July 25, 2013

How effective is border security? Shhhhh ... It's a federal secret.

Mickey Kaus points out this Arizona Republic article on how the Obama Administration refuses to release vast piles of statistics on border security:
As Congress weighs whether to pin immigration reform on reaching a threshold of border security, the measure most often cited would call on the Department of Homeland Security to stop 90 percent of illegal border crossings. Doing that means figuring out how to persuade people like Flores not to try again and stopping others headed for el norte from slipping over the border. 
That, in turn, hinges on solid answers to such questions as: How many people actually get through? Where do they get across? When they’re caught, do they give up or keep trying until they make it? 
Homeland Security officials don’t fully know the answers to those questions. And the reason, say leading migration researchers, is that DHS officials don’t want to know, and don’t want the public to know, either. 
“There is zero interest in that kind of analysis among DHS’ leadership,” said economist Bryan Roberts, who served as the agency’s assistant director of the Office of Program Analysis and Evaluation until 2010. “There was no interest when I was there, and there still isn’t any.” ...
Roberts and several other researchers said that the DHS doesn’t have the answers because it doesn’t jointly analyze data from the Border Patrol, which works between ports of entry; Customs and Border Protection, which works at ports of entry; and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, which works across the interior of the country. 
Not looking at the big picture makes it harder for the DHS to figure out whether, say, to build more fences or focus on interior enforcement, the researchers said. And there’s little pressure on the DHS to work with outside experts or better analyze its data to figure out what has worked and what hasn’t. 
... The immigration bill passed last month by the Senate, now languishing as the House weighs its own measures, would evaluate border security using an “effectiveness rate” based on data that the DHS and its agencies won’t release to the public. The bill would provide more than $46 billion and nearly double the size of the Border Patrol by adding 19,200 agents along the Mexico border over the next eight years, to help the agency reach a 90 percent effectiveness rate. 
That rate is meant to show how effectively the Border Patrol prevents illegal crossings. To estimate the number of illegal crossings, the Border Patrol adds up three figures: apprehensions; “turn-backs” (people spotted starting to cross who turned back to avoid getting caught); and “got-aways” (people detected by agents or surveillance equipment but not caught). A 90 percent effectiveness rate means nine apprehensions and turn-backs for each got-away. 
The Border Patrol doesn’t release information on turn-backs or got-aways to the public, just apprehensions; and it admits that the effectiveness rate is a flawed yardstick. Among other gaps, it can’t account for crossers whom agents don’t see. And because the Border Patrol works between ports of entry, its rate doesn’t include those who cross illegally at ports of entry, either hidden in vehicles or using false documents. 
The Government Accountability Office, in a report last December, published previously unreleased data showing that the Border Patrol’s effectiveness rate for fiscal 2011 was 84 percent. By that yardstick, getting to 90 percent isn’t a huge stretch, noted former DHS official Roberts. 
The Border Patrol hasn’t released turn-back or got-away data for fiscal 2012, and hadn’t responded by deadline to The Republic’s request for that information.
Outside researchers say efforts to come up with a better approach to accounting for undocumented migration run smack into Homeland Security’s unwillingness to let academics analyze its data. 
Last year, for example, a panel of leading statisticians, economists and demographers at the National Academy of Sciences conducted a study on illegal immigration at the request of Homeland Security. But the DHS refused to provide the panel key apprehension data, such as coded fingerprint figures that would identify precise numbers of repeat crossers. The DHS had demanded that researchers promise not to disclose that data to the public. Panel members said keeping the information classified would impair the quality of their work; they declined, and didn’t get the data. 
That study, which included data from Mexican governmental sources and previous U.S. academic studies, suggested that about three-quarters of those who decide to cross keep trying until they make it. Other outside studies have found 85 or even 90 percent make it. 
“Almost everybody who really tries eventually gets in,” said Jeffrey Passel, a member of the panel and a senior demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan research organization in Washington, D.C., that studies the U.S. Hispanic population. 
The National Academy of Sciences study essentially was ignored in presentations that the DHS gave to the Senate earlier this year during the immigration-reform debate, said the study’s panel members. 
They said the DHS was not eager to draw attention to the study’s findings even though it paid for the report. “In a sense, it throws a monkey wrench into the discussions on immigration. I’m totally for immigration reform, but this report would make Republicans giddy and Democrats go, ‘Oh, crap,’ ” said Alicia Carriquiry, a professor of statistics at Iowa State University and a co-author of the study.

16 comments:

peterike said...

This is why when I hear statistics about the number of illegals in America I assume the reality is three or four times worse than stated, at least.

Anonymous said...

its not that they don't have some idea of whats under the rock, its just that they'd rather not turn it over.

Jack Hanson said...

The Border Patrol hasn't counted 'got aways' since 2009. The last time they tried amnesty, the Chief Patrol Agent of Tucson Sector fell on his sword when his boss, Chief of the Border Patrol David Aguilar, got caught falsifying stats in order to show what a 'great' job they were doing.

But yeah, gotaways don't exist anymore. This is how it works: a group of thirty crosses. five get caught, the rest scatter. any other group caught in the area over the next week or so is going to be counted as part of that original thirty, even if they're 20 or 30 miles away.

its a lot of numbers shuffling in order to get your SES, and its endemic among the higher ups.

Anonymous said...

More than 40% of all illegals in the US came here legally on a visa, then never left when the visa expired. For some reason this problem gets lost in discussions of how to stop illegals entering the country.

