Doing What Needs To Be Done

Last year, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 521,090 people were apprehended as inadmissible at the southwest border of America. From January through March of this year, the total is 422,334. It is obvious that we have a problem. President Trump threatened Mexico with tariffs if they did not make an effort to close down the immigrant highway that runs through their country. The usual suspects objected–the Democrats, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and some Republicans. The President did not back down, and President Trump reached an agreement with Mexico.

Yesterday The Conservative Treehouse posted an article about the agreement.

The article observes:

The Mexican government of Lopez-Obrador was desperate to reach an agreement as U.S. companies had already begun rapid supply chain preparation to avoid the tariffs scheduled to begin on Monday. Think about the scale of international investment into Mexico, done with the sole purpose of gaining access to the U.S. market.

The tariff proposal not only put U.S. investments into play, but massive international investments would be impacted.  [A recent example is a billion-dollar investment in a single BMW auto assembly plant by the German automaker]  An already tenuous Mexican economy was likely to be crushed by the consequences of President Trump’s tariff schedule. [Unrecoverably crushed]

Mexico reported yesterday they moved 6,000 national guard to their Southern Border; and they also began arresting immigration activists previously identified as participating in an effort to aide migrants traveling through the country.  However, even with that rapid action/reactionary approach by Mexico, President Trump was not impressed.

The article includes the State Department’s Press Release regarding the agreement:

The United States and Mexico met this week to address the shared challenges of irregular migration, to include the entry of migrants into the United States in violation of U.S. law. Given the dramatic increase in migrants moving from Central America through Mexico to the United States, both countries recognize the vital importance of rapidly resolving the humanitarian emergency and security situation. The Governments of the United States and Mexico will work together to immediately implement a durable solution.

As a result of these discussions, the United States and Mexico commit to:

Mexican Enforcement Surge

Mexico will take unprecedented steps to increase enforcement to curb irregular migration, to include the deployment of its National Guard throughout Mexico, giving priority to its southern border. Mexico is also taking decisive action to dismantle human smuggling and trafficking organizations as well as their illicit financial and transportation networks. Additionally, the United States and Mexico commit to strengthen bilateral cooperation, including information sharing and coordinated actions to better protect and secure our common border.

Migrant Protection Protocols

The United States will immediately expand the implementation of the existing Migrant Protection Protocols across its entire Southern Border. This means that those crossing the U.S. Southern Border to seek asylum will be rapidly returned to Mexico where they may await the adjudication of their asylum claims.

In response, Mexico will authorize the entrance of all of those individuals for humanitarian reasons, in compliance with its international obligations, while they await the adjudication of their asylum claims. Mexico will also offer jobs, healthcare and education according to its principles.

The United States commits to work to accelerate the adjudication of asylum claims and to conclude removal proceedings as expeditiously as possible.

Further Actions

Both parties also agree that, in the event the measures adopted do not have the expected results, they will take further actions. Therefore, the United States and Mexico will continue their discussions on the terms of additional understandings to address irregular migrant flows and asylum issues, to be completed and announced within 90 days, if necessary.

Ongoing Regional Strategy

The United States and Mexico reiterate their previous statement of December 18, 2018, that both countries recognize the strong links between promoting development and economic growth in southern Mexico and the success of promoting prosperity, good governance and security in Central America. The United States and Mexico welcome the Comprehensive Development Plan launched by the Government of Mexico in concert with the Governments of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to promote these goals. The United States and Mexico will lead in working with regional and international partners to build a more prosperous and secure Central America to address the underlying causes of migration, so that citizens of the region can build better lives for themselves and their families at home.

We have a President who gets things done, even when those who should be willing to help are not.

It Is Becoming Very Obvious That Common Sense And Government Just Don’t Mix

Yesterday The Washington Examiner reported that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has allowed migrants released from the custody of other Homeland Security agencies to board flights to other parts of the country despite the passengers lacking any of the 15 documents it states are the only acceptable forms of identification. This has been going on for six months. Didn’t we learn our lesson on September 11th?

