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Congressman Questions How Many Illegal Migrants Enter US


Aired 3/22/12

Border Patrol Data Questioned

A Republican Congressman is challenging the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on its reporting of illegal migrants crossing into the U.S. through the Mexican border. For the past two years, officials have said that illegal crossings into the U.S. are down.

But now the department is accused of not fully reporting the number of people who cross the border successfully.

The U.S. Border Patrol regularly releases its number of how many illegal migrants are apprehended at the border. They also have a way of tracking the people who cross the border illegally and get away. Agents count the number of footprints or signs of people who slipped past them. That number is used internally by the Border Patrol to come up with rough estimates of how many illegal migrants made it in.


Read Issa's Letter To DHS

Read Issa's Letter To DHS

Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Vista) letter to DHS questioning the agency's statistics.

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Read The DHS Response To Issa

Read The DHS Response To Issa

Read the U.S. Border Patrol response to Issa's accusations.

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But Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Vista) says he has data from within homeland security that shows that in the past year, the agency hasn’t counted everybody who got away.

In a letter sent to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano on March 1, Issa says he analyzed a series of Border Patrol shift reports over a one-week period in Casa Grande, Arizona. Those reports showed 82 people who crossed illegally and were never caught, but were also never counted as so-called “got aways.”

DHS officials deny the accusation.

"The allegation that we’re misrepesenting the data for whatever reason is just patently false at this point,” said Michael Fisher, head of the Border Patrol.

Fisher says he went out to that particular station and found that agents chased and counted “got aways” as a matter of policy.

Issa wrote that if 82 got away in Casa Grande, then multiplied out over a year and across the whole border, he estimates more than a quarter million people crossed into the U.S. and blended into society.

Shawn Moran, a spokesman for the National Border Patrol Council, says this undercounting is nothing new. Agency officials at local levels have manipulated the numbers in the past.

“We have managers that have ordered sensors that we have in the ground turned off in areas that we know illegal aliens are using to get into the country,” Moran said.

Border Patrol Chief Fisher says he has agreed to share agency information with Issa.

The last time Border Patrol data was investigated was in 1998. At that time, the Office of Inspector General concluded there were no attempts to mislead the public. But, it did discover inefficiencies in data collection and reporting.

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Avatar for user 'HarryStreet'

HarryStreet | March 23, 2012 at 8:04 a.m. ― 5 years ago

Too many people are entering the US in search of a better life and all I read is how we should make it easier for them to remain legally. I would like to see immigration reform, but not amnesty. People coming here illegally justify their actions because as the saying goes, 'this is the way it's always been.'

Certainly those who can prove they've built a decent life that can be judged in the way of becoming a part of the community, holding down a job or career, obeying our laws should be considered for legalization. But I know of illegal immigrants who disrupt neighborhoods, fall into a life of crime (whether by circumstance or choice), who should be booted out of the country.

I'd like to see a delegation head to Mexico and speak before Mexico's congress about how unjust their laws have been and viewed with disdain by their own people. You wonder why they're losing the drug war. It's because they (the people) see the government as corrupt and evil as the cartel, so why put your life on the line for another form of the devil.

Still, I wouldn't want to be the one to escort people back for coming here illegally. They are doing what any of us would be doing, which is find a decent place to live and work and raise a family. When I think of that I realize, yes, we should find a happy medium. But understand not everyone will get what they want. That is life after all.

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | March 23, 2012 at 11:44 a.m. ― 5 years ago

I'd like to see a delegation head to (Washington) and speak before [C]ongress about how unjust (our) laws have been and viewed with disdain by (our) own people. You wonder why (we're) losing the drug war.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | March 23, 2012 at 12:31 p.m. ― 5 years ago

Mr. Issa has been in congress a long time, including many years under the Bush Administration when Republicans controlled the executive and legislative branches of government and could have enacted comprehensive immigration reform if they were serious about it.

What has Mr. Issa in all his years representing California's 49th district done to curb illegal immigration?

**Not a damn thing**

This is yet another example of a political charlatan who themselves has no solutions and has done nothing trying to gain political points off of blaming others.

Issa is a con artist.

He served both state and federal prison time in the 70s for auto theft, and his entire career since then has been centered on playing dirty to build his own personal fortune to astronomical levels.

Mr. Issa is today one of the richest members of Congress, and unlike other members of Congress, Issa has refused to sideline his private businesses or put them in blind trusts while he serves in government.

He has left himself open to blatant bias, and has legislated on issues for he he personally profited.

Of course Republicans thought it was "ok" to place this criminal as head of the powerful oversight committee, so now Issa, as one of the most powerful members of Congress, is allowed to have his own personal dirty corruption ignored while he goes after our President and his administration.

