Along the U.S. border with Mexico, the number of people stopped while crossing the border illegally has decreased, and there are more “boots on the ground” along the border than ever before in the nation’s history. Net undocumented migration is at or below zero, while annual deportations are at a historic high.
But that is not enough for Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who said after November’s election that “[t]he border was never secured.” Instead of looking to these the statistics, she said the border is secure only when people who live on the border think it is secure:
On Monday, pushed for what she would consider secure, Brewer said a starting point would be to make the entire border as secure as the Yuma sector.
The Yuma sector, which covers about 126 miles from the west end of Pima County to the Imperial Sand Dunes in California, had about 5,800 apprehensions in a 10-month period ending last July 31. By comparison, the 262-mile Tucson sector, which covers the balance of Arizona had more than 105,000.
“I think that would be a goal,” Brewer said Monday. But the governor said the real test is whether those along the border feel secure.
“We can talk to the people that are affected personally by the border,” she said. “And when they say that border is secure, then I think that we can rest peacefully.”
The problem with Brewer’s idea is that more resources than ever are already available for border security. The U.S. spent $18 billion on immigration enforcement in the 2012 fiscal year, which is more than every other federal law enforcement agency combined, according to a new report from the Migration Policy Institute. Instead of continuing to toss more money at border security, the U.S. needs a permanent fix to the nation’s immigration system, including a pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living here.