The Department of Homeland Security held a press conference yesterday to discuss progress over the past year on border security and immigration enforcement, and CBP and ICE both issued press releases that contain statistics documenting their efforts over the past year.
Overall these two documents paint a justifiably positive portrait of the Department’s efforts at border security and interior enforcement. It’s clearly true that the increased attention to these missions has led to improved performance over the past twelve months.
My main complaint about the documents is that year-to-year comparisons are omitted in certain instances; for example, CBP notes the amount of marijuana seized in FY 2006, without providing the FY 2005 tally as a point of comparison. And it notes the number of C-TPAT validations in FY 2006, without mentioning the comparable statistic for FY 2005. These documents are better than previous DHS fact sheets on border security and immigration enforcement, but still have a way to go.
Finally, there’s this line item in the CBP fact sheet:
Developed and coordinated the Rice-Chertoff Initiative to establish two model international ports of entry at Washington/Dulles and Houston Intercontinental airports. This initiative seeks to renew Americaâ€™s welcome with improved technology and efficiency, the development of secure travel documents for the 21st century, and improved information sharing.
I arrived on an international flight into Dulles last Friday, and I still don’t see any evidence that this “model airport” initiative has been implemented, unless a TV hanging on the wall showing “The Redskins Report” counts as “renewing America’s welcome.”