The article reports:

A TSA spokesperson initially told the Washington Examiner migrants were allowed to board flights if they could present the document they are given when they apply for asylum. The Notice To Appear, known by DHS as Form I-862, is a paper that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will give to a person who has passed a credible fear screening and will have his or her asylum case decided by a federal judge as many as five years down the road.

TSA said the court order served as the individual’s identification because that person had already gone through a background check while in custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, ICE, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

However, a USCIS official said TSA’s knowledge of protocol was wrong and that the latter agency would not provide any type of travel authorization document to a person who has passed a credible fear screening. The official said the NTA has one purpose and that was to tell recipients when to show up for court.

With the pushback from USCIS, TSA said another possible document that might be used would be the USCIS employment card.

However, asylum seekers who have been released from custody cannot attain that paper until 180 days after a credible fear claim has been approved.

In its initial statement to the Washington Examiner on its own policy violation, the agency said “TSA accepts identification documentation issued by other government agencies, which is validated through the issuing agency. All passengers are then subject to appropriate screening measures.”

TSA then referred the Washington Examiner to a webpage, which still states, “You will not be allowed to enter the security checkpoint if your identity cannot be confirmed, you chose to not provide proper identification or you decline to cooperate with the identity verification process.”

So I guess it is easier to get on a plane as an illegal alien than as an American citizen. What a mess. It would be considerably easier just to get control of our southern border.

Illegal Immigrants Can’t Reach The Southern Border Of The United States Without Traveling Through Mexico

It seems a rather obvious point, but illegal immigrants entering America through our porous southern border have to go through Mexico to get to that border. That is the reason it makes sense to involve Mexico in the process of securing our southern border.

First of all, let’s look at the increase in the number of people attempting to cross our southern border. The chart below is from U.S. Customs and Border Protection:

As you can see, the total apprehensions have increased dramatically in the past two years.

On June 1st, American Greatness posted an article with some suggested solutions to the problem. The article includes a list of how Mexico can become part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

The article reports:

On Thursday, the administration rolled out a new policy aimed at encouraging Mexico to do more to crack down on the thousands of Central American migrants passing through their country on the way to the United States to claim asylum.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan described the three efforts the United States wants to see from Mexico:

    • More vigorous efforts by Mexico to secure the border between Guatemala and the Mexican state of Chiapas. The Guatemala-Chiapas border is approximately 500 miles—small as borders go. For comparison, the U.S.-Mexico border is close to 2,000 miles.
    • A crackdown on the organizations that help migrants travel through Mexico to the United States. These organizations range from the criminal—a RAND corporation study estimates that Central American cartels made $2.3 billion on human trafficking across the U.S.-Mexico border in 2017—to the activist groups organizing massive surges toward the U.S., to the bus lines that have arisen to facilitate entrance to the U.S. There’s a reason why more migrants are appearing in large groups—Customs and Border Enforcement report that they’ve found 180 groups of more than 100 people since October, compared to only 13 in the previous 12-month period, and only two the year before.
    • Finally, McAleenan says he wants “align with Mexico on asylum.” This is a reference to the “safe third country” agreement that is common practice throughout the rest of the world, but with which Mexico refuses to engage.

The article notes the rules on aslyum:

This is where the “safe third country” doctrine comes in. Under international law known as the Dublin Regulation, migrants seeking asylum are required to claim it in the first safe country they enter. The theory behind this is that if migrants are truly seeking shelter from persecution, rather than simply trying to use the system to reach a specific destination, they will stop in the first place they find relief.

One interesting aspect of this is that the migrants would be more culturally compatible with Mexico than America. Mexico speaks Spanish, their native language. America speaks English (or some form of it).

At any rate, it is time for a solution. I hope the tariffs the Trump administration is threatening to impose provide an incentive for Mexico to help stop the flow of illegal drugs and immigrants at our southern border.

Who Is The New Guy?

LifeZette posted an article today about the seemingly abrupt resignation of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kevin McAleenan will now become the new acting head of the Department of Homeland Security.

The article tells us a little about Acting Secretary McAleenan:

1.) McAleenan is a longtime border officer, “reflecting Trump’s priority for the department initially founded to combat terrorism after the September 11 attacks,” as Fox News noted.

