Immigration Crackdown Costs $6K per Bust

Obama's National Guard deployment working, but costly
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2011 12:54 PM CST
Immigration Crackdown Costs $6K per Bust
In this April 19, 2011, file photo, a member of the National Guard checks on his colleague inside a Border Patrol Skybox near the Hidalgo International Bridge in Hidalgo, Texas.   (AP Photo/Delcia Lopez, File)

(Newser) – The 1,200 National Guardsmen that Barack Obama dispatched to help patrol the US-Mexico border in the summer of 2010 have caught plenty of illegal immigrants—but it hasn’t been cheap. The guardsmen have helped catch 25,514 illegal immigrants and have cost the government $160 million, which works out to $6,271 per bust, the Washington Post reports. “As a mayor, I am not going to say we don’t want more security,” says Hidalgo, Texas’ mayor. “But as a taxpayer? I would say something different.”

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Critics also complain that the program is inefficient. Pentagon rules forbid Guard troops from pursuing suspects, and require them to work in pairs. So, a recent Government Accountability Office report points out, it takes three men to do the work of one—one Guard duo to spot a border crosser, and one Border Patrol agent to actually catch him. But supporters say the figures are misleading, because we can’t quantify how many drug smugglers and other criminals the Guard’s presence has deterred. (Read more illegal immigration stories.)

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