Blaming looming budget cuts, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) commenced the release of illegal immigrants from detention facilities across the country. ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen divulged that ICE has reviewed "several hundred cases" of detained illegals across the country and started releasing them into the streets over the last week. ICE claims that former detainees have been "placed on an appropriate, more cost-effective form of supervised release." As a former DHS LEO, this writer can tell you exactly what that means. Illegal aliens have been served with a Notice To Appear (NTA), which lists the date of their scheduled deportation hearing, and released without bond, on their own recognizance.
Would you like to guess how many of them will actually show up? Precedent shows that at least 90 percent of aliens released with an NTA won’t bother coming to their deportation hearing. You have to keep in mind that when these people were originally apprehended (arriving in a trunk, sewn into a car seat, welded into the wall of a van or acting as an imposter with a US citizen’s form of ID), these aliens were determined to penetrate our borders. Did it matter that they were doing it illegally? Not at all. When they get released into the streets with a piece of paper, most of them will consider their mission accomplished. They have it made. Our shamefully porous borders demonstrate how lightly America takes its own sovereignty - therefore we can’t expect anyone else to respect it.
Unbeknownst to the majority of law-abiding American citizens, the DHS has been releasing most non-Mexican immigrants into American society for years. Quite simply, their countries don’t want them back and the U.S. isn’t eager to finance their departure. An audit of the DHS demonstrated that the rate of “catch and release” instances has been steadily climbing, exceeding 70 percent of cases. Former DHS Inspector General Richard Skinner noted in one of his audits that “The situation takes on disturbing dimensions when incarcerated or dangerous illegal immigrants are released on their own recognizance because there's no space,” adding that funding shortages "encourage illegal immigration." Skinner referred to the outcome as "an unofficial ‘mini-amnesty’ program for criminal and other high-risk aliens." House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte said, "It's abhorrent that President (Barack) Obama is releasing criminals into our communities to promote his political agenda on sequestration… By releasing criminal immigrants onto the streets, the Administration is needlessly endangering American lives."
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano told reporters that across-the-board cuts would impact the department's core operations, including border security and airport screening operations. She said that DHS can’t neither afford to keep the 34,000 immigration jail beds mandated by Congress, nor “maintain the same level of security at all places around the country.” Napolitano threatened that the impact would be "'like a rolling ball. It will keep growing." Another rolling ball that keeps on growing is the DHS expenditures on its own imperial expansion. For years, yours truly watched Napolitano appear before various Appropriations Committees, asking for funding to build new DHS headquarters and to hire more bureaucrats. At the same time, Madam Secretary was proposing to cut down the number of the proverbial “boots on the ground”. Napolitano opined that our border security is not a first priority, since she views it as “our last line of defense and not as our first.” She certainly succeeded, since the new DHS headquarters are now being erected, which is the largest construction project in GSA history.
This 1.3 million square foot complex is described by GSA as “dazzling” and is fittingly located on the campus of a former mental health facility (St. Elizabeths Hospital). Does anyone else see the irony here? Paging Dr. Freud!
When complete, the DHS campus will feature 4.5 million square feet of work space and 1.5 million square feet of structured parking. The agency says that it will encourage more of a “corporate culture” to develop against DHS managers. Just what we need…. By the way, this is the largest construction project in the Washington metropolitan area since the Pentagon was built during World War II. Think about that.
What else can we afford to pay for? Oh yes, there’s a whopping $5.5 billion dollars of stimulus funds that is being used “to convert federal buildings to high-performance green buildings and to build new, energy-efficient federal offices, courthouses and land ports of entry.”
Then there’s San Ysidro Port of Entry – the largest and busiest land border crossing in the U.S. and in the Western Hemisphere, which is set to undergo a number of “green upgrades” that will cost American taxpayers over $700 million dollars. According to the official data provided by the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, only 6 out of the total 24 lanes are routinely open. Having personally served there as a CBP Officer, yours truly can testify that the number of open lanes at our nations biggest border crossing is at times even lower. Why is this massive Port operating at a mere 1/4th of its capacity? Because it’s grossly understaffed. According to the DHS, the lack of human resources for the San Ysidro POE is in the “hundreds” and the CBP Officers needed at all Ports of Entry located along the U.S./Mexico border is in the “thousands.”
As a result of the ongoing project, the San Ysidro Port of Entry, which processes about 20% of all travelers entering the U.S., is about to get a whole lot bigger. Once the Port is demolished and rebuilt, the number of vehicle lanes will increase from 24 to an astonishing 62 double-stacked vehicle inspection booths. Since the DHS is not hiring enough LEO’s to work at the border, the majority of fancy new lanes will not function. The only time they’ll be open is when members of Congress or other important politicians arrange an official visit to the border. In those instances, as the writer personally observed, local Port management routinely erects Potemkin villages to fool VIP visitors. It should be noted that the DHS’ fiscal year 2013 budget did not request additional funds to hire CBP Officers, in spite of the fact that our Ports of Entry are lacking thousands of security and inspection employees.
According to the Department of Commerce, the cumulative loss in output due to border delays over the next ten years is estimated to be $86 billion, while the wait times are steadily increasing and the vehicle traffic is estimated to grow by 87% percent in the next two decades. More traffic, plus more vehicle lanes, plus less inspection personnel, equals unprecedented chaos at the bursting border. All the while, the DHS is releasing illegal aliens, building humongous new headquarters and equipping Ports of Entry with drought-resistant cacti and low-flow toilets.
Since the Department of Homeland Security clearly gave up on its stated mission of protecting our borders, its name should be amended to reflect what the agency truly stands for. The Department of Harassment and Surveillance would be a more fitting title, as the beleaguered entity is openly dedicated to targeting, intimidating and watching law-abiding American citizens, demonizing veterans, trolling social sites to fish for information, silencing whistleblowers and terrorizing true patriots. It’s a sad time in American history, as enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws has officially taken the back seat to unbridled bureaucratic spending.