On Monday, Secretary of Homeland (In)Security Janet Napolitano released a budget statement that says her department will not put another mile of the U.S. border under "effective control" in either fiscal year 2011 or 2012. Do you feel safer? According to Napolitano, the Border Patrol currently has 1,007 miles of the U.S. border under "effective control," defined as "when the appropriate mix of personnel, equipment, technology, and tactical infrastructure has been deployed to reasonably ensure that when an attempted illegal entry is detected, the Border Patrol has the ability to identify, classify, and respond to bring the attempted illegal entry to a satisfactory law enforcement resolution." That's a definition only a bureaucrat could love.
The entire U.S. border runs about 8,607 miles and includes 1,994 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, about 4,000 miles between the U.S. and Canada, the Gulf of Mexico coastline, plus the coastlines of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. If only 1,007 of those 8,607 miles are under "effective control," that leaves a staggering 7,600 miles — nearly 90 percent — that are under "effective non-control," or what we like to call "totally open."
The massive, forest-clearing 3,311-page document released by Napolitano, entitled Congressional Budget Justification: FY 2012, also says that the DHS does not intend to hire any more border agents, nor will the department deploy more border agents in fiscal year 2012 to either the Mexican or Canadian borders. At this point, it's fair to ask some questions: Didn't Secretary Napolitano recently say that the U.S. border was already secure? And if it isn't secure, shouldn't DHS be securing it? And if DHS won't secure the border, what exactly is DHS's function, anyway? Apparently, they think it's erroneously shutting down 84,000 websites for child pornography. Priorities.
Given the murder this week of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent and the shooting of a second, we would suggest that Napolitano re-evaluate the definition of "effective control."