2.) Trump wanted the “toughest cop” around on border security — “and McAleenan fit the bill,” the outlet also reported.

3.) McAleenan served as head of Customs and Border Patrol and was the nation’s top border security official; he was sworn into that job in March 2018. Prior to his confirmation, he was acting commissioner beginning Jan. 20, 2017, according to his biography.

4.) In that role, McAleenan oversaw 60,000 employees, managed a budget of over $13 billion, and ensured “CBP’s mission to protect national security while promoting economic prosperity,” as his biography also noted.

5.) Before that, he held several leadership positions at CBP and at one of its agencies, the U.S. Customs Service. In December 2011, he became acting assistant commissioner of CBP’s Office of Field Operations, leading “agency operations to secure the U.S. border while expediting lawful trade and travel at 329 ports of entry in the United States and 70 international locations in more than 40 countries.”

6.) From 2006 to 2008, he served as area port director of Los Angeles International Airport, directing CBP’s border security operations there and at 17 other airport facilities.

7.) After the 9/11 terror attacks, McAleenan focused on national security issues. In November 2001, he helped establish the Office of Antiterrorism in Washington, D.C. Two years later, he became executive director.

8.) Prior to government service, McAleenan practiced law in California. He received his law degree from the University of Chicago Law School.

9.) He earned a bachelor of arts in political science from Amherst College in Massachusetts.

10.) He is 47 and was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. He is married to Corina Avalos McAleenan, a Deloitte executive; they have two children.

Congratulations, sir, you have probably just accepted the most miserable job in the universe–Congress not only won’t help you, they will fight you and the President in the courts every step of the way. However, the American people are behind you.

According to an article posted at Power Line yesterday by John Hinderaker:

Do you think illegal immigration is a serious problem? If you are like 67 percent of likely voters, you do. If you think illegal immigration is a very serious problem, you have plenty of company–47 percent of voters.

Of course, if you are running for president as a Democrat, you don’t think illegal immigration is a problem at all. Eight percent of likely voters agree with you. Not only do none of the Democratic presidential candidates want to build the wall, some of them want to tear down barriers where they already exist.

Best wishes, Secretary McAleenan, I sincerely hope you can do what needs to be done.

Our Southern Border

CNS News posted an article yesterday detailing what is happening at the southern border of America.

The article reports:

Rodolfo Karisch, chief of the U.S. Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector, told the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight, Management and Accountability on Thursday, that the Border Patrol in his sector has intercepted illegal aliens trying to enter the United States “from 40 different countries, including Bangladesh, Turkey, Romania and China.”

“I want to provide some perspective on the challenges facing our men and women at the Southwest border,” Karisch told the committee in his opening statement. “Though I cannot speak for all of the components of Customs and Border Protection, I can provide a first-hand account of the complex border-security environment and ask for your assistance in helping our frontline men and women.

The article includes some statistics to illustrate what is happening at our southern border:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has published a spread sheet listing the number of illegal aliens apprehended in each border sector in 2017 by their nation of citizenship.

Of the 303,916 who were apprehended that year along the U.S.-Mexico border, only 127,938—or approximately 42.1 percent—were from Mexico.

1,364 of the deportable aliens intercepted on the U.S.-Mexico border in 2017 were from the People’s Republic of China. Of these, 702 were intercepted in the Rio Grande Valley Sector.

564 deportable aliens from Bangladesh were intercepted on the U.S.-Mexico border in 2017. Of these, 304 were intercepted in the Rio Grande Valley Sector.

433 deportable aliens from Romania were intercepted on the U.S.-Mexico border in 2017. Of these, 94 were intercepted in the Rio Grande Valley Sector.

35 deportable aliens from Turkey were intercepted on the U.S.-Mexico border in 2017. Of these, 21 were intercepted in the Rio Grande Valley Sector.

It’s time to build a wall so that we know who is coming in.

This Will Continue As Long As There Is A Market For It

The Washington Examiner is reporting today that U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized 52 bales of cocaine near Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands last week. The street value of the cocaine is roughly $30 million.

