News / USA

US Budget Limits Border Security Resources

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, February 9, 2011
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, February 9, 2011

The shooting of two U.S. border agents in Mexico on Tuesday raises questions about how the U.S. can step up the fight against Mexican drug cartels and protect U.S. borders with limited resources because of a tight budget.  

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano says the demands on her department have never been greater, especially in the wake of the shooting death of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Special Agent Jaime Zapata. 

"I can speak for the entire administration when I say we are not only saddened by the loss of an agent, but we are outraged by this act of violence against an officer of the United States," she said.

Zapata was killed and another agent was shot in the leg Tuesday in Mexico when the two stopped at what appeared to be a military checkpoint, possibly set up by drug traffickers.  The Mexican military says it has no checkpoints in that area.

On Thursday at a Senate Homeland Security hearing on the budget, Napolitano said the death of Zapata makes the U.S. even more determined to do everything it can to protect against, mitigate and respond to threats. "We remain relentless in efforts to keep our border secure and to assist Mexico in breaking up the cartels that are plaguing that country," she said.

Earlier this week, U.S. President Barack Obama released his budget proposal which includes nearly $300 million for border technology, $229 million for border personnel and additional border patrol agents and officers.

Napolitano says Mr. Obama's budget proposal for the DHS is enough, but just the minimum amount needed to carry out the department's plans to secure the border.

"President Obama's [fiscal year] 2012 budget for the department allows us to continue to meet these evolving threats and challenges by prioritizing our essential operational requirements, while reflecting an unprecedented commitment to fiscal discipline that maximizes the effectiveness of every security dollar that we receive," she said.

The secretary said the current budget proposal cuts several security measures, including improvements in technology investment for the borders, funding to sustain the progress that's been made in enforcing our immigration laws and intelligence personnel in state and local terrorism prevention and response centers.

Former head of American Immigration Lawyers Association Charles Kuck says our borders are more secure than they ever have been, but he says the U.S. still faces imminent threats and needs to focus its resources on where people are likely to cross the border.

"The government can't stop everything. I think the government is doing an effective job with the dollars that they have and the people that they have, but you have to balance this against the budget people are screaming about. We can’t spend every dollar on border security. We have to spend it smart. We have to spend it in the way we get the most bang for our buck," he said.

A recent report from the Government Accountability Office finds that only 15 percent of the 3,200 kilometer long southwest border with Mexico is sealed, with the other 85 percent being managed.  A similar report shows about 52 kilometers of the 6,400 kilometer long northern border with Canada has reached an acceptable level of security.

You May Like

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More