The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is planning to move several hundred Border Patrol agents away from the U.S.-Mexico border and will not secure a single additional mile of the U.S. border in fiscal 2010, according to the department's annual performance report.
The document -- "Department of Homeland Security Annual Performance Report: Fiscal Years 2008-2010" -- was originally published by the Bush administration on Jan. 15 and was updated by the Obama administration on May 7.
Excluding the border between Alaska and Canada, the combined length of the U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada is about 6,000 miles (with almost 2,000 miles along the Mexican frontier and 4,000 along the Canadian).
The DHS annual performance report lists as the department's top goal: "Protect our nation from dangerous people." Under this goal, it lists as one program: "Border security and control between ports of entry." The goal of this program is: "Prevent potential terrorists, means of terrorism or other unlawful activities from entering the U.S. along our land borders by gaining operational control in areas deemed as high priority for terrorist threat potential or other national security objectives."
One measure of this is goal is titled: "Border miles under effective control (including certain coastal areas)."
Until this year, the department showed steady progress in this metric.
In fiscal 2005, for example, it had a goal of putting 150 miles of border "under effective control," and it achieved 288 miles. In fiscal 2008, it had a goal of putting 674 miles of border "under effective control," and it achieved 757 miles.
But this year, the progress stalled.
In fiscal 2009, according to page 24 of the report, the department's goal is to have 815 miles of border "under effective control." In fiscal 2010, it says, the goal is also to have 815 miles of border "under effective control."
In other words, whatever else it does over the next 12 months, the department does not plan to bring a single additional mile of border "under effective control."
The line on page 24 of the DHS report indicating that the department's goal for border miles "under effective control" will be the same for next year as it was for this year is marked with a discreet asterisk.