DHS Budget Says Napolitano Doesn’t Intend to Secure a Single Additional Mile of U.S. Border—This Year or Next

February 15, 2011 - 11:46 AM

Napolitano in Afghanistan

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano rang in the New Year with a visit to Afghanistan. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Embassy in Kabul)

(CNSNews.com) - Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano released a budget document on Monday that indicates that the Department of Homeland Security does not intend to put a single additional mile of the U.S. border under “effective control” in either fiscal year 2011 or 2012.

According to Napolitano's budget plan, the Border Patrol had 1,007 miles of the U.S. border under "effective control" at the end of fiscal year 2010, and DHS aims to stick with exactly that number through this year and next.

The 3311-page document released by Napolitano--"Congressional Budget Justification: FY 2012"--also says DHS does not intend to add a single additional Border Patrolmen in fiscal year 2012, after adding 859 this year. Nor, the document says, does DHS intend to deploy a single additional Border Patrol agent to either the U.S.-Mexico or U.S.-Canada border in fiscal year 2012, capping Border Patrol deployments at the two borders at this year’s level.

DHS declares it has established “effective control” of a mile of the U.S. border “when the appropriate mix of personnel, equipment, technology and tactical infrastructure has been deployed to reasonably ensure that when an attempted illegal entry is detected, the Border Patrol has the ability to identify, classify and respond to bring the attempted illegal entry to a satisfactory law enforcement resolution.”

Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a subdivision of DHS, is responsible for securing 8,607 miles of U.S. border, including the 1,994-mile-long U.S.-Mexico border, the approximately 4,000-mile-long U.S.-Canada border, and sections of coastline in the Gulf of Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

According to DHS budget justification released Monday, CBP currently has only 1,007 of the 8,607 miles of border it is responsible for under “effective control.”

Nonetheless, the same document says establishing “effective control” of the borders is CBP's first objective.

The document states: “CBP Strategic Goal 1: Secure our Nation‘s borders to protect America from the entry of dangerous people and goods and prevent unlawful trade and travel; Objective 1.1: Establish and maintain effective control of air, land, and maritime borders through the use of the appropriate mix of infrastructure, technology, and personnel.”

The plans for the Border Patrol published on page 552 of DHS’s 3311-page budget justification indicate that DHS does not intend to put a single additional mile of border under “effective control” this year or next year.

The plans point out that DHS added 439 Border Patrol agents in fiscal 2010 (which ended on September 30, 2010) and increased the number of border miles under effective control from 939 to 1,007 in that year.

“FY 2010 accomplishments include: Hired an additional 439 agents; and Increased the number of border miles under effective control from 939 miles to 1,007,” says the budget justification.

The document then says DHS intends to keep the number of border miles under effective control at 1,007 miles in fiscal 2011 and fiscal 2012, while maintaining the same number of Border Patrol agents at the northern and southern border in those two years.

“FY 2011 goals include: Maintain effective control of 1,007 miles of border,” says the DHS budget document. “Maintain Border Patrol agent staffing level at 18,415 on the Southwest Border; Maintain 2,212 Border Patrol agents along the Northern Border.”

The document does say that DHS intends to add 859 Border Patrol agents this year, but these additional agents will not be used to increase the numbers of agents deployed at the northern or southern borders in fiscal year 2012. “Increase end of FY 2010 staffing by 859 agents to arrive at an end state level of 21,370 agents,” says the document, stating a goal for fiscal 2011.

“FY 2012 goals include: Maintain effective control of 1,007 miles of border,” says the DHS budget document. “Maintain 21,370 agents including 2,212 on the Northern Border and 18,415 on the Southwest Border through a mix of new hires and relocations.”