Politics

Obama Doesn’t Want to Know

Worthwhile Arizona Initiative: I missed what seems like an important 7/20 Arizona Republic story on the real state of the border with Mexico, perhaps because it had the worst headline since the NYT‘s famous “Worthwhile Canadian Initiative”–maybe worse, a hed so life-draining I don’t dare repeat it here lest it cause immediate loss of consciousness. Key points of the piece:

1) How many illegal border-crossers actually get through?

“Homeland Security officials don’t fully know the answers to those questions. And the reason, say leading migration researchers, is that DHS officials don’t want to know, and don’t want the public to know, either.” [E.A.]

Accurate information might have thrown a monkey wrench into plans (by both George W. Bush and Obama) to declare the border secure and push for an amnesty.  The Department of Homeland Security denied data to researchers–including a “panel of leading statisticians, economists and demographers at the National Academy of Sciences,” whose report was then ignored.

2) “’Almost everybody who really tries eventually gets in,” said Jeffrey Passel, a member of the panel and a senior demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center.” The National Academy group estimated “three-quarters of those who decide to cross keep trying until they make it. Other outside studies have found 85 or even 90 percent make it.” That puts the Department of Homeland Security’s claim of 84 percent “effectiveness” in perspective. …

It’s a law of bureaucracy that bad news doesn’t travel up to the highest levels, a point usually made with a reference to the Vietnam War. This is something else. This is the highest levels making sure there’s no news to travel–the entire bureaucracy remains ignorant, lest the truth leak out. Imagine how badly Vietnam would have gone if our generals massively escalated troop levels but didn’t even try to find out what was going on on the battlefield … which, actually, isn’t a bad description of the Senate Gang of 8’s cartoonish $46 billion last-minute “border surge” provision.