U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin has essentially thrown in the towel on efforts to completely seal the U.S.-Mexican border, saying that would require up to half a million troops.
Speaking at an event sponsored by the Center for American Progress (CAP) on Thursday, Bersin said: “We would need on the order of about 400,000 or 500,000 border patrol agents to seal the border.”
Those agents would have to be stationed “25 yards” apart along the entire length of the border, he said, adding that Americans would not want to pay “the costs that would be involved.”
CAP immigration policy director Marshall Fitz said for “the average American, who doesn’t think a lot about this and considers the United States the most powerful country in the history of the world,” it might not seem “unrealistic to think that we could actually seal the border,” CNS News reported.
He said Congress’ passing of the Secure Fence Act of 2006 “suggests that that is viable,” but called that aim unrealistic.
Bersin said he favored “satisfactory” control of the border.
But he insisted that the border is safer than it ever has been, and a CAP report authored by Fitz was cited to back that assertion.
In the Tucson, Ariz., sector, which has the highest number of illegal crossings, 616,346 people were taken into custody in 2000, the report noted.
In 2010, “only” 212,202 were taken into custody.