In a stunning admission, officials in the Obama Administration admitted to The New York Times they resisted producing a metric to determine whether the border is secure because President Obama did not want any hurdles placed between illegal aliens and a pathway to citizenship.  (The New York Times, Mar. 21, 2013) The admission was made to the New York Times Thursday, a day after Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials shocked Members of Congress by announcing that despite promises to develop one, they still have no official way to measure whether the border is secure.  (Id.)   (Hearing video clip; Mar. 20, 2013)

In 2011, the Obama Administration abandoned the metric of “operational control” and it planned to develop a new “holistic” measure, called the Border Condition Index (BCI) to measure border security.  Indeed, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano herself told Congress in October 2011 that this index would be able to provide “the big picture” for measuring progress at the border and that it would be ready the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2012.  (Napolitano Testimony, Oct. 25, 2011; See FAIR Legislative Update, Mar. 4, 2013, for more background information.)

But testifying Wednesday before the House Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, Mark Borkowski, Assistant Commissioner of the U.S. Border Patrol, told Members of Congress that not only was the BCI not yet developed, but that the BCI was never intended to be an overall measure of border security. (Hearing video clip; Mar. 20, 2013)  “First of all,” Borkowski said to Chairwoman Candice Miller (R-MI), “I don’t believe that we intend, at least at this point, that the BCI would be a tool for the measurement that you’re suggest[ing]…I need to start there.” (Bloomberg transcript, Mar. 20, 2013) He continued, “The BCI is part of a set of information that advises us on where we are and, most importantly, what the trends are and that’s what it’s designed for. So it is not our intent, at least not immediately, that it would be the Measure you’re talking about.”

Visibly irked, Chairwoman Miller warned the Homeland Security officials before her that the inability to measure border security could derail efforts to pass amnesty legislation. (Id.)  Even pro-amnesty Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) seemed surprised.  She quipped, “And I would say to the department: You’ve got to get in the game.  And what I’m hearing here is not really a definitive game strategy.” (Id.)

Upon learning the Obama Administration delayed developing a border security metric to protect a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens, FAIR sharply criticized both the Administration and those in Congress who are trying to ram a mass amnesty bill through Congress.  “The American people need to understand that the current administration has no intention of honoring any enforcement commitments that might be included in an amnesty bill. Both the administration and leading lawmakers are making it clear that enforcement will either be delayed endlessly or ignored altogether,” said FAIR’s President Dan Stein.  “Moreover, how can Congress possibly consider passing mass amnesty legislation when the Department of Homeland Security admits it has no way of measuring whether the border is secure, and when Obama Administration officials say they don’t want one?” he concluded. (FAIR Press Release, Mar. 22, 2013)