A leaked report from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) disclosed that nearly half of the foreign nationals who cross U.S. borders illegally do so undetected. The DHS had refused to release the report, completed in May, but was leaked to the Associated Press (AP).
The report revealed that only 54 percent of those crossing the border illegally during FY 2015 were captured. The agency had previously claimed an 81 percent success rate, the AP reported.
Members of Congress had demanded the 98-page report be released after it was completed nearly five months ago.
“DHS does not believe it is in the public interest to release, and it would be irresponsible to make policy or other judgments on the basis of analysis that is incomplete and remains a work in progress,” DHS Spokesman Marsha Catron told the AP on Thursday.
The report appears to confirm the popular sentiment that borders are not secure. During FY 2017, 170,000 illegal aliens eluded DHS law enforcement agencies by crossing the border without detection or capture. Another 30,000 entered without being captured at ports of entry or via sea crossings, the report states.
The report does show a decline in the numbers of uncaptured illegal aliens. The FY 2015 numbers were down from the previous year’s number of 260,000. They were significantly down from FY 2005 when 1.9 million entered without being captured.
Some of those decreases can be credited to increased law enforcement along the border, but much of it is also a reflection of the weakened American economy wrought by the Great Recession.
The AP’s analysis of the report states, “The Border Patrol achieved an 11-point improvement in 2014 after years of slow but steady gains. The report does not offer an explanation for the sudden improvement.”
What that analysis ignores is the phenomena that began in 2014 when huge numbers of unaccompanied minors and incomplete family units flooded across the border to literally turn themselves in to Border Patrol agents at the border. These numbers alone could have a significant impact on the percentage of those captured versus those who were allowed to escape into the country undetected.