Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Border boondoggle: Lack of goal, success metrics, don't prevent squandering tax dollars

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Texas has no valid plan or purpose for its recently announced $1.3 million per week commitment to expanding state trooper patrols along the border, judging from statements by Attorney General and GOP gubernatorial nominee Greg Abbott. From the Houston Chronicle (June 29):
Asked what a secure border might look like, Abbott said Sunday he didn't have a ready-made definition, but that achieving one was possible.

"If we can land people on the moon, if we can create iPhones and iPads," he said, "I think we can measure meaningful border security."
In other words, Greg Abbott doesn't know any more about how to secure the border than he knows about how to construct an iPhone or put a man on the moon.

So here we are: For the foreseeable future, Texas will spend $1.3 million more per week on border security than we did a month ago. But state leaders cannot identify an operational goal beyond meaningless platitudes (the goal is a "secure border" but Abbott can't define the term). And they cannot identify metrics to tell if the mission is a success or a failure (Abbott "thinks" it can be meaningfully measured but can't say how).

It's impossible to solve a problem one can neither define nor measure. Texas has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years on similar border surges and by the state's own (often dubious) account, problems worsened. So why throw good money after bad? Any project where the government a) cannot define its goal, b) cannot measure success, and c) has pledged tens of millions of tax dollars ($67.6 million per year) with no end in sight, by definition qualifies as a big-league boondoggle in my book.


Anonymous said...

‘Undocumented and Unafraid!’ – Milwaukee Amnesty Activists Shut Down ICE Office
Monday, June 30th, 2014 by Kyle Olson Progressives Today blog

rbxela said...

This border security program has been operating since 2005. They had metrics and it was shown in 2009 that the program fails based on their own metrics. So they stopped talking about metrics.
It's really about messaging - The Obama Administration is not securing the Border so Texas must step in. If you don't trust Obama, it makes sense. In reality, neither what the Obama Administration is doing nor what Texas is doing is going to stop the flow of drugs or refugees. What's sad is Texas does not have money to waste on this expensive boondoggle.

Anonymous said...

Any project where the government a) cannot define its goal, b) cannot measure success, and c) has pledged tens of millions of tax dollars ($67.6 million per year) with no end in sight, by definition qualifies as a big-league boondoggle in my book.

This describes every war this country has been in since WWII. Including the war on drugs.

Anonymous said...

What then must be done? We need to have a controlled border which we don't have right now, nor will we during the present administration since there seems to be a desire for open immigration which is a more severe situation than an open border.

General Abbott knows how to secure a border and how to measure it,and so do I and most other sentinent beings, but with an uninterested Federal government nothing is likely to happen.

So you are technically correct--without a real plan and means to execute it, money spent will be largely wasted. But it seems like something needs to be done.

Prison Doc

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"nor will we during the present administration since there seems to be a desire for open immigration"

That's ridiculous, Prison Doc, The Obama Administration has ramped up immigration detention to heretofore unseen levels and ejected more immigrants from the country than any prior president. How do you get from that to a desire for open borders?

"General Abbott knows how to secure a border and how to measure it,and so do I and most other sentinent beings"

Please enlighten us. How would you do it? Stop and search every vehicle and shut down commerce? If it's so easy, lay out the roadmap. If "something needs to be done," can you suggest a course of action that's not a colossal waste of time and money?

The feds had the best idea so far: Bring in more immigration judges to process case more quickly. But then, Obama would have to have more federal judges approved in Texas for that to last and the GOP has fought that tooth and nail. Other than process cases more rapidly, what would you have the government do?

Anonymous said...

Stop all aid to Mexico and South America counties until they stop the flow of their people. It seems maybe Mexico should secure its border.

Insure anyone(Americans) who employing Illegals are subject to a heavy fine and IRS audit to see how many tax dollars (withholding & SS) the employer has cheated on.
This wouldn't cost the State of Texas a $.

Anonymous said...

Obama sent out the message "if you come you can stay." It's ridiculous to think that's why they are coming.

Anonymous said...

Well hell's bells, Grits, your president is wanting another two billion to deal with a border crisis that's of his own making. And you want to call the Texas plan a boondoggle?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@6:18, yes indeed - Texas' response was gratuitous grandstanding. This is actually a federal function.

Anonymous said...

The border is secure. Sure, it's easy for a five year old to walk across, but not that easy for a two year old. In my book, that's secure.

Anonymous said...

@Grits - I am on board with your commentary on this topic, but one of your replies to a commenter appears to have a flaw. Immigration judges are not Article III judges subject to confirmation by the Senate. They are appointees of the Department of Justice and are considered administrative judges. This isn't one to blame on partisan politics.

Anonymous said...

Don't you folks worry. When the Texas Department of Political Safety gets down there, they'll create a travesty to justify the means. NEVER FAILS.

Anonymous said...

