Border chief claims captures up 50%

The Washington Examiner — The chief of the U.S. Border Patrol on Tuesday estimated that his agency is capturing “78 percent to 79 percent” of all illegals entering into the United States, an unusually high rate immediately called into question when he couldn’t say exactly how many try to cross.

That is more than 50 percent over than prior estimates.

“This is not a science,” conceded Chief Michael Fisher at the end of morning conference at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “It’s an art.”

After Fisher and Assistant Chief Robert Schroeder, author of three papers on the new border strategy, explained the new approach the agency has to guarding the border and capturing illegals, Fisher said that the agency has become very good at estimating the numbers of illegal immigrants crossing the border.

But he said that it is not a perfect count, and that there is no magic “dust” to track every illegal.

“I will always stop short of saying this is the number, that it is right. This is ‘a’ number, and we believe, we have some processes in place that inform us better than last year,” he said of the estimates of crossings. “But if somebody says that I need you guarantee that denominator I can’t do that.”

Fisher was then asked to give his best range of captures.

“On average it’s about 78-79 percent at this point,” he said. “And that’s 95 percent confidence and a variable of about 2 percent. I’m guessing.”

Previous reports put the capture rate around 50 percent. The agency has a goal of capturing 90 percent of illegal crossings.

Fisher also addressed the summer surge of unaccompanied minors and said that his agency has been on special alert for others mixed in with the kids.

However, he said that the agency has no evidence that terrorists are trying to sneak in with the minors.