The article reports:

CBP officials said Puerto Rico is becoming an attractive smuggling route this year for cocaine and heroin headed for the United States. In 2017, CBP seized nearly 66,000 pounds of drugs in and around Puerto Rico, more than any prior year on record.

“Drug trafficking organizations have always sought to use the Caribbean as a route to smuggle both narcotics and migrants. The logistics to do so are intrinsically more complicated than traversing the southwest border,” Jeffrey Quinones, a spokesman for CBP’s Puerto Rico and Virgin Island outposts, told the Washington Examiner. “Nonetheless, we have seen cyclical increases in the quantity of narcotics brought to these islands and a diversity of means to conceal and enter the product.”

This illustrates the need to have secure borders surrounding our nation. Obviously these drugs would not be smuggled in unless Americans were using them, but the fact remains that the flow of drugs needs to be stopped. At that point we will have a much better chance of helping those addicted.

Stopping The Drugs Before They Reach The Street

The Daily Caller reported the following today:

Authorities in a Texas community stumbled onto a massive shipment of cocaine being smuggled inside a golf bag during a traffic stop Thursday.

Officers with the Cameron County Sheriff’s Department pulled over a vehicle in Harlingen at the intersection of Bass Boulevard and West Business 83 Thursday evening for a routine violation. Officers searched the car after becoming suspicious, finding roughly 49 pounds of cocaine stashed inside a golf bag and an ice cooler, reports KVEO.

Police arrested driver Juan Antonio Montes Cornejo, a Mexican national, who faces narcotics trafficking charges that could put him in prison for up to 99 years.

…Large quantities of narcotics continue to infiltrate the U.S. due to the relentless efforts of traffickers, however, authorities are stepping up efforts to interdict the dangerous substances, particularly opioids.

Opioid seizures by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents nearly doubled from 579 pounds in 2013 to 1,135 pounds in 2017, a recent report from Democratic Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill shows.

I wonder how this cocaine got through the border. That might be something to look at. The fact that this man was stopped with that much cocaine is further proof that we need to do a better job of securing our southern border.

The Terrorists Are Already Here

Breitbart is reporting today that an improvised explosive device (IED) was found at an international bridge connecting Laredo, Texas, and Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico. The Mexican town is the headquarters of the Los Zetas cartel.

The article reports:

Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office issued a statement in regards to the recent discovery of the IED. The information released by Mexican authorities does not reveal the date that the bomb was left at the bridge, but confirmed that the explosive was active. The IED was left at the Las Americas International Bridge, also known as Bridge One. Neither the City of Laredo nor U.S. Customs and Border Protection has released any information in relation to the IED at the port of entry.

Mexican authorities de-activated the explosive device and removed it from the pedestrian lane of the bridge. While bomb threats are not unheard of at the various international bridges in Tamaulipas where cartels often flex their muscle; the discovery of an actual explosive device at the bridge is a first of its kind.

The border city of Nuevo Laredo is under the control of the Cartel Del Noreste faction Los Zetas cartel; a violent, transnational criminal organization that uses the Texas border city of Laredo as one of its main corridors into Texas.

The article further reports:

The knowledge of the IED at the border bridge comes days after as Breitbart Texas reported, Mexican authorities discovered two anti-personnel mines known as Claymores in the border city of Camargo, a Mexican city that sits immediately across the border from Rio Grande City, Texas. The mines were found in underground storage facilities used by the Gulf Cartel to hide weapons and ammunition. While the CDN controls Nuevo Laredo, the areas east of there are controlled by the Gulf Cartel. Both the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas criminal organizations have undergone a series of internal fighting and fracturing that is linked to the escalating violence in the various border cities with Texas.

Thank God for the fact that these weapons were discovered before they were actually detonated.

A Necessary Step

Judicial Watch released the following statement today:

In a major shift from lax Obama-era regulations, the Trump administration is finally allowing customs officers to screen all cargo trucks entering the U.S. from Mexico and sources on both sides of the border tell Judicial Watch Mexican drug cartels are fuming. U.S. Customs and Border Protection is using X-ray technology and other non-intrusive tools to screen 100% of cargo trucks crossing the southern border after eight years of sporadic or random screening permitted under the Obama administration.

