DHS wants new yardstick for improvements

May 5, 2011

By Stephen Dinan-The Washington Times

Saying the measure of “operational control” of U.S. borders is obsolete, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told Congress on Wednesday that the Obama administration is trying to come up with a new yardstick to better reflect the improvements it says it has made.

With the Government Accountability Office, Congress’s chief watchdog, saying less than half of the southern border is under operational control, the Obama administration has been distancing itself from that measure for more than a year.

” ‘Operational control’ it’s an archaic term,” Miss Napolitano told the Senate Homeland Security Committee. “The fact of the matter is that we need a more quantitative and qualitative way to reflect what actually is occurring at the border.”

The wording is more than just a semantic game.

House Republicans, in their campaign Pledge to America last year, set operational control as their goal, and at least some of the triggers lawmakers have suggested for determining when to move to legalization of illegal immigrants already here require the government first to prove it has control of the border.

Congress itself defined operational control in a 2006 law as the ability to prevent all unlawful entries into the United States, but all sides now say that amounts to sealing the border, which they say is impossible.

“Everybody seems to agree it’s not feasible to achieve operational control as it’s defined there,” said committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, Connecticut independent. “Either we have to come up with another definition or we have to set some sort of standards for getting closer to operational control.”

On Wednesday, Miss Napolitano said she has asked U.S. Customs and Border Protection to come up with another way to measure the true state of security along the border.

She said she wants to try to include measures of how many people have been deterred from even trying to cross in the first place, as well as stats that would show the increasingly violent clashes and collateral damage fueled by the drug trade.

To read more, visit:  http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/may/4/dhs-wants-new-yardstick-for-improvements/

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