Statement On GAO Border Security Report
This statement was made regarding a report released by the Government Accountability Office that states the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has fallen seven years behind its goal of putting in place technology and fences to secure the U.S.-Mexico border under the Secure Border Initiative of 2005:
There are no excuses the Department of Homeland Security could give that would justify its mismanagement of the Secure Border Initiative program. It has been four years since implementation of this program and billions of taxpayer dollars – over $3.7 billion to be exact – have been expended with nothing truly effective to show for it. As a result our border still is not secure and the American public has every right to question our ability to make it secure in the future in light of the failures and delays in this initiative. The green light was given and the resources have been in place - yet the timelines for completion keep slipping. All the while, violence along our southern border has intensified and the security of residents in Texas and other border states has been in jeopardy. The fact that a fully funded initiative to greatly boost border security through a combination of new technology, infrastructure, and fencing has fallen along the wayside and is now seven years behind schedule is completely unacceptable.
There have been numerous opportunities through congressional hearings and past reports for DHS to come clean about delays and underperformance. I call on Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to implement a process immediately in which the Secure Border Initiative provides regular updates to both houses of Congress, and Members representing Southwest border states, to prevent future idling on such important issues of national security.