Wednesday, February 13, 2013



Note: Another look at the numbers game on the border. Again,
apprehensions are just and only that.

Analyst: Look beyond border apprehension data
Posted: Sunday, February 10, 2013 9:00 am
Julián Aguilar | The Texas Tribune

As the debate over federal immigration reform ramps up — and the
border security component continues to be a major factor — statistics
on border apprehensions are often used as a barometer to measure how
effective security policies are.
Such data tells only part of the story, says the former director of
the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, the country's
immigration enforcement agency before the creation of the current
office, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. But, she added, it does
indicate that security at the Texas-Mexico border has improved since
the last time the issue was fiercely debated in Washington.
Last week, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators and President Obama
pitched their ideas for comprehensive immigration reform to the
public, and both proposals included border security as a major piece.
Also last week, fiscal year 2012 statistics released by U.S. Customs
and Border Protection indicated that agents in Texas apprehended
more people attempting to enter the country illegally, 172,335, well
ahead of any other state that borders Mexico. In Arizona, 124,631
people were apprehended. California and New Mexico's figures are
54,246 and 5,661, respectively.
Doris Meissner, the former commissioner of the U.S. INS and a senior
fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, said that as those figures
are dissected, it should remain clear that arguments about border
security cannot rely solely on whether apprehension figures are high
or low.
"Apprehensions is an important indicator, it is an insufficient
indicator and it's an indicator than can legitimately be interpreted
either way," she said. "First of all we always have to remember that
apprehensions represent an enforcement action, not a person. And so
with apprehensions for the whole [southern] border the apprehensions
were 365,000 enforcement actions."
Meissner said that according to methodology used by the Congressional
Research Service, the data probably represented about 269,000 people
being apprehended.
A January 2012 study by Marc Rosenblum, an immigration policy
specialist for the Congressional Research Service, supports
Meissner's stance. It found three specific shortcomings with
apprehension data.
One example, which directly supports Meissner's argument, is that the
data counts events and not people.
"Thus, an unauthorized migrant who is caught trying to enter the
country three times in one year counts as three apprehensions in the
data set," Rosenblum writes. "To the extent that apprehensions are
interpreted as a direct indicator of illegal migration, the data
therefore may overestimate the actual number of people trying to
cross the border."
He also cited as potentially problematic the exclusion of three
different groups: unauthorized immigrants who cross the border
successfully (including those who enter without inspection, use
fraudulent documents or overstay their visas); certain unauthorized
immigrants who fail to cross the border (those who are denied entry
at a port or are apprehended by local, state or other federal law
enforcement officials, and those who die attempting to cross); and
"would-be" unauthorized immigrants who are persuaded from trying to
cross the border by factors like "remote deterrence," when they are
dissuaded in their communities.
The last shortcoming the CRS study cites is that apprehension data
doesn't take into account how many illegal border crossings are
largely influenced by "push-and-pull" factors, including economic
trends and demographic shifts.
Despite the shortcomings with apprehension data, Meissner said that
the efforts to secure the border shouldn't be discounted within the
debate on immigration reform.
According to CBP headquarters, the agency has more than doubled the
number of U.S. Border Patrol agents since 2004 to more than 21,300.
That statistic, along with apprehension data, should be considered as
factors that reflect positive trends, Meissner said.
"Certainly some people are going to use the same tired language that
we've heard for 10 years, that we can't do anything until the border
is secure," she said. "But for anybody that wants to listen, for
anybody that wants to look at the case at this point, the border is
an entirely different place than it was 10 years ago. You have a
dramatic reduction in apprehensions in the last 10 years. Just in the
last five or six years it's fallen another 50 percent, so it's a very
different picture where unauthorized crossing is concerned."
Federal lawmakers have received the message, Meissner said. She
cites U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., as an example of how attitudes
are shifting. McCain is a part of the "Gang of 8" that unveiled its
plans for reform last week.
"When he was running for re-election [in 2010] and certainly when he
was running for president, he became very, very harsh in his
assessment of insufficiencies of border enforcement," she said. "And
now when you see what he did a week ago, at the Gang of 8 press
conference he is saying very clearly, 'Border security has improved.
It's improved to the point where it's not where I'd like to see it
be. But it's sufficiently improved that we need to be talking about
broader changes.'"
Despite the progress, she said, there is still a chance for border
security debates to derail immigration reform negotiations. During a
hearing this week before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, some
members indicated they were open to breaking up a larger reform plan
into different components, The New York Times reported. Meissner said
that although that may address some of the issues, like the DREAM Act
or a temporary guest-worker program, it would still leave many issues
unresolved, like addressing the estimated 11 million people in the
country illegally and preventing a future influx of unauthorized
"What it does is cherry-pick politically — it takes the measures that
have real support and pulls them off from the harder measures, gets
them passed, allows the Congress to say, 'Okay, check the box,'" she
said. "Then the things that are really hard don't have a broad base
of political support and those don't get done and as a country we
still have too many unaddressed issues."
The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public media
organization that operates Its mission is to
promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, politics,
government, and other matters of statewide concern through original
journalism and on-the-record, open-to-the-public events. The Monitor
uses its content free of charge.

Note: add bankruptcy of Douglas hospital to this one.

Audit: Pinal County lost millions from ICE contact
CREATED FEB. 9, 2013
Web Producer: Taylor Higgins

FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) - An internal audit shows that Pinal County has
lost millions of dollars in potential revenue under a contract with
Immigration and Customs Enforcement to house immigration detainees.

The Arizona Republic reports that the recent audit found that former
county administrators knew ICE was getting the best deal possible at
the county's expense. The audit found that the county charged ICE a
daily rate per inmate less than what was needed to fund a jail

Meanwhile, the Internal Revenue Service is auditing the bond issue
that funded Pinal County's jail renovations over concerned that the
county may have issued the bonds under false pretenses.

The audit comes as a national coalition of advocacy groups last year
named Pinal County's jail as one of the country's 10-worst
immigration-detention facilities.

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