“We felt like we were the welcoming committee and not like we were guarding our borders,” said veteran U.S. Customs agent Patricia Cramer, who also serves as president of the Arizona chapter of the agency’s employee union. “The order was to facilitate traffic, not to stop any illegal drugs from entering the country,” Cramer added. “We want to enforce the law. That’s what we signed up for.” Cramer, a canine handler stationed at the Nogales port of entry in Arizona, said illicit drugs are pouring in through the southern border, especially massive quantities of fentanyl, an opioid painkiller that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) says is more potent than morphine.

Approximately 471,000 trucks pass through the U.S-Mexico border monthly, according to figures published by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The busiest port of entry is in Laredo, Texas where 167,553 trucks enter the U.S. from Mexico monthly, followed by Otay Mesa in California (76,953), El Paso, Texas (58,913), Hidalgo, Texas (45,355) and Nogales with 29,439. Other busy ports include East Calexico, California (29,173), Brownsville, Texas (16,140) and Eagle Pass, Texas (12,952). Trucks bring in everything from auto parts to appliances, produce and livestock. In fact, a veteran Homeland Security official told Judicial Watch that cattle trucks passed without inspection during the Obama administration because Mexican farmers complained that the security screenings frightened their cows. “Our guys were livid that we were not allowed to check cattle,” the federal official said.

Frontline customs agents stationed along the southern border confirm that trucks containing “legitimate” goods are often used by sophisticated drug cartels to move cargo north. This is hardly surprising since most illegal drugs in the United States come from Mexico, according to the DEA, and Mexican traffickers remain the greatest threat to the United States. They’re classified as Transitional Criminal Organizations (TCOs) by the government and for years they’ve smuggled in enormous quantities of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana. Last year the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the nonpartisan agency that provides Congress with policy and legal analysis, published a disturbing report outlining how Mexican cartels move record quantities of drugs into the U.S. Because cartels move the drugs through the Southwest border, western states have become part of what’s known as the “heroin transit zone,” according to the CRS.

Federal law enforcement sources tell Judicial Watch Mexican cartels operate like efficient businesses that resort to “other more treacherous routes” when necessary, but driving through a port of entry in a cargo truck is a preferred method of moving drugs. Cartels station shifts of spotters with binoculars in Mexican hills near border checkpoints to determine the level of security screenings. “They know if we’re on the job, the level of screening that we’re conducting,” Cramer said. “The cartels watch us all the time.” Nogales is a favorite for cartel spotters because the U.S. checkpoint sits in a valley surrounded by hills on the Mexican side, where unobstructed views facilitate surveillance. “They see everything,” Cramer said. For years the cartel spotters saw that much of the cargo passing through the checkpoint was waved through, according to agents contacted by Judicial Watch.

We have no right to complain about the opiate epidemic in America if we are not willing to take the actions necessary to stem the flow of illegal drugs coming into the country.

Why Policy Matters

The Los Angeles Times posted an article today about the stretch of wild brushland between the Rio Grande and the sprawling Texas border cities of Hidalgo and McAllen. That deserted piece of land was one a bustling crossing point for illegals coming into the United States. It is now very quiet.

The article reports:

Across the Southwest border, the number of immigrants caught crossing illegally into the United States has dropped dramatically. Fewer than 12,200 people were apprehended in March, a 64% decrease from the same time last year, and the lowest monthly number in at least 17 years.

…”We don’t really have a normal anymore,” said Castro, who has worked for Customs and Border Protection for nearly 20 years. She insists agents are not doing anything differently; the Trump administration’s executive orders are simply enforcing laws already on the books.

“Are you going to risk a 1,000-mile journey and pay $8,000 to be smuggled if you’re not sure you’ll get to stay?” Castro said, offering a reason she thinks fewer asylum seekers are crossing over. “I wouldn’t.”

