Border security: Numbers don't tell the whole story - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Border security: Numbers don't tell the whole story

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NOGALES, Ariz. -

Since the Border Patrol can't stop all illegal immigration, what do the administration and Congress consider a secure border? Congress has not decided on the metric used to measure "operational control," or what would trigger a green light for immigration reform.

"Every time someone mentions immigration reform we see a spike. We see more people coming through."

Arizona rancher Dan Bell sees the border differently than those in Washington.

"Our borders have never been stronger," says Janet Napolitano, Homeland Security Secretary.

Statistically Napolitano is right, with apprehensions at record lows, but numbers don't tell the whole story.

"There are areas of the border that have never been worse and never been more dangerous," says Bell.

Sheriff Tony Estrada patrols Nogales, Arizona, where 50 miles of new fence made the city safer.

"The canyons, the valleys, the mountains of Santa Cruz County, that is where the activity is now," says Sheriff Estrada. "I been here 40 years in law enforcement and I have never seen it more secure than it is now."

But forced smugglers are being forced outside of town.

"The activity has shifted from the urban areas to rural areas."

In very remote areas, the only thing separating the U.S.-Mexican border -- just like 50 to 60 years ago -- is a barbed wire fence which ranchers say is routinely cut.

"Whether it is fixing our water lines, repairing our fences or putting cattle back where they belong, that is all time and money to us," says Bell.

Bell says it's inaccurate to say the border is safe or secure -- since the border patrol only counts the illegals they catch -- not those who get away.

"When things get better in one place they actually get worse in another place."

Is the border more safe? Yes! Is it sealed? No, and it never will be. The question is what is realistic and acceptable.

If 500,000 are stopped, but 100,000 get through.

That's a question for lawmakers who want to know the administration has a plan before they nationalize 11 million people who are here illegally.

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