Testifying before the House Oversight Committee earlier this week, National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd estimated that the agency has only achieved operational control for approximately 40% of the U.S.-Mexico border. The Secure Fence Act of 2006 required that DHS achieve operational control along the entire border.
Border Patrol agents testified about the permeable and violent conditions facing the southern border.
Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, (R-Utah) first questioned Director of Customs and Border Protection’s joint task force, Robert L. Harris, on the topic of operational control, but he wouldn't say how much was under control. Operational control means that the government in that area is ready and capable of deterring or capturing illegal aliens crossing the border.
"I would say we would be lucky if we’re 40 percent," Judd said.
Judd also said that one out of every five illegal aliens caught along the border in 2014 had a criminal record. Nearly half of the criminal aliens that were deported had aggravated felonies, helping to explain some of the violence in the region.
"This is the challenge we are facing at the border today," Judd said. "There are those who will point to lower apprehension rates and tell you the border is secure. Border Patrol agents, however, throughout this nation will tell you the border is not secure and the southwest border certainly is not safe."
DHS also revealed this week that only 36 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border has effective double fencing. That came in response to a letter sent to the agency by Senate Judiciary Committee Member, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). DHS also said that 66% of the border had no fencing at all. The agency said:
- 1,300 miles have no fencing (66.5%)
- 299.8 miles have vehicle fence (15.3%)
- 316.6 miles of pedestrian fence (16.2%)
- 36.3 miles of double-layer fencing (.02%)
- The current total for primary fencing to be 352.9 miles. 316.6 single layer plus 36.3 miles of double layer = 352.9 miles of primary fencing.
Updated: Wed, Sep 23rd 2015 @ 7:35pm EDT