An internal, unpublished report by the Department of Homeland Security found that 54% of people illegally entering the United States from Mexico were caught by immigration authorities in 2015. The success rate is considerably lower than the 81% rate the department released to the public.
Congress has called on Homeland Security officials to release the 98-page report which was completed in May, a request that has been declined. Instead, an inside informant leaked a copy of the report to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.
“DHS does not believe it is in the public interest to release, and it would be irresponsible to make policy or other judgements on the basis of analysis that is incomplete and remains a work in progress,” said Marsha Catron, a spokeswoman for DHS.
According to the report, 170,000 immigrants illegally passed the border in 2015, 210,000 in 2014 and nearly 2 million in 2005. The decline in immigrants is explained by the recession and drop in job opportunities in the United States. In 2014 the capture rate was 55% and only 36% in 2005.
Border security now accounts for $14 billion of the government budget. The increase in spending comes after a doubling in the number of border patrol agents and addition of surveillance drones and fencing along the Mexican border.
The unpublished report does not take into consideration those who seek asylum, turn themselves in or turn around, said to be common for women and children from Central America, which have been the largest group entering the United States over the past several years.
In 2015 there were 140,000 asylum seekers on the border of Mexico, a number that DHS puts in their published report, leading to the higher success rate in that report.
Catron said that the report was just one piece in developing more reliable border security measurements.