Legalized Serfdom

Note:  This April 2013 post refers to an early version of the “Gang of Eight” compromise which Marco Rubio

claimed would bar citizenship until the border reached what many believe is an  unattainable level of security.  

I am not only for amnesty, I am for an open border, with bars only against criminals and the violent.

The celebrated compromise Immigration Bill sells out Latino voters 90% of whom want a path to citizenship.  This bill effectively denies that and may as well be called the Legalized Serfdom Bill. We have tried guest worker programs before- the Bracero program in the 40s quickly devolved into system of second class people in the US who were systematically exploited and abused. (Southern Poverty Law center report-pdf).

Some argue that this bill is different because it opens a path to citizenship.  Is that a reasonable expectation? Look at the conditions for allowing citizenship to proceed. Only after border security is shown to be 90% effective at stopping illegal border crossings would citizenship status be possible.  Marco Rubio’s web site emphasizes how no one gets a green card- possibly for decades until certain Republican Conditions are met.  The important one is the 90% effectiveness because it is practically impossible to achieve.  As Rubio’s site puts it f it takes 20 years for any one of the triggers (including border protection to reaching 90% effectiveness), then it will be 20 years before any undocumented workers get a green card. (Rubio’s release on triggers)

So think about that.  Is the GOP going to be eager to speed up getting more Latinos able to vote knowing that they proportionately heavily favor Dems?  Of course not.   This means the GOP has only negative incentives to increase spending on border security to that 90% effectiveness rate.

Optimists say 90%  is no big deal because we are already there in one “high” risk sectors, and are close within others.

However, the Center for Investigative Journalism is reporting that this supposed effectiveness  is a mirage.  Their reporting suggests that drone technology is revealing that the Border Patrol is closer to only 10% effectiveness.  If they are correct, the 90% requirement will prevent a path to citizenship for decades- perhaps permanently blocking it.

It should be noted that it’s not 90% effectiveness along the entire 2000 mile border, but only in the as yet undefined “high risk sectors”. Optimists point to the Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) statistics that show that the high risk Arizona region (aka “Tuscon” sector) already has near 80% effectiveness. But look at their definition of effectiveness. Appendix V of the Dec 2012 GAO report on the Border Patrol’s strategic plan (GAO 13-25 PDF) defines the way this is measured. The BP measures three groups: 1) the turn-backs- those they detect approaching but decide not to cross 2) those apprehended 3) Those detected who crossed but got away. Group one and three are called “known” attempts at illegal entry because they have reasonable evidence they occurred. However, they aren’t certain of the exact numbers in the groups who are turn-backs or get-aways, so the figures given are given the seemingly contradictory name “estimated known illegal entries”.

What’s the problem with this? As overall summary of the GAO emphasizes, the CBP does not follow best practices on its data gathering.  Some in congress may blow off this complaint as unimportant, but it is not a nit complaint between bean counting technocrats.  Anyone who has run a small organization or business knows whats wrong with this.  Note that the operating groups are grading themselves, and if they happened to under report the number of “get-aways” this would tend to inflate the appearance of the group’s effectiveness.  So surprise surprise.  Guess what happens.

This charade is being blown open through the use of drones. According to CBP reports, they have achieved an 80% effectiveness rate in the the Arizona sector, reporting 60% were apprehensions (see figure 39 of gao report). However, according to this report from the Center for Investigative Journalism, Drones over Arizona detected 7,333 border crossings during a period the CBP reported 410 apprehensions. Using the CBP’s estimate of their effectiveness, those 410 should have represented 60% of the total, meaning that their expectation of the total number of attempts during this period would be 683. But it wasn’t. It was 7,333.

So the Border Patrol’s report card on itself is not just a little off- they are off by an order of magnitude.  As the CIR report indicates, the 7,333 number is does not take into consideration reporting standards.  For example, a get-away is not be classified as one unless the officer is reasonably certain the person originated from across the border.  Officers understandably cannot be expected to track large numbers of independent targets simultaneously as they focus on specific situations.  Drones are designed to.

If the Andrew Becker’s CIR story is correct, CBP’s effectiveness in the Arizona sector is closer to 9%, not 80%.

This is why the Gang of 8 “Compromise” imposes a decades long if not permanent ban on a path to citizenship for undocumented aliens.


About John JMesserly

Mostly harmless

Posted on 2013-04-24, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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