The 1996 immigration reform bill was supposed to include measures to track visa overstays and deport them. Naturally, those provisions were never properly funded or enforced. It's still very easy to come to the US on a valid visa and never leave.

Auntie Analogue said...


Nothing works so well as policy founded upon deliberate ignorance. What's that old chestnut about building upon a shoddy foundation?

Anonymous said...

It's weird to have a Dept. called "Homeland Security" that doesn't care about the border.

It would be very cheap and easy to deal with illegal immigration simply through applying exemplary punishments on employers of illegal workers.

Whiskey said...

No one really wants to STOP illegal entry into the United States. Not Congress, not any administration, not the media, and not the American people either. Because if they really, really wanted to stop it, they would. If nothing else a campaign of intimidation and more would stop it -- it has in the past for other things. Including Segregation (stopped/ended by violence and threat of even more violence) and various other social issues (Gay Marriage, etc.)

But the flip side is that if not very many people want to stop mass immigration into the US by illegal aliens, at least not very deeply and passionately (compare/contrast the passion and energy for Gay Marriage vs. anti-illegal immigration) ...

That is because most Americans figure being an American is worth approximately nothing. Taxes are paid only grudgingly. Most everyone figures its extortion by a parasitic elite not a duty to pay. Laws are abided hyper-legally, that is for the absolute letter (at not being caught) but not the spirit. The American people are not engaging in mass violence against Illegal Immigration (like say the Detroit 1943 and 1967 riots against Segregation and YT) because they have concluded America as anything worth fighting for has ceased to exist.

My guess is America probably died around 1990; at least in the hearts and minds of most Americans.

Anonymous said...

"They said the DHS was not eager to draw attention to the study’s findings even though it paid for the report. “In a sense, it throws a monkey wrench into the discussions on immigration. I’m totally for immigration reform, but this report would make Republicans giddy and Democrats go, ‘Oh, crap,’ ” said Alicia Carriquiry, a professor of statistics at Iowa State University and a co-author of the study.

I.e., these facts might be used by the Bad People so they must be suppressed. Who-whom 1, Academic integrity 0.

Anonymous said...

They said the DHS was not eager to draw attention to the study’s findings even though it paid for the report. “In a sense, it throws a monkey wrench into the discussions on immigration. I’m totally for immigration reform, but this report would make Republicans giddy and Democrats go, ‘Oh, crap,’ ” said Alicia Carriquiry, a professor of statistics at Iowa State University and a co-author of the study.



That reads like something you might find in The Onion. In todays America reality is far screwier than any attempt at humor.

Anonymous said...

My guess is America probably died around 1990; at least in the hearts and minds of most Americans.


And what has replaced it? Everyone for themselves?

Don't suppose it's a good idea right about now to say that before we pass this all important legislation we actually go ahead and first build the border fence across the TX, AZ, and NM borders and into CA as well. Dont suppose now would be a good time to bring that up, huh?

Wonder what the polls show on Americans being in favor of that? First build a border fence before actually passing this legislation?

Can't truly imagine that most Americans (specially those living in those states) are actually vs the fence being built. Would think they'd mostly support building it.

What would be the rationale of the elites vs the fence? I mean, what would be their public answer for mass consumption, one that they think could hookwink and hornswaggle the suckers?


Before they come, build it first. or is it...

If you build it, they can't easily come in

Prof. Woland said...

My wife is Russian and I have spent a lot of time traveling there so I am quite familiar with how an internal passport works. Our Government is as well. The reality is that the effectiveness of a border fence would be enhanced exponentially if we began using biometrics ID for work, travel, finance, etc. The reason illegals keep trying to cross the border even after they have been nabbed is that we don't use the data we collect from people who over stay their visas or people who cross illegally. If we did, the penalty for getting caught would deter a lot of would be crossers and it would make life shit for those who made it.

One time I overstayed my visa by a day. Big mistake. I was not able to board my plane and ended up staying for 24 hours in the same part of Sheremetyevo Airport where Snoden was in Limbo. The fine was only about $30 dollars but I was stuck until they renewed my visa. I could not rent a hotel, go to a bank, rent a car, or board a plane because the only ID they would accept was either an internal passport or a foreign passport with a current visa. I was lucky because I had a wad of $100 dollar bills in my right front pocket so I could have bought my way out of the mess but the poor bastards that don't have the means are fucked. Every hour a new group of travelers would amass by the gate on the either side of me waiting for their flights. The flights to central Asia were almost exclusively men who were in Russia to work, and like me they just wanted to get out. Once their visa expired there was no reason to stay even if they had wanted to.


Anonymous said...

http://buzzmachine.com/

Anonymous said...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/21/paris-riots-police-identity-check-muslim

whoopie

Mr. Anon said...

"Whiskey said...

If nothing else a campaign of intimidation and more would stop it -- it has in the past for other things. Including Segregation (stopped/ended by violence and threat of even more violence) and various other social issues (Gay Marriage, etc.)"

Hey, Wonder Boy, a majority of people DIDN'T want gay marriage. The minority that was receptive to the idea was cultivated and grown over the course of thirty years by a concerted, deliberate media campaign (i.e., propaganda). It was rammed down our throat - like nearly every other public policy these days - by a hostile elite.

Are you really as stupid and obtuse as you let on?

Anonymous said...

http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/smartnews/2012/07/science-proves-pop-music-has-actually-gotten-worse/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=4MVFAx-AX3c

Anonymous said...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/jul/28/edward-snowden-death-of-internet