Some of the reasons people are fleeing Mexico and countries south of there are the drug cartels and the gangs. It would make sense to work with some of the governments involved to clean up the drug cartels and the gangs. Unfortunately, that is very dangerous work, and the corruption runs deep. South American politicians who take on either the drug cartels or the gangs tend not to live very long. However, that is the answer. Ultimately, we need a wall to stop illegal immigration, but we also need a way to help stop the drug cartels and the gangs and to help the economies of our southern neighbors. We also need to understand that by not securing our borders, we are encouraging the drug cartels and the gangs to invade our country.

 

Who Got Deported?

Yesterday The Independent Journal Review posted a story about the recent deportations of illegal aliens in America by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Some of the Democrats in Congress have expressed skepticism about whether or not the people deported had committed crimes.

The article reports:

The raids stretched from California to New York, where more than 680 unauthorized immigrants “who pose a threat to public safety, border security or the integrity of our nation’s immigration system” were apprehended for deportation and jail, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said in a statement.

…There were 161 DUIs, 47 cases of domestic violence, 15 assaults with an aggravated weapon, 15 cases of sex offense/fondling against a child and dozens of other cases of sexual and violent crimes.

In total, 507 of the 683 apprehended immigrants had criminal convictions, on par with Kelly’s claim of 75 percent. However, as Democrats noted, some of the crimes were less severe, including traffic violations and shoplifting.

Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) told IJR, “If they’re lawbreakers, there are consequences to breaking the law,” adding:

“I don’t understand why we defend criminals. I don’t understand it. If the other side of the aisle wants to defend the criminals, I guess that could be their thing.”

I would like to know how they came up with the names of those who had not committed crimes other than entering the country illegally. However, DUI is a serious offense that can result in the death of innocent people. I have no problem deporting people who have not only broken the law to get here, but have broken the law after they got here.

It is interesting to note the following from an ABC News story from August 2016:

President Barack Obama has often been referred to by immigration groups as the “Deporter in Chief.”

Between 2009 and 2015 his administration has removed more than 2.5 million people through immigration orders, which doesn’t include the number of people who “self-deported” or were turned away and/or returned to their home country at the border by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

…According to governmental data, the Obama administration has deported more people than any other president’s administration in history.

In fact, they have deported more than the sum of all the presidents of the 20th century.

President George W. Bush’s administration deported just over two million during his time in office; and Obama’s numbers don’t reflect his last year in office, for which data is not yet available.

Somehow I just don’t remember the outcry.

Is The Government Really Trying To Keep Us Safe?

Judicial Watch was founded in 1994 by Larry Klayman. They are a non-partisan group the essentially files Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests in an attempt to foster transparency in government. They have been pretty much equally disliked by the Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama Administrations. However, they have a pretty good track record of getting what they want.

They posted an article on their website on Tuesday about some recent security briefings given to Somalis.

The article reports:

Judicial Watch today released 31 pages of records from U.S. Customs and Border Protection revealing that the Department of Homeland Security has given Somalis “community engagement tours,” including security briefings, in secured areas at least three major U.S. airports – Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Columbus, Ohio.

The records came in response to a May 2016 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, which sought records, documents and communications regarding a “Community Engagement Tour” in Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport on February 18, 2016.

The briefings provided to the Somali groups were so sensitive that in 14 instances the agency redacted portions of the records under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) exemption (B)(7)(e), the law-enforcement “risk circumvention” exemption, which reads:

Exemption 7(E) of the Freedom of Information Act affords protection to all law enforcement information that would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions if such disclosure could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law.

In another instance, Customs and Border Protection exempted under (B)(7)(e) a portion of a February 16, 2016, “Minute by Minute Agenda” provided during a tour/briefing of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP). The material that was withheld from Judicial Watch as too law-enforcement sensitive – but provided in full to the Somali group – included a section entitled: “TSA Overview — Processing [Redacted].”  The invitees were provided briefings of the Global Entry system, APC [Automated Passport Control] system, secondary screening procedures, baggage-screening procedures and given tours of the holding cells/interview rooms.

