Past Features

October 26, 2017

The Operational Control
Border Metric Issue

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Dan Cadman -- CIS -- October 24, 2017
McCaul's Myopic Border Bill Revisited
    On August 21, the Center published a blog I wrote about H.R. 3548, the "Border Security for America Act of 2017", introduced by House Homeland Security Committee Chair Michael McCaul (R-Texas). The title of my blog post was "A Myopic Border Security Bill", and it laid out in some detail my views of the bill's many shortcomings.
    Spoiler alert: I found nothing redeeming in the changes to make the revised bill worth sending to the president, because it is not only inherently flawed, but singularly lopsided in that it addresses only immediate border concerns whereas, of course, the vast majority of the 11 or 12 million aliens living and working illegally in the United States are in the interior --- not in regions directly proximate to the border.

Glenn Spencer -- October 26, 2017
McCaul -- the Artful Dodger
   In its summary of the Border Security for America Act of 2017, the Center for Immigration Studies did its usual excellent job --- with one major exception --- it failed to notice that the bill contains no provision to require DHS to measure success.
    The Border Security for America Act of 2017 incorporates the definition of operational control contained it the Secure Fence Act of 2006 - the prevention of all unlawful entries - and establishes requirements to report success in achieving it --- but does not provide a means to measure it.
    Such a method was almost addressed in Chairman McCaul's Border Security Results Act of 2013:
"Directs the Secretary to implement specified metrics, informed by situational awareness, to measure the effectiveness of security: (1) between ports of entry, including an illegal border crossing effectiveness rate, an illicit drugs seizure rate, a cocaine seizure effectiveness rate, and estimates of total attempted illegal border crossings and of the impact of the Border Patrol's Consequence Delivery System on the rate of recidivism;"
    It is very difficult to define situational awareness, much less measure it by the use of a metric. Operational control is easily defined, however the Border Security Results Act of 2013 made no mention of such a metric.
    A search for the term “metric” in HR 3548 --- Border Security for America Act of 2017 --- found it being used to measure rates of pay and a biometric exit data system. One reference is found in a section dealing with the border, but that refers to a metric that relies on indirect measures of border crossings found in the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2017.
    House Homeland Security Chairman McCaul leaves little doubt that he is not interested in using a reliable metric to measure the degree of success of border security --- the prevention of all unlawful entries --- and neither is Chairwoman of his Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee --- Martha McSally.
    Chairman McCaul has once again artfully dodged the operational control border metric issue.