Issa needs to be prosecuted and held accountable for his corruption in office.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | March 23, 2012 at 12:49 p.m. ― 5 years ago

DAVID65, point number one, one of the myths, by both restricitonists AND sympathizers, is that all undocumented people come to SETTLE PERMANENTLY. You forget that many come for seasonal work. Seasonal work means just that--SEASONAL. They save some money and RETURN home to a a larger city. They have no intention of settling in the US. UCSD's Wayne Cornelius has been documenting this since the 70s. Today, Princeton's Douglas Massey has made similar studies which arrive at the same conclusion. Do yourself a favor and familiarize yourself with their work. Of course, if there is a Great Wall of Amerika, will keep them here longer since repeated trips will have become all the more riskier.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | March 23, 2012 at 12:57 p.m. ― 5 years ago

Mr. Rooney, FYI I have "flagged" your comment as the spam that it is. The group you are promoting is nothing but a neo-Malthusian Nativist webiste, masquerading as being nonpartisan.

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Avatar for user 'HarryStreet'

HarryStreet | March 29, 2012 at 9:20 a.m. ― 4 years, 12 months ago

I can't believe the naivete from some commenters here.

We have 12 million and counting illegal immigrants entering America in violation of the law. Yes, entering America illegally means you're breaking the law. Most of those have NO intention of returning to Mexico because they have eyes same as we do and want to escape the poverty of their nation.

No one can blame them.

But the money they send back hasn't changed a thing. I've been hearing this for decades, how the money they send to their native countries improves their lives, when in fact in only allows a peaceful coexistance with the status quo.

The change their native countries need can only come from within and so long as we are used as a relief valve their people will gladly forgo the attempt of improving their nation.

If we allow things to remain all we'll see are more people entering illegally and governments in Third World nations getting off the hook.

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Avatar for user 'HarryStreet'

HarryStreet | March 31, 2012 at 9:20 a.m. ― 4 years, 11 months ago

Missionaccomplished-You are very self-centered and naive. To sit at home thinking people have no intention of settling here permanently and only want to send money home to their families. What people want in Mexico is same as we want here. They want a better life and know they can't get it in Mexico. After spending years in America they are not going to want to go back to a culture and lifestyle where one cannot find the opportunities they wish to have.

Our argument for those wanting amnesty in the words of immigration reform is to take your case to the nations you come from and demand they improve how they govern. Only in this way will your country improve.

I've been hearing since I was a kid how the money illegal immigrants send back to their countries help families and friends. It's more like maintaining the status quo where people live meagerly hand to mouth.

Missionaccomplish must visit beach resorts because the Mexico I've seen and visited don't have the luxury of enjoying a lifestyle like yours.

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Avatar for user 'TJworker'

TJworker | April 2, 2012 at 1:26 p.m. ― 4 years, 11 months ago

Where ever you may come down on the issue one must be aware of the complete lack of competence of the folks watching our border. To think they have some idea how many people sneak into the US everyday is crazy.

I have a running experiment on the ability of the CPB to gather accurate information.

I look at the website where they publish how long the border lines are. Then I go wait in those lines and record how long it actually takes to get accross the border. It is regularly twice as long as the CPB estimates. Many times it is 4 to 5 times as long as the website says. (I also check the site every hour I'm in line to see if the estimate has changed. It rarely gets more accurate as I wait.)

I wonder how far off our friends watching the fence are in estimating the sneaky bad guys coming across, if they have no idea how to gather information no one is trying to hide.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | April 2, 2012 at 3:21 p.m. ― 4 years, 11 months ago

Illegal migrants? Illegal immigrants.

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Avatar for user 'Roberto Rolando Salinas'

Roberto Rolando Salinas | May 8, 2012 at 4:21 p.m. ― 4 years, 10 months ago

You won't hear Issa talking about the real issues of illegal immigration. Issa only talks about the public issues, not about the real Republican strategy. Minute irrelevant side issues, used to avoid talking about the source of the relevant issue.
Real issues like NAFTA, that has displaced millions of workers in Mexico, Central, and South America for the economic benefit of US corporations that pay little or no tax and pay slave labor prices for their nearly finished products. Not to mention the displacement of millions of US workers who use to make the products. How about the CIA and US military intervention in the Americas where millions have been displaced, 4.1-million in Colombia alone, one of the largest number of refugees in the world. CIA and US military intervention to protect American oil pipelines and refineries on tribal ancestral lands stolen from the indigenous Colombians. Countless CIA and military overthrows of democratically elected governments and hundreds of thousands of innocent people mass murdered since before the turn of the century. Continuing turmoil supported and aided by the US to perpetuate an endless cycle of military destabilization. An intervention that always favors the economic elite and right wing that support death squads. Beginning with the invasion of Mexico, and the Fascist, Racist mentality of " Manifest Destiny". Puerto Rico, Guatemala 1954, Cuba 1959 to the present, Brazil 1964, Chile 1973, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua 1980's, Grenada, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, and Panama just to mention some of the obvious ones. It is the same old tired, true and proven rhetoric, we create a refugee problem in the hemisphere then we blame the refugees for seeking refuge. Mass arrest of Mexicans or those looking like them, anti-Latino legislation in 14-states. And you think we have an illegal immigration problem, tell that to the First People, the indigenous Americans, I'm sure they would agree with you.

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