Notes from the February Minneapolis St. Paul Airport tour include: “Current CBP and TSA job vacancies were discussed. Attendees responded with requests for DHS outreach efforts during Somali community events to further advertise these positions to interested individuals.”

Minneapolis has historically had a problem with members of the Somali community going overseas to train as terrorists and then return home. I seriously question the wisdom of showing them our security measures at airports or recruiting them for the TSA.

The article concludes:

Eight senior ranking Homeland Security and Customs officials were tasked with accompanying and briefing the Somalis on the February 18, 2016, Minneapolis Airport tour, including the Minneapolis Area Port Director, the Assistant Port Director, the Watch Commander, a Homeland Security Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Senior Policy Advisor (flown in from Washington), the TSA Federal Security Director and TSA Deputy Federal Security Director.

The documents show Customs officials reporting that one of the invited individuals had given “CBP Chicago a hard time” following the last tour and noted three of the invitees had had investigations against them, which had since been closed.  Another invitee had an active investigation pending.

“Logically, information that is too sensitive to provide to Judicial Watch and the public should not have been given to a ‘community engagement tour,’” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.  “The U.S. government has been aware for years that Minnesota is a hotbed of Somali terrorist-cell activity. The behind-the-scenes tours and security briefings of the Minneapolis airport very well could have created a threat to public safety.”

In August 2016, the Judicial Watch blog, Corruption Chronicles, reported on the Muslim airport tour story: “The Obama administration gave Somali Muslims behind-the-scenes tours at a major U.S. airport after the group complained to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson about feeling harassed and profiled, government records obtained by Judicial Watch reveal. The special security tours not offered to any other group occurred at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport after Department of Homeland Security roundtable meetings with local Somali leaders to obtain feedback for ‘modifications to practices that would allow for operations to be more culturally sensitive.’”

I don’t think we need to be more culturally sensitive–I think we need to be more safe!

It’s Amazing How Things Change

This is a description of a bill passed in 2006. (Information on any Congressional legislation can be found at Thomas.gov).

Thomas.gov reports:

H.R.6061 – Secure Fence Act of 2006    109th Congress (2005-2006)

Shown Here:
Public Law No: 109-367 (10/26/2006)

(This measure has not been amended since it was passed by the House on September 14, 2006. The summary of that version is repeated here.)

Secure Fence Act of 2006 – Directs the Secretary of Homeland Security, within 18 months of enactment of this Act, to take appropriate actions to achieve operational control over U.S. international land and maritime borders, including: (1) systematic border surveillance through more effective use of personnel and technology, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, ground-based sensors, satellites, radar coverage, and cameras; and (2) physical infrastructure enhancements to prevent unlawful border entry and facilitate border access by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, such as additional checkpoints, all weather access roads, and vehicle barriers.

Defines “operational control” as the prevention of all unlawful U.S. entries, including entries by terrorists, other unlawful aliens, instruments of terrorism, narcotics, and other contraband.

Directs the Secretary to report annually to Congress on border control progress.

Amends the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 to direct the Secretary to provide at least two layers of reinforced fencing, installation of additional physical barriers, roads, lighting, cameras, and sensors extending: (1) from ten miles west of the Tecate, California, port of entry to ten miles east of the Tecate, California, port of entry; (2) from ten miles west of the Calexico, California, port of entry to five miles east of the Douglas, Arizona, port of entry (requiring installation of an interlocking surveillance camera system by May 30, 2007, and fence completion by May 30, 2008); (3) from five miles west of the Columbus, New Mexico, port of entry to ten miles east of El Paso, Texas; (4) from five miles northwest of the Del Rio, Texas, port of entry to five miles southeast of the Eagle Pass, Texas, port of entry; and (5) 15 miles northwest of the Laredo, Texas, port of entry to the Brownsville, Texas, port of entry (requiring fence completion from 15 miles northwest of the Laredo, Texas, port of entry to 15 southeast of the Laredo, Texas, port of entry by December 31, 2008).

States that if an area has an elevation grade exceeding 10% the Secretary may use other means to secure such area, including surveillance and barrier tools.

