On March 1, 2012, Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano accusing DHS of releasing false and misleading border crossing data. In particular, the pair suggests that the number of illegal border crossings is substantially higher than previously reported by Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The letter states, “[T]he numbers appear to dramatically underestimate the volume of individuals who cross the border illegally and are neither arrested nor turned back south.”
The letter was prompted by the Oversight Committee’s receipt of DHS documents revealing that instead of tracking and counting border crossers who are neither arrested nor turned back south (referred to as “got-aways”) in its statistics, the Department lets these individuals fall off the record books. The letter explained that although CBP agents considered these individuals as “outstanding subjects of active pursuit,” and thus passed them along from shift-to-shift, that eventually CBP agents lost track of them and they were never logged into their daily shift reports.
According to Issa, an audit of border patrol shift reports showed over a one week period in 2011 that at least 82 illegal border crossers were never reported. Extrapolated over a full year for the entire U.S.-Mexico border, Reps. Issa and Chaffetz estimate more than 268,000 individuals who illegally crossed into the country went uncounted. They conclude that if the data is as misleading as it appears to be, the Administration’s claims that “the border is safer than it has been in decades’ is dangerously flawed.”
Read more at FAIR’s President Obama’s Record of Dismantling Immigration Enforcement.