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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Our Southern Land Border, or Bienvenidos Todos!

(Another instance in which no link is necessary.)  The sensitive issue of immigration in this country has brought the current status of our southern land border to the front pages.  Being a south Texan, I know the border area.  Having once been an Immigration Officer working in Laredo, Texas, I understand a bit about the immigration issue as well.  But today I want to focus on the subject of national security.  Is the southern land border as porous as we hear from the far right?  Is it possible that terrorists may be taking advantage of our border issues to sneak into the United States?  I'm fortunate in that if I have any questions regarding Border Patrol or the Department of Homeland Security, I can reach out to any number of close friends who are still employed by that Agency.  I like to start out my commentaries with a few hard facts.  The United States Border Patrol (BP) has never been as successful as they are today in apprehending persons attempting illegal entry.  The BP is well trained and dedicated.  But recently the job  has evolved.  It has become difficult for each respective BP Sector to guard the border effectively when Agents are assigned duty watching over hundreds of minors from Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala.  Hopefully this event was an exception and will not become a regular occurrence.

Many folks misunderstand the reason we have so many undocumented Mexicans and Central Americans in the United States.  These people aren't all managing to avoid the Border Patrol.  In fact, most undocumented aliens in the U.S. were apprehended at the border....and subsequently released.  How can this be possible?  Since taking office, President Obama has taken steps to dismantle the procedures set in place to remove undocumented foreign nationals from the United States.  For some time now he has had in place a policy of "no deportations", excluding foreign national felons.  All persons apprehended at the border without proper documentation are given a hearing before an Immigration Judge.  That Judge almost always issues a "Notice to Appear" (NTA).  Then the alien is released onto the streets of the United States.  I kid you not.  Most Americans are unaware of this reality.  The hope is, the undocumented alien will show up for their hearing to plead a case of Asylum or Refugee Status, then if denied, the Border Patrol returns them to Mexico.  Not surprisingly, people rarely show up for the hearing.  The U.S. taxpayer pays billions of $ to train, outfit and salary thousands of Border Patrol Agents, who then apprehend the undocumented alien trying to make an illegal entry.  The alien is brought before the Immigrations Judge, who schedules a hearing and issues an NTA.  The alien then departs on their own recognizance.  In most cases they never show up for the hearing.  So why in heck do we continue to apprehend them in the first place?  Every effort to fix this problem has been stonewalled by the Obama Administration, who judges every issue involving Hispanics by the net political gain.

If nationals of Mexico and Central American countries are able to take advantage of this situation, should we be concerned that nationals of other nations can take advantage of our messed up system? Simply put, persons from the Near East with typically Semitic features look very similar to Mexicans and Central Americans.  That's my opinion, call me ethnically insensitive, a bigot, or whatever you want, and then lets move on.  In the past, Federal Law Enforcement was concerned about the possibility that a terrorist from Saudi Arabia (for instance) might pass themselves off as a Mexican national and take advantage of the NTA option.  Fortunately, most Near Easterners do not speak Spanish, and if they did, would do so with a pronounced accent.  Would it be possible for a team of four Al-Qaeda operatives to enter Honduras, spend time acclimating and learning Spanish, then work their way up to the Rio Grande River and attempt to enter the U.S.?  Absolutely it's a possibility.  But until recently it was less stress on the bad guy to just enter through a normal Port of Entry on a Tourist Visa.  Purchasing a viable, fake passport and Visa is not difficult.  In fact, when we examine the most famous domestic terrorist attacks (World Trade Center in 1993, World Trade Center in 2001, and the recent bombing at the Boston Marathon), the blind Sheikh of 1993 fame entered the country legally, the hijackers of 9-11 entered legally, and the assholes in Boston were native-born Americans.  Are we too concerned about the southern border?

The answer is a definitive NO.  Federal Law Enforcement becomes more and more efficient everyday at recognizing fake passports and Visas.  Also, the FBI is keeping a close watch on domestic mosques of interest, and certain Imams who have bizarre vacation destinations (Yemen?) and keep questionable company.  I have no doubt that a determined terrorist with the necessary funding and patience could enter the southern land border through three different methods.  First, pretend to be a Mexican, get apprehended, be served with an NTA, and be released onto the streets (of Brownsville, Progreso, Roma, Laredo, Del Rio, Eagle Pass, or El Paso); second, avoid apprehension by choosing a seldom-used route; or thirdly, pay a coyote to smuggle you across the border, pass the 25-mile checkpoint, and drop you off in San Antonio.  The reality is, all sovereign nations have a responsibility to the security of their respective citizens, to properly guard and defend the border.  The Democratic Party appears to not give a donkey's nutsack about the security of the border.  To them, it's an issue of courting the Hispanic vote.  This is one of a handful of issues that really give me the red-ass.  Border security should transcend politics.  People without proper documentation should not be allowed into the United States, I don't care how shitty their home country is.  These countries should do what we did- have a revolution, shoot the dictators and thieves that run your countries, and fix things at home, instead of becoming a burden on us.

Unfortunately I can't help but worry that the United States is headed towards another domestic terrorist attack. And I don't think it will be limited to a couple of cities and a couple of hours.  I think all hell will break lose.  And it very well could be exacerbated by groups of bad guys who snuck into the United States by illegally crossing our southern land border.  Then again, it could mostly involve home-grown bad guys, like the ones in Boston.  I doubt we will see a repeat of the 9-11 circumstances.  I no longer believe the bad guys would take the risk of attempting that kind of entry.  Let's hope we can get control of the mess on the border, and get back to normal enforcement procedures.  I hope we don't have to wait until 2016, because then it may be too late.

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