Marc R. Rosenblum
Specialist in Immigration Policy
This hearing raises an important question for Members of Congress concerned about border security: What would a secure border look like? The United States spends billions of dollars and expends extraordinary effort to secure the border; and the Department of Homeland Security collects tables full of enforcement data. Yet after years of grappling with this question, no consensus exists about how to measure border security or how to evaluate existing enforcement efforts. Thus, while the White House asserts that our borders today “are more secure that at any time in the past several decades,”1 Chairman Miller and others have warned against “accepting empty promises on border security,” and asked “how the American people can be assured that the border is truly secure?”2
My testimony begins by describing how to measure border security and identifies several concrete steps that could be taken to develop better border metrics. The second part of my testimony reviews recent border security and immigration enforcement efforts and identifies possible gaps in these efforts. I conclude by offering a tentative assessment of the current state of border security.
Date of Report: February 26, 2013
Number of Pages: 20
Order Number: T-022613
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