORE. Why would illegals return to Mexico when they would be used as slave labor and make a pittance compared to what they're paid in the US? Makes no sense. The percent of illegals in our state prisons has not decreased. It has remained stable at about 25-30%. The number of illegals with ITIN numbers collecting child tax credits has shot to the moon! The Inspector General of the US Treasury Dept said that in 2010 we paid $4.2B to ITIN number holders in child tax credits - and said that the large majority of those were illegal foriegners inside our country. 60 Minutes did a story on this. Didn't you see it. If illegals are leaving, why are we paying more and more to ITIN number holders? Those are some questions to start with. I have more too. Please respond. Thank you!
John Ivanich February 06, 2013 at 02:33 AM
Vanessa - its not how they look, it's how they behave.
Vanessa Castañeda (Editor) February 06, 2013 at 05:46 PM
@John Ivanich Can you be more specific?
Jim C February 06, 2013 at 06:02 PM
I agree. ALL borders and port of entries should be more secure. In the meantime, let's get the illegal immigrants that are here to self-deport by denying them education for their children, healthcare (other than immunizations that will keep the rest of us safe) and employment (let's start fining and jailing people who hire illegals!!!!).
Pink Floyd February 06, 2013 at 08:20 PM
Aye-oh, that border in Mexico is not secure, and those numbers from 2011 are false because it just means no one got caught. Ha ha, visibly different, I could tell you that one one wants to stay in Mexico because it's so messed up and there is no Mexican dream. If there was its probably a drug smuggler. The borders are not secure and it's true just because you're taken as funny and not obvious, doesn't mean you should be accepted more than Mexicans. I see a bunch of European girls who are always like Yaa, so that means the oceans and ship vessels aren't secure, and Asians too, this goes for every one especially if you have a stinky beard and sandles, I'm tired of people making easy and not me, get off the roads and go back!
Mike F February 09, 2013 at 01:20 AM
The problem is not our neighbors coming to the United States, whether Canadian or Mexican. The problem is that the big government boys and girls want their drugs.
None February 09, 2013 at 03:45 AM
I still fail to understand what is so noble, so righteous and so correct and acceptable about people entering a country, any country illegally. We have a system where people can come to this country legally, a system spelled out in our present law that allows immigration to be accomplished legally. It starts with this country setting the number of people we want to enter “Our” country. Why even discuss an alternative or amnesty? If someone is here illegally, when found, they should be deported immediately. Recently, a company in the South Bay Area brought a number of welders into this country from Mexico with the notion that they would accomplish a welding task and then be compensated in Pesos in lieu of dollars, “work that we don’t want to do.” The company, its officers and its owners should be held responsible for breaking the law and pay a fine and perhaps do some time. The welders should be returned to the place whence they came and that should be the end of it. Why do we have to compete with people right here in California where they are compensated in pesos and there is so much unemployment here, there are people who would do the task.
haveapizza February 09, 2013 at 05:39 PM
Richard, well said, although t would not shock me if the company was having trouble finding welders. The other aspect of "comprehensive immigration reform" that is not discussed is, what skills do the intended illegal residents offer, that make them valuable to our society. We have brought in, I dont know 10,0000,00-15,000,000 people, mainly from Mexico and most with little to no skills or education. Any nation requires new immigrants to have tangible skills the country needs, in order to emigrate. I know. I had to have them when I immigrated LEGALLY to this country and pay the thousands of dollars to get legal status. I am resentful of the millions of mainly Mexican nationals, who decided to come here, ahead of everyone else.....just because....What do they offer? Why is the discussion ONLY what this nation can offer them? Its upside down thinking. Since I see that direction of this country, I will be moving back to my country of origin in 3 years...less if I can manage it. Just try emigrating there from the US. See what you have to provide. And see what happens to you if you emigrate illegally.
Mike F February 10, 2013 at 01:53 AM
For California state government and federal government bosses, they decide what laws to enforce or not enforce and even what non-legal rules to enforce. Border entry is only being superficially "enforced" whether at the border with another country, at a port or airport of entry, or at the workplace. The big government boys and girls use immigration propaganga as a cover for smuggling contraband.
None February 10, 2013 at 03:58 AM
I still have not seen or read the definition of the current statement being used by the media and by our enlightened “Elected Representatives,” What is “Comprehensive Immigration Reform?” What is there to reform? I understand that we determine how many people from what countries enter our country each year. Anyone not abiding by the law is a criminal. What is so difficult about that? What do we have to reform and why? Why does one individual who follows the law have to wait while another breaks the law and is offered amnesty? I guess I just don’t understand the situation.
