February 23, 2011   Current Site Visitors -> web tracker

The Denominator to the Rescue
Congress should demand real border performance measures
Glenn Spencer -- American Border Patrol -- February 23   
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    Democrats are criticizing Republicans for reducing funding for border security.
    A House bill would cut the Border Patrol by 870 agents and cut $272 million in funds for surveillance systems.
    Such cuts in the face of public support for increased border security seem counter-intuitive, but they are not. Much of the money spent on border security is wasted by a DHS that is not interested in securing the border. At the heart of the matter is how we score border security. No business can survive without accounting, and neither can the border security effort.
    Billions of dollars have been wasted because administrations, both Democrats and Republicans, have refused to define border security. At a recent congressional hearing, Richard Stana, the point man for border security at the Government Accountability Office, said using the number of apprehensions as a measure of success without knowing how many people crossed the border illegally is meaningless. "You have to have the numerator and denominator to judge success," Stana said.
    The percent of apprehensions is total apprehensions divided by the number of illegal entries times 100, or P = (A/E)*100. If BP apprehends 500,000, but 1.5 million cross, the rate would be (500,000/1,500,000) X 100, or 33%.
    The problem is that we have the number we apprehend, the numerator, but we don't have the number who crossed illegally, the denominator. Congress should demand that DHS come up with the denominator before it spends any more money on border security.

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