Impacts of illegal immigration: disease.
Impacts of illegal immigration: disease.
Malaria was eradicated from the USA in the 1940s but recently there were outbreaks in southern California, New Jersey, New York City, and Houston. Additionally, Malaria tainted blood has been discovered in the blood supply.
Dengue was first recognized in the 1950s, affects most Asian countries and has become a leading cause of death among children in the infected areas. Heretofore unknown in the US, Dengue outbreaks have now occurred in the United States.
Leprosy, a scourge of Biblical days, is caused by a bacillus agent and is now know as Hansen's Disease. In the 40 years prior to 2002, there were only 900 total cases of leprosy in the US. In the following three years there have been 9,000 cases and most were illegal aliens.
As noted in the article Leprosy in America: new cause for concern by Dr. William Levis, head of the New York Hansen's Disease Clinic. "It's creeping into the U.S. ... This is a real phenomenon. It's a public health threat. New York is endemic now, and nobody's noticed." In the same article, Dr. Terry Williams, who runs a Houston-based clinic serving leprosy patients across southern Texas, said that the bulk of the cases treated by his clinic were immigrants. "A lot of our cases are imported," he said. "We see patients from everywhere--Africa, the Philippines, China, South America." (emphasis added)
Hepatitis A-E is a viral infection that primarily attacks the liver. In 2004, more than 650 people contacted Hepatitis A at a single Chi-Chi's Mexican restaurant in Pennsylvania. Four latter died. Hepatitis B is one of the major diseases of mankind and is a serious global public health problem. It is estimated that 2 BILLION people are infected and about one million persons die each year. The new vaccine is only 95% effective in preventing an infection and will not cure a person who already has Hepatitis B, which results in a lifelong infection, cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure, and early death. An estimated 1.3 million people in the US are currently infected. No vaccine is currently available to prevent Hepatitis C-E and treatment for chronic Hepatitis C costs about $1,500 per person.

Tuberculosis (TB) kills approximately 2 million people each year. It is estimated that between 2002 and 2020, approximately 1,000,000,000 people will be newly infected, over 150 million people will get sick, and 36 million will die. TB is a highly contagiousdisease. Like the common cold, it spreads through the air. When infectious people cough, sneeze, talk or spit, they propel TB germs, known as bacilli, into the air. Each person with active TB will infect on average between 10 and 15 people every year.
The United States currently has one of the lowest rates of TB in the world. Mexico has 10 times the rate of prevalence and many African countries along with Afghanistan, Cambodia, the Philippines, and Indonesia have rates that are 100 – 150 times higher. Making matters worse, a few years ago a Multi-Drug-Resistant (MDR) strain of TB has emerged that is resistant to all standard anti-TB drugs. Treating a single case of MDR TB costs over $250,000 and as much as $1,200,000 per person, and even with treatment about half of the patients with MDR-TB prematurely die.

Anonymous said...

Try again, 7:19. From the El Paso Times, "The massive immigration of Central American children and families to South Texas does not appear to threaten a disease outbreak as some members of the Texas Legislature feared, state and local officials said Tuesday."

Anonymous said...

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Democratic gubernatorial candidate and current state Senator Wendy Davis called on Gov. Rick Perry to declare a state of emergency and call a special session of the legislature to deal with the influx of illegal immigrants coming to Texas.

In a letter to the governor, Davis calls the situation untenable and asks Perry to do four things to help the situation: Declare a state of emergency, call a special session, request additional immigration judges, send the federal government the bill.

Anonymous said...

Grits you must have fumbled for your glasses and grabbed your left-wing blinders instead. If the present administration doesn't favor open immigration I don't know what you'd call it. There is no border security, and Pelosi--a certified Obama surrogate--tells the huddling masses that a border is an artifical barrier to people who should be free to come in. It's nuts.

Secure border? Sure--tall double fence with roadway in between to facilitate patrols. None of this "virtual" fence nonsense with electronic sensors easily disabled or turned off.

Expensive? Sure, but nowhere near the long term expense of the problems we are now facing.

Prison Doc

Anonymous said...

Fed gov and Texas IS NOT TRYING TO SECURE THE BORDER!! They are only intent on moving invaders from the river to the shelters so
the numbers can't be filmed. Little true info is leaving the Valley. Like confirmed cases of H1N1(pig flu) and HIV and MS13 gang members present among the
invaders as documented by local media--and the first new American citizen born from one of the many pregnant women who was quickly sent to NYC the next day. Local media shows 1000-1500 a day crossing in/on rafts. I live 2 miles from the border. Our local illegals will not take kindly if the invaders are left here. AND there is no FEMA/Red Cross here. All accommodations are being provided by local volunteers and churches, cities and two counties.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@8:37, you're right, my error.

@Prison Doc, please provide a link to the Pelosi quote you reference, I can't find it online.

