If Congress passes comprehensive immigration reform, it will depend on the Obama administration to enforce the law. How might that work?

A glimpse of the future came Wednesday when the House Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security held a little-noticed hearing titled “Measuring Outcomes to Understand the State of Border Security.”

Immigration reform depends on a secure border. Nearly every lawmaker pushing reform, and certainly every Republican, stresses that the border must be proven secure before millions of currently illegal immigrants can be placed on a path to citizenship.

But how do you measure border security? For years, the government estimated the number of miles of the border that were under “operational control” and came up with various ways to define what that meant.

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