North Korea doesn’t have a border problem. People may sneak out, but they don’t try to get in. We have the opposite problem, but a new Government Accountability Office report on technology for border surveillance shows it’s not the one we are solving. Using technology is a great idea, but we only need it because of the mistakes we’re making everywhere else.
New DHS report tells the story, but we won’t listen
Homeland Security released its year-end enforcement report on December 5, 2017. The conclusion depends on what you are trying to prove.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) trumpeted the agency’s successes at the Southwest Border as proof that the Trump administration is trying to “twist these numbers”1 and that “there is absolutely no need to waste billions of taxpayer dollars on an unnecessary border wall.”2
Except that Homeland Security also said this:
CBP continues to be concerned about steady increase in the flow of unaccompanied children and family units from Central America, as transnational criminal organizations continue to exploit legal and policy loopholes to help illegal aliens gain entry and facilitate their release into the interior of the country.3
We’ve heard the term “unaccompanied children” more than once over the past few years. They don’t come here because America is unfriendly. Neither do families or Mexican and Central American gangs. That’s a problem we create that all the technology in the world won’t solve.
Technology for border surveillance: wrong answer, right question
The Southwest Border is massive. Surveillance technology seems like the perfect solution to policing this endless expanse.
Since the expensive failure of the Southwest Border Initiative’s SBInet program, DHS has assembled an impressive array of surveillance technology including integrated fixed towers, ground and imaging sensors, mobile and remote surveillance, and thermal imaging devices.4
It all sounds very elaborate, but how effective are our investments? According to GAO Director of Homeland Security and Justice Issues Rebecca Gambler:
Since 2005, Border Patrol has spent more than one billion dollars deploying technologies to the southwest border, but is not yet positioned to fully quantify the impact these technologies have on its mission.5
Considering DHS’ concerns about growing gang activity and childhood arrivals, the question we never get an answer to has to be asked again and again: why do politicians force policies that beg people to do whatever it takes to come here while the government devotes taxpayer resources, manpower, and technology to keep them out?
Technology is a tool. Policy is the answer
Homeland Security is clear about what we should do:
We need to confront and address misguided policies and loopholes that only serve as a pull factor for illegal immigration.6
If this makes you think of sanctuary cities, DHS beat you to it:
Finally, we need to find a solution to the dangerous sanctuary city policies and the politicians who needlessly risk innocent lives to protect criminals who are illegally present in the United States.7
Technology for border surveillance will help with DHS interdictions and efforts to crack down on cross border drug trafficking, but if we want to keep people out we should turn America into North Korea for illegal immigrants. We don’t need elaborate electronic devices to stop people from coming to a country they don’t want to be in. That means no sanctuary policies, no free schooling, no medical care, no jobs, and no bipartisan effort to turn them into Americans because every press release and every word uttered on Capitol Hill in their defense tells them this is the place they should be.