As for Obama, his administration bulked up the Border Patrol, expanded detention, pushed for more judges, and deported or otherwise returned more immigrants than any prior president. What more do you want of him? Be specific. Given congressional paralysis, what would a Republican have done that Obama has not?

It's not that your solution is expensive, it's that it's not a solution. They've got miles of fence already, but the locals push back when you start fencing off landowners' access to water.

Anyway, smuggling, illegal immigration, etc, happens mainly at the checkpoints. Your suggestion doesn't face the real problem: There's far too much legitimate border traffic to search more than a tiny percentage of vehicles crossing, and you can't scale up searches without serious negative effects on the economy. "Fence" debates are mostly diversions: All the real action surrounds the checkpoints.

Anonymous said...

Maybe read what the McAllen mayor stated. Also all the other real news of what is happening. The world knows they are from Central America fleeing horrific violence, and South American countries are see higher numbers of refugee children then we are. The problem isn't these children nor their families nor a presidents. I didn't vote for him because his platform on immigration is harsh and unrealistic.
I have lived here 60 yrs, my parents, grand parents, down to g g grandparents. We have done just fine without the over budget insanity down there now. Not until transplants of scared white folks became a majority here.

Anonymous said...

19 comments and none of 'em dare mention the fact(s). 7:19AM excluded.

1. Wake the fuck up people. We have an engraved welcome mat in the form of a statue (a damn joke pulled on the USA by the French). So anyone that speaks against welcoming humans no matter if they break the law or, not is considered as racists and worse. Anyone speaking for those huddled masses is considered to be Ds' by Rs. As they both forget about Reagan's & Clinton's pandering.

2. The Ds' are making it appear that they are all of the sudden on top of it by throwing money at it, (remember just a month or so ago we had no money for this & that) while we all know that they (both gangs) are guilty of pandering and throwing money at the boarder while welcoming the invading forces for decades.

3. Mexico invaded the USA with Brigades of teenagers and adults at the request of and enabling of politicians and the businesses that bought them (Rs' & Ds'). Bush-wacker went on national TV and said - come on up, there are plenty of businesses that have plenty of work for you that the Americans can't / won't do.

4. Central Americans, El Salvadorians & Hondurans have been coming up for decades and we all thought they were Mexicans with Political Passes and went on with our lives. Those of us that lost business in the 90's due to 4 or 5 in a van saying they'll mow a yard for 10 bucks vs 20 bucks simply went into tree trimming and soon after, a 175 buck job was taken by 4 or 5 in a van willing to do it for 75 bucks. Then when the El Salvadorians raised the prices up to 25 bucks, the customers would call and see if we'd come back and do it for 10 bucks. They were simply doing jobs that Americans wouldn't but in reality, they were taking jobs that Americans were doing by quoting ridiculously low prices to seniors already getting a price brake on the front end and raising them as the seasons changed. Businesses got free passes for hiring invaders and we all witnessed one fat white man with 10 alleged Mexicans working construction jobs for $4 bucks an hour.

5. We deserve what we are getting because we allowed the politicians to punk us out. I look forward to a wave of humans from other countries to jump on the Mexican invasion bandwagon. When the Great Outbreak of 2014 hits, we will have the Ds' to thank for making it easier to get medical services as the Rs' attempt to blame it all on Obama for spreading the invaders around the country.

6. Adoption Services around the country are foaming at the mouth with all of this extra product to sale. Caching$$$

So, everyone can shut the fuck up (including myself) because we can't do a damn thing about it other than talk it to death because we allowed it for decades when it was thought to be just hard working, family oriented Mexicans.

If you are a Democrat, Republican or, a hybrid aka: Independent and don't apply for the adoption of at least 2 or 3 of these children in within the next 24 hours, you will be asked to explain yourself.

If you have allowed yourself to be labeled as a: Hispanic or, Latino,
and / or are married to one or have lived here for 60 years illegally without being deported and don't apply for adoption, you are a racists...

If we revisit this bullshit news story in a few months and learn that they all were allowed to stay because they didn't show up at the fake court dates, we will be able to say that the boarder isn't broken - it's rigged.

Anonymous said...

Option 1)
How about building a fence around the respective foreign consulates and when the kids or anyone illegal for that matter come over, hand them over to their country of origin's consulates? They will be prohibited from leaving except under armed escort and would be their own country's problem to feed and house.

Option 2)
A simple fence along the border with signs posted in multiple languages with snipers monitoring the fences. Lights out, if you cross...

Anonymous said...

For those who argue for even more illegal immigration and for an exploding population increase in Texas, do you ever think about the environment?
Here's one concern (there are thousands more):

The Edwards rounds through nine counties from Kinney County through the San Antonio area northeastward to the Leon River in Bell County. More than 50 percent of the water pumped from Edwards is for municipal use, and San Antonio relies solely on this water source for its municipal supply.