A new study from the Government Accountability Office finds that less than half of the 2,000-mile border with Mexico is "operationally controlled" by the Border Patrol. The study says the Southwest border with Mexico "is vulnerable to cross-border illegal activity." The study evaluated the Border Patrol's ability to detect and respond to cross-border illegal activity and detect and respond to illegal activity at the border or after entry into the United States.

According to the study, the Department of Homeland Security has varying levels of "operational control" for 873 miles of the 2,000-mile border. The study did note that "operational control" has increased an average of 126 miles per year since 2005.

The border is divided into nine sectors, including the Yuma Sector, which reports near 100% "operational control." However, the other eight sectors report somewhere between 11-86% "operational control."

GAO conducted the study in cooperation with the House Committee on Homeland Security. GAO analyzed DHS border security documents and data supporting border security measures reported by DHS for fiscal years 2005 through 2010, and interviewed DHS officials.

You can read the full GAO report by clicking here.

National Security
Illegal Immigration
border control

Updated: Thu, Feb 17th 2011 @ 7:23pm EST