Thursday, February 21, 2013

Border Security – Put Up or Shut Up (part 2)

          The actions in 1) - 4) above just address illegal immigration. But remember that the same cartels that move illegal immigrants, also move drugs, and fake merchandise, and children for sex. So let’s open the aperture a bit and see what else we can do.

5) We could demand improvements to local cooperation with law enforcement on immigration and other legal issues. As a minimum, every criminal jurisdiction in the US that processes an arrestee should cross check the names, finger prints and facial features against every other jurisdiction for “wants and warrants” as technology allows. And those identified for the violation of any federal crime should be remanded to the federal authorities. Local jurisdictions that refuse to participate should be denied federal law enforcement funds. And federal officials who will not support this enforcement of law should be removed from office.

6) We could further integrate law enforcement efforts focused on all the different parts of these criminal enterprises (not just immigration). If federal agencies will not cooperate, dissolve those agencies.
        Today, if the cartels send drugs across the border, that is a DEA issue. If they send explosives, that belongs to ATF (&E). If they smuggle people, that is a BCP (Border and Customs Protection) issue at the border, and an ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) issue inside the borders. That is, unless the people are smuggled for sex – human trafficking belongs to the FBI. One police chief of a 21 square mile area on the Texas border told me he had 32 law enforcement agencies working in his area. And here’s the trick – the current incentive system punishes them for working together.
        That’s right. Whoever gets credit for the bust gets to keep part of the take and can argue for more people and budget next year. Those who provide critical information but don’t make the arrest get . . . a warm feeling and nothing else.
        This is not a complaint against our law enforcement officials.  They are good people trapped in a bad paradigm. It is up to the President and Congress and Governors and State Legislatures and local officials to change this dysfunctional system.  Everybody on our team must work together enthusiastically, or work somewhere else.

7) An even bigger step would be to give this effort at integrating criminal intelligence the focus and resources it deserves. The “drone program” that has been so successful at dismantling Al Qaeda leadership overseas is only partly about drones.  Its best results come from an integrated intelligence effort that collects phone calls, emails, info from spies, banking transactions, and so forth . . . and tracks the bad guys relentlessly using thousands of people and systems. Surely if we could do that worldwide to find Bin Laden and his cronies, we could turn the same skills and technologies loose on the drug cartels, and the gangs that do their bidding and deliver their goods inside the US.   Domestic Fusion Centers do some of this work, but without adequate training, personnel, standardization, integration, funding, or controls. The war in Iraq is over. The war in Afghanistan is winding down. We need to transfer some of the effort and lessons learned to confront the bad guys who insist on violating our borders.

8) Twelve years after 9/11 we still have no system to track people who enter this country legally and overstay their visas – thereby becoming illegal immigrants. The President who wants to build a system to track 100 million American gun owners and know every time one of them sells a shotgun to his brother, seems disinterested in tracking the much smaller number of people who come in through our ports and airports, and just don’t go home. This can and must be fixed as a top priority.

©Dave McIntyre 2013

Continued as part 3 – next . . .

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