Town Hall Meeting
Douglas, Arizona -- July 9, 2010 -- Douglas Visitor Center
Rep. Gabriel Giffords, D- AZ, Rep. Bennie Thompson, Chairman, House Homeland Security Committee, U.S. Border Patrol Tucson Sector Chief Victor Manjarrez Jr.
Thank you for being here. It’s been a long time, and we are delighted that we have such important people in our midst.
As I said earlier, my name is Glenn Spencer, I live on a ranch, near Bill (pointing at Bill Odle seated in front of him). What are we, about two miles apart Bill? (Bill says yes.)
I live two miles to the west of Bill, but I have an entirely different experience. He has a short, little fence on the border. For a long time after he had his fence, my property was wide open. I also look right into Mexico. It was the Wild West. They almost killed one of my guys – the drug loads were coming trough – we have one road – we had a city bus parked on it to block the loads from coming through. It was the Wild West.
After they put in a really good fence – 18-foot-high, steel-beamed fence – I’m in a gated community. I feel safe. Bill has a different experience. That’s a cheap little fence, you can cut right through it - you can go right over it. (Bill says, “It’s not cheap.”)
The five-mile fence where I live – boy nobody has come over it.
But I also mentioned that I also run a little non-profit called American Border Patrol. The eight years we’ve been here applying technology to the border problem. I won’t give you a commercial on what we’ve done over the years, it’s online, but I will say this. I come from two different worlds. I spent a number of years in Washington, D.C. in think-tank. I was one of the Beltway Bandits years ago. I was an Operations Research specialist in manpower analysis – similar to the problems we have along the border with Border Patrol manpower.
And I also now that the Government Accountability Office – Richard Stanna – I’ve followed him very carefully - has said that one of the reasons that border systems have failed is that they failed to do a cost-benefit analysis. And what benefit means, is what is the Border Patrol doing?
And I’m going to jump to this very quickly.
Everybody talks about border security, but nobody defines what it is. When will we know when it’s there? When will we know when it is realized – because nobody has defined it. I have defined it as the Eisenhower experience. When no more than 20,000 people get past the Border Patrol each year and get into the United States – it’s secure.
I also have suggested a way of determining if that’s happening. And my non-profit has raised sufficient money to start testing a system – that is passive – that will actually count people who cross the border. We’ve started it already. We’ve raised quite a bit of money to do it.
So we think a good step – with all that money that is going into buy all these things and we don’t know what they’re going to do and how well they’re working – somehow there should be built into the system in there to evaluate how well these things are working and where the border is secure and where it isn’t – so we know if our investments are paying off. As a taxpayer, I’d like to see that done. And I’d love to come back to Washington to explain my experience and how I think it could be done.
I think a border evaluation system, not necessarily tied to enforcement – an accounting system – a data acquisition system that tells us when we have arrived. And think that’s the only important suggestion that I can make. I do have a package over here that includes the other things that we have learned and I hope you take a look at it.