Directs the Secretary to: (1) study and report to the House Committee on Homeland Security and the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on the necessity, feasibility, and economic impact of constructing a state-of-the-art infrastructure security system along the U.S. northern international land and maritime border; and (2) evaluate and report to such Committees on U.S. Customs and Border Protection authority (and possible expansion of authority) to stop fleeing vehicles that enter the United States illegally, including related training, technology, and equipment reviews.

This is the vote in the Senate:

Alphabetical by Senator Name

Akaka (D-HI), Nay
Alexander (R-TN), Yea
Allard (R-CO), Yea
Allen (R-VA), Yea
Baucus (D-MT), Yea
Bayh (D-IN), Yea
Bennett (R-UT), Yea
Biden (D-DE), Yea
Bingaman (D-NM), Nay
Bond (R-MO), Yea
Boxer (D-CA), Yea
Brownback (R-KS), Yea
Bunning (R-KY), Yea
Burns (R-MT), Yea
Burr (R-NC), Yea
Byrd (D-WV), Yea
Cantwell (D-WA), Nay
Carper (D-DE), Yea
Chafee (R-RI), Nay
Chambliss (R-GA), Yea
Clinton (D-NY), Yea
Coburn (R-OK), Yea
Cochran (R-MS), Yea
Coleman (R-MN), Yea
Collins (R-ME), Yea
Conrad (D-ND), Yea
Cornyn (R-TX), Yea
Craig (R-ID), Yea
Crapo (R-ID), Yea
Dayton (D-MN), Yea
DeMint (R-SC), Yea
DeWine (R-OH), Yea
Dodd (D-CT), Yea
Dole (R-NC), Yea
Domenici (R-NM), Yea
Dorgan (D-ND), Yea
Durbin (D-IL), Nay
Ensign (R-NV), Yea
Enzi (R-WY), Yea
Feingold (D-WI), Nay
Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Frist (R-TN), Yea
Graham (R-SC), Yea
Grassley (R-IA), Yea
Gregg (R-NH), Yea
Hagel (R-NE), Yea
Harkin (D-IA), Yea
Hatch (R-UT), Yea
Hutchison (R-TX), Yea
Inhofe (R-OK), Yea
Inouye (D-HI), Nay
Isakson (R-GA), Yea
Jeffords (I-VT), Nay
Johnson (D-SD), Yea
Kennedy (D-MA), Not Voting
Kerry (D-MA), Nay
Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Kyl (R-AZ), Yea
Landrieu (D-LA), Yea
Lautenberg (D-NJ), Nay
Leahy (D-VT), Nay
Levin (D-MI), Nay
Lieberman (D-CT), Nay
Lincoln (D-AR), Yea
Lott (R-MS), Yea
Lugar (R-IN), Yea
Martinez (R-FL), Yea
McCain (R-AZ), Yea
McConnell (R-KY), Yea
Menendez (D-NJ), Nay
Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Murkowski (R-AK), Yea
Murray (D-WA), Nay
Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Nelson (D-NE), Yea
Obama (D-IL), Yea
Pryor (D-AR), Yea
Reed (D-RI), Nay
Reid (D-NV), Nay
Roberts (R-KS), Yea
Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
Salazar (D-CO), Nay
Santorum (R-PA), Yea
Sarbanes (D-MD), Nay
Schumer (D-NY), Yea
Sessions (R-AL), Yea
Shelby (R-AL), Yea
Smith (R-OR), Yea
Snowe (R-ME), Yea
Specter (R-PA), Yea
Stabenow (D-MI), Yea
Stevens (R-AK), Yea
Sununu (R-NH), Yea
Talent (R-MO), Yea
Thomas (R-WY), Yea
Thune (R-SD), Yea
Vitter (R-LA), Yea
Voinovich (R-OH), Yea
Warner (R-VA), Yea
Wyden (D-OR), Yea

Note that Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama voted to build the fence. Before the Democrats decided to make the border fence a political issue, they supported a border fence because they understood that it was necessary for national security. Unfortunately some time between 2006 and 2016 the Democrats chose to put party politics above national security. The border fence was never built, but the authorization is still there. It will be interesting to see if President Trump takes advantage of that authorization.