The House Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security held a hearing Wednesday titled “Measuring Outcomes to Understand the State of Border Security.” While most can agree that securing the border is an essential part of immigration reform, what came from the hearing was the realization that no one in Washington is actually tracking the security of our borders.
The Washington Examiner’s Byron York explains (emphasis mine):
…For years, the government estimated the number of miles of the border that were under “operational control” and came up with various ways to define what that meant.
Then the Department of Homeland Security threw out the concept of operational control, which Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano called “archaic.” The administration promised to create something called the Border Condition Index, or BCI, which would be a “holistic,” and a far better measure of border security.
Time passed, with no BCI. “Nearly three years later, the department has not produced this measure, so at this hearing, we will be asking for a status of the BCI, what measures it will take into account and when it might be ready,” subcommittee Chairwoman Rep. Candice Miller, a Republican, said before Wednesday’s testimony. Getting BCI up and running is particularly important now, Miller added, because comprehensive immigration reform cannot happen without a reliable way to assess border security.
So imagine everyone’s surprise when Mark Borkowski, a top Homeland Security technology official, told Miller that not only was BCI not ready, but that it won’t measure border security and was never meant to.
“I don’t believe that we intend, at least at this point, that the BCI would be a tool for the measurement that you’re suggesting,” Borkowski told Miller. “The BCI is part of a set of information that advises us on where we are and, most importantly, what the trends are … It is not our intent, at least not immediately, that it would be the measure you are talking about.”
Perhaps a prerequisite to comprehensive immigration reform, the House should pressure Obama and the Department of Homeland Security to do what they promised four years ago. After all, until you know the scope of the problem, how can you successfully implement a plan to deal with it?
See video of the exchange below: