January 11, 2013   Current Site Visitors -> web tracker

GAO Report Misleading
Watchdog group didn't question key number
Glenn Spencer -- American Border Patrol -- January 11   
How many do they miss?
    The recently released report by the Government Accountability Office dealing with U.S Border Patrol performance is misleading. While the body of the report properly faults the failure of the agency to establish performance metrics, the number that grabbed my attention was the percentage of illegal immigrants that it apprehends --- 61%. Sixty one percent of what?
    Recent studies have clearly demonstrated that the Border Patrol doesn't know how many people cross the border illegally.
    So how do they know what percentage of border crossers that they catch? They don't. They guess at that number --- and the GAO accepted that guess without question (Page 4, footnote 8 of the report).
    It seems strange that the GAO would accept the Border Patrol's estimate of total border crossers when in his Feb. 15, 2011 testimony before Congress, Richard Stana, then Director, Homeland Security and Justice Issues for the GAO, said: "But what you have here is a numerator here, you have the number of apprehensions, for example, but you don't know how many people might have been there to apprehend."
    Richard Stana has been replaced.
    During a Feb. 17, 2011 Senate Hearing, Arizona Senator John McCain said: "And, the estimates are, by any objective observer, that three times as many get through."
    So, according to Sen. McCain, USBP apprehends about 25%. --- but the GAO says it is more than 60%. The problem is that we don't know how many people cross the border illegally, and GAO should have said so.

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