Freedom Folks

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Efforts to secure US borders 'have slowed since 9/11 attacks'

Source: Financial Times
The growth in the number of agents patrolling US borders has slowed in the 4½ years since the September 11 terrorist attacks and concerns over illegal immigration override fears of terrorist infiltration in the allocation of border resources, according to a new analysis.

The report, by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (Trac) at Syracuse University and released last week, also found that, although the national commission investigating the 2001 attacks warned of vulnerabilities on the long northern border with Canada, the southern border with Mexico has continued to take priority.

The administration and Congress "have not taken the commission's recommendations to heart", the study said.

"Although there have been modest changes, the analysis indicates that, in the main, the nation's concern about stopping illegal immigrants coming from Mexico has trumped the commission's worry about terrorists slipping into the US from Canada."

Deborah Meyers, a senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, a Washington think-tank, said: "The rhetoric from politicians suggests that we are concerned with counter-terrorism on the borders, but the figures reflect that the concern is mostly on undocumented immigrants."

Congress is in the midst of a wrenching debate over immigration reform that has focused mostly on how to deal with the nearly 12m illegal immigrants already in the country, and how to prevent more from entering.

The data gathered by Trac show that the US has poured resources into border security over the past decade, but that the effort has actually slowed since 2001.

It said the annual growth rate in the number of full-time Border Patrol agents was higher in both the first and second terms of president Bill Clinton than it has been so far under President George W. Bush. Between 1997 and 2001, the second Clinton term, the number of agents increased by 42 per cent to 9,651. In the four years following the attacks, that number has risen by a more modest 15 per cent to 11,106.
Oh yeah, REAL enforcements on the way, sure!

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