Friday, April 21, 2006


I rarely quote USA Today, but this caught my eye:
The Border Patrol will soon rival the FBI in terms of the number of agents each agency has in the field. By the end of September, the Border Patrol will have 12,100 agents, according to spokesman Salvador Zamora. As of March, the FBI had 12,515. A 2004 law calls for expanding the Border Patrol to 21,000 agents by the end of the decade.

A recent analysis by Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a Syracuse University-based data research center, found that increasing the size of the Border Patrol has not yielded more arrests. In 1995, the agency reported apprehending more than 1.3 million illegal immigrants. In 2005, with more than twice the number of agents as in 1995, the Border Patrol apprehended just under 1.2 million illegal immigrants.
Of course some take umbrage with the implication that flat to dropping arrest rates suggest that the small army patrolling our borders is ineffective.
"These figures don't mean anything," says T.J. Bonner, president of the border agents union and a 28-year veteran.

The Border Patrol won't be able to secure the nation's frontiers until the government enforces laws against hiring illegal immigrants, Bonner says.

"Most of the people who are now coming across the border have a job waiting for them," he says.
I’m not sure that Bonner is an expert on the sociology of immigration but assuming he’s right about the problem, he’s utterly wrong about the figures not meaning anything. They mean one very important thing: we’re investing more and more resources into ineffective measures against illegal immigration.

A lot of the article is low grade drivel, but it is nicely capped:
Douglas Massey, a Princeton University professor who studies illegal immigration, says increasing the size of the Border Patrol is "a complete and total waste of money."
Looks that way.