GAO: Border security progress & challenges

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Rebecca Gambler, Director of Homeland Security and Justice Issues at the Government Accountability Office discusses her testimony on the Department of Homeland Security’s management issues at the southern border, and what DHS is doing to fix them.


As the Trump Administration pushes forward on their plan to build a border wall, Congress is determining how funding and implementation will work. In a recent meeting of the House Homeland Security Border and Maritime Subcommittee, witnesses said that there have been some issues getting current border patrol assets operational in the field.

“Those assets include things like surveillance technologies, physical infrastructure… and personnel. While the department has been making progress in these deployments, there are about 654 miles of primary fencing or physical barriers on the southern border right now.” Rebecca Gambler, director of Homeland Security and Justice Issues at the Government Accountability Office. “There have been some challenges in the department’s oversight and management of those deployments.”

According to Gambler, construction and maintenance of infrastructure is highly important to the Border Patrol’s mission, but they haven’t been using available data to support that effort.

“We’ve also recommended through our work that the department establish metrics and use available data to assess what the department is getting out of the investments in tactical infrastructure, which includes physical barriers,” Gambler told Government Matters. “Similar to what we’ve reported with surveillance technologies, DHS has agreed with those recommendations and is taking action towards addressing it.”