Trip to border reveals border still wide open

Bob Casimiro, former executive director of Massachusetts Citizens for Immigration Reform, recently took a trip to the U.S.-Mexican border with the Arizona Border Defenders and Arizona Border Recon, groups of activist citizens who want to help secure the southern border by “augmenting what the Border Patrol does.” What Casimiro found is that, despite the best efforts of the Border Patrol, our southern border is still wide open:

So, how many get through? Chris Cabrera, vice president of National Border Patrol Council #3307, estimates in a recent video that only 30 percent of illegal aliens coming across the border are apprehended.

In the time I was there, I noted the whole array of devices used at the border: Border Patrol and Arizona National Guard helicopters, an inspection station on Highway 286, “virtual fence” towers with radar and cameras sweeping the horizon, Border Patrol trucks racing up and down Highway 286 from their base in Tucson, quads on trailers used to go in the desert where other vehicles can’t, drones, sensors.

I was thinking about all this on my last day as [Tim Foley, field operations director for Arizona Border Recon] and I stood beside the 13-foot fence separating the United States from Mexico.

I asked him, in exasperation: “Why the hell aren’t we stopping everyone coming across the border?”

His answer: “We are waging a war with a shift mentality.”

He was referring to the fact that the cartels operate 24/7 while the Border Patrol, with shift changes, have gaps in their coverage. Border Patrol agents are further hampered by the Obama administration’s “open border” policy, such as the acceptance of the tens of thousands of unaccompanied alien children last year; the suspension of the Secure Communities program in November 2014, the use of “prosecutorial discretion,” and the sharp decline in Interior Deportations from 236,000 in 2009 to 102,000 in 2014.

The drug cartels are well financed, crafty and “they have better intelligence,” according to Sgt. Randy Merrell of the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office in New Mexico.

Casimiro has taken seven trips to the border, including one in 2005 with the Minuteman Project. In those 10 years, Washington has done nothing to secure our border and provide the Border Patrol with the tools and training necessary to discourage illegal immigration. Will 2016 be the year that changes? We can only hope.