The Border Patrol plays sleight-of-hand with the cost of capturing immigrants


I live in Rio Rico, Arizona, which is about 16 miles north of the USA’s border with Mexico.

Where, recently, on a sunny Sunday morning during a walk with my dogs in the usually tranquil Santa Cruz River Valley below my home, I heard the drone of an airplane.

Irritated, I looked up to see a Border Patrol (BP) plane drop down to circle a mile or so south of a Union Pacific Railroad crossing.

At once, I knew a drama would soon unfold.  Sure enough, within 15 minutes, three BP vans sped up.

Nervously, I called my dogs to come sit by my side.

My dogs and I then watched as BP vans bumped south on the dirt road alongside the Union Pacific railroad tracks that lead to Mexico.

A short time later, a BP van emerged out of clouds of dust to cough up its catch: two small, brown-skinned men, who were clearly terrified.

As I watched two muscular BP officers literally pick up and toss those two men, one at a time, into a van, I almost threw up.

But I also found myself tallying up the costs of using the airplane and the three vans, plus the salaries of a pilot and the six BP agents.

I’m certain the BP spent many thousands of dollars to nab those two scared, outrageously abused men.

During the fourteen years I’ve lived here in Rio Rico, the BP’s budget has more than quintupled, while the BP’s slick public relations shills keep assuring me that those billions are being spent well.

But I’m not convinced, because of how the Border Patrol manipulates its statistics.

For example, when the Border Patrol boasts about its annual 500,000 “apprehensions” here in the Tucson Sector where I live, its “apprehensions” of border trespassers are likely to be as few as 125,000 of “unique” human beings.

That’s because the BP surely knows that most of its “apprehensions” it tosses back into Mexico turn right around to try again, most often the very next day.

I know this to be true on the ground, because the migrants I meet and greet down in my river valley are often the BP “apprehensions.”

Some have told me that when they are nabbed again, BP agents have actually addressed them by their first names.

Still, the Border Patrol has been amazingly successful using its “funny math.”  It keeps reporting only “apprehensions,” because doing so reaps it heaps of still more Federal money.

However, lingering in my mind is a survey done by the University of California.

Its study surveyed 603 migrants – all of them from Jalisco or Zacatecas, two Mexican states from which many “illegals” seem to erupt.

The university’s survey found that 92 percent of the Jalisqueños and Zacatecans said that they’d made it back here within five tries, while “only 8 percent failed to return and went back home.”

That statistic makes the Border Patrol’s claim that its border enforcement has become “effective” seem false to me.

And what of those two frightened, desperate fellows whose brutal capture I witnessed?

When those two captured fellows were returned to Mexico, did they try to cross again the next morning?

Well of course, they did!

With a 92 percent guarantee of success, I surely would.

Wouldn’t you?

6 thoughts on “The Border Patrol plays sleight-of-hand with the cost of capturing immigrants

  1. I know that being a land owner that close to the border you need the BP close by to protect your interest as well as other land & home owners. I know that I would have both lethal & none leathal personal protection on hand at all times. I have read plenty of articles about the drug cartels moving drugs across the borders with plenty of fire power. I would appreciate the drone flying over in the area to keep the borders a safer place.

  2. I am proud to be your “big” brother and Gillian’s uncle. While I may not completely agree with all your opinions, I do respect them and your right to express them.

    It is always a pleasure to read your pieces in the local media and now the blog you share with Gillian. What a great idea.

  3. Thanks for sending the link.Was going to call to see what happened. I do enjoy your articles and find them very informative and gives me anther perspective to ponder. Thanks, Sarah

  4. Being your neighbor on the border in Santa Cruz County, AZ, I can substantiate your observations. The laws of supply and demand impact the reality of the economic migrants into the U.S. more so than the laws that authorize the Border Patrol. Until that reality is addressed, the excessive authority and the numbers game of the BP that you describe here will continue. We need a synergistic inclusion policy that gives the U.S and the migrants and win-win opportunity. Thanks for your insight Jack.

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