The May 15 editorial “Twisting truth on the border” accused me of exaggerating the lack of security along the Southwest border, but the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Border Patrol agents on the ground know the truth: The border is not secure.
The Obama administration — and apparently The Post — pretend the border is more secure than ever because apprehensions are down. But apprehensions are down for two reasons: Our sluggish economy and the limited ability of the Border Patrol to apprehend illegal immigrants.
The unemployment rate has stayed around 9 percent for the past 22 months, and 26 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed. This has reduced the jobs magnet that encourages illegal immigration.
But 7 million individuals work illegally in the United States, and the administration hasn’t done much to stop them. In the past two years, work-site enforcement activities have plummeted by 70 percent. If the administration enforced immigration laws, we could open up millions of jobs for unemployed legal workers. And it would send the signal that we take our immigration laws seriously. This would deter illegal immigration.
Also, the GAO found that efforts by the Border Patrol to stop illegal crossings were “poor.” Border Patrol agents on the ground will tell you that there are three successful illegal crossings for every one stopped. Because of the administration’s selective enforcement of immigration law, only 44 percent of the southern border is under the operational control of the Border Patrol, according to the GAO. There is no substitute for improved border security coupled with increased interior enforcement of drug and immigration laws if we want to secure our border.
Lamar Smith, Washington
The writer, a Republican from Texas, is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.