“We Are Never Going To Fully Protect The Border…It Will Never Be Zero”

Testimony by former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker supports Congressman Vela’s position on border security trigger

February 20, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – On Monday, Congressman Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville) released a statement arguing that an arbitrary declaration of a border security “trigger” should not be attached to immigration reform. The current proposal by Senator Marco Rubio includes this so-called “trigger,” only allowing immigration reform when a declaration of border security has been achieved. 

Last week in this year’s first House Homeland Security Committee hearing, former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker testified that we need to “recognize reality…that we are never going to fully protect the border.” This directly supports Congressman Vela’s assertion that a “trigger” would only be an arbitrary declaration to delay the implementation of immigration reform. 

Congressman Vela stated on February 18th: 

 “Opponents of immigration reform seek to hold the legislative process hostage by insisting on an arbitrary declaration of border security on the US-Mexico border. Attaching such a contingency to the debate is nothing more than an overt attempt to thwart reform efforts. 

“Simply put, those who would condition immigration reform on a trigger of border security simply oppose a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented workers and their families currently in the United States.” 

Continue reading for a transcript of David Walker’s response, or click here to watch the video. 
February 15, 2013 


VELA: Mr. Walker – you on a few occasions mentioned the difficulty in mitigation of risk, and I was curious if you could expound on that. 

DAVID WALKER: I think my point is - is that we’re never going to fully protect the border. We’re never going to fully protect the air system. Just recognize reality. That’s not going to be the case. It’s an impossible task. And therefore we also have to recognize that we’ve got limited resources that are going to become more limited. 

And - that’s why it is so important to be able to create this comprehensive integrated plan that focuses on risk. 

There are certain areas of the country that are higher risk than others. There are certain modes of transportation that are higher risk than others. 

There are certain areas of the country that quite frankly where you don’t have, you know, a large population, and you can use technology to be able to help scan the border. But if somebody crosses the border, which they easily can, you’re going to have to have a system to be able to get them within 100 miles or something of that nature in order to be able to deal with it. 

So we have to recognize there is no such thing as zero risk. We have to mitigate risk. It will never be zero. And we need to mitigate in an intelligent way where we’re trying to protect as many people as possible and as much assets as possible given the resources we have. 

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