House seeks ways to assess border security

March 22, 2013 at 4:02 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 22 (UPI) -- Washington lawmakers are expressing bipartisan frustration over the failure of Homeland Security officials to develop standards of assessing border security.

Members of a House committee say the lack of measures to accurately determine the level of security is imperiling the passage of immigration legislation, The New York Times reported.

Addressing Mark Borkowski, a senior Department of Homeland Security official U.S. Rep. Candace Miller, R-Mich., chairwoman of the House Homeland Security subcommittee on border security, said she didn't want the agency to be a "stumbling block" for immigration reform.

"You've got to get in the game," said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, a supporter of President Obama's immigration proposals.

Obama administration officials said they don't want only one way to measure border security because Obama doesn't want obstacles to eventual citizenship for illegal immigrants.

They said locations where people smugglers and drug traffickers cross the border from Mexico could change rapidly, as well as where border agents were concentrating resources.

Since 2010, border security has been measured largely by how many illegal crossers are caught. Those numbers have declined sharply.

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