Pink Floyde February 10, 2013 at 06:00 AM
Mike F. Your words are spoken like a true dreamer - one who wishes the government was buying drugs, as if you know big shot. Please, blow the whistle, tell show it all is chatterbox
JustUs February 13, 2013 at 09:58 PM
Even the Border Patrol (BP) agents themselves complain that their hands are tied and that the border is not secure. A couple years ago the BP union representatives (on behalf of the agents) voted OVERWHELMINGLY 'NO CONFIDENCE' in both the President of the United State's administration and in the BP executive management with regard to maintaining the security of the American international borders. If you can't find the article about that, I would be happy to link it for you. So if the BP agents vote "NO CONFIDENCE" in both their own leadership and in the leadership of the nation with regard to border security, who would you believe? Them or a blogger?
JustUs February 13, 2013 at 10:19 PM
Just so you know, here is the Border Patrol agent UNANIMOUS 'NO CONFIDENCE' vote report in 2010 - only 2 years ago: "The unanimous “no confidence vote” from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) rank-and-file union came about because management is abandoning its mission of protecting the public in order to support a political agenda including amnesty unnerves ICE agents." "The resolution implied that ICE management had "abandoned the agency's core mission of enforcing U.S. immigration laws and providing for public safety," the voting body thought they (ICE leadership) were more likely "to campaign for programs and policies related to amnesty and the creation of a special detention system for foreign nationals that exceeds the care and services provided to most U.S. citizens similarly incarcerated.” http://www.examiner.com/article/no-confidence-votes-become-a-pattern-at-ice-and-border-patrol Any comment, Merle? Or are you going to pass on this one too?
None February 14, 2013 at 02:28 AM
I have found that there are several good comments here on this blog, and I believe that there is a lot of real interest in this subject. Why do so many good questions, questions that I really believe really bring out the real points in this issue are never responded to? I still ask, what does “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” really mean? What, other than the enforcement of our existing laws by “Our Government” is broken? When does something diametrically opposed to our existing law become “OK,” and when does the violation of our laws become an issue that requires an amnesty as its only cure?
JustUs February 14, 2013 at 02:55 AM
" I still ask, what does “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” really mean?" Richard, basically it means that they (our leaders) are bringing in a bunch of indigent and illiterate people from Mexico (and other poor nation) that you must pay for to appease those other countries and to relieve them of their responsibility to take care of their own people. So we do it for them. And, in return, those nations fill the politician's pockets with lots of money. If you really want to cut through all the non-sense, that is what it means. No immigration attorney will tell you that though. But I will.
Wire February 14, 2013 at 03:27 AM
Sheriff Dever said that a Border Patrol supervisor informed him that the agency was ordered to keep the number of arrests down during specific reporting periods. "The senior supervisor agent is telling me about how their mission is now to scare people back. He said, 'I had to go back to my guys and tell them not to catch anybody, that their job is to chase people away. … They were not to catch anyone, arrest anyone. Their job was to set up posture, to intimidate people, to get them to go back,'" Dever said. The following month, Dever told the Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security that the Border Patrol's new policy of giving a warning to illegal crossers rather than taking them into custody, known as "Turn Back South" was not only being practiced near the border, but far north of it as well. Dever reported: "It appears, according to numerous reports from current and former border agents, that this practice has gravitated many miles north of the border. That means that, regardless of proximity to the border, people who are detected but not caught are considered to be 'Turned Back South.'" The testimony was in direct conflict with the Obama administration's public assertions on border security.
JustUs February 14, 2013 at 03:31 AM
But that is the problem and the way that the American people are being played for fools, Wire. As soon as 11M-25M (nobody really knows the number) of illegals are given LEGAL residence and the right to work in America (amnesty) a new group of illegals will break into the country and undercut the wages of the illegals who were just granted a 'path to citizenship'. And the new 'path to citizenship' residents will all go on public assistance since the new wave of illegals just took their old jobs. It's a vicious cycle. We saw what happened after Reagan gave 1M illegals the right to legal residence and eventual citizenship. The border remained open and millions more of illegals entered the country. It's a scam, Wire. The American people are being scammed by the World Government. They are doing to us what they did to the West Germans when they united West and East Germany. But those were Germans helping Germans. In our case it is Americans helping 3rd world indigents that their countries of origin want nothing to do with. And it's all about big money for the American politicians who promote it.
JustUs February 14, 2013 at 03:39 AM
"The testimony was in direct conflict with the Obama administration's public assertions on border security." Why would that surprise anybody with a brain? Do you have any idea how many times the POTUS has blatantly lied to the American public in the last 4 years? Are you familiar with 'Fast and Furious'? Read the article linked above on the UNANIMOUS "NO CONFIDENCE" vote by the Border Patrol agents of their executives and the Obama adminstration relative to border security. Its the BP agents who work the border. They are at ground zero. They know it's an open border. That's the reason for the NO CONFIDENCE vote. This is not brain science. All the garbage you read about the border being secure is PROPOGANDA. Let's all grow up and face the TRUTH!!!

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