Monday, April 24, 2006

Homeland Security: Be Scared. Be Very Scared

There is a lot to be scared about in Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff's declaration that the feds are going to crack down on illegal immigrants with techniques similar to those used to go after organized crime.

Why is this all so terribly misplaced and so very wrong?
Because while illegal immigration is a big problem, it is not the same problem as defending the homeland against commercial aircraft hijackers, dirty nuclear bomb assemblers, anthrax-enabled attackers and other terrorists through increased vigilance and infrastructure safeguards.

Going on five years after 9/11, that still should be the core mission of the Department of Homeland Security, not chasing down illegal aliens at Houston pallet manufacturing plants. As it is, DHS has failed miserably at that core mission.

The benchmark of that failure is DHS's systemic incompetence in the aftermath of one of Mother Nature's dirty bombs -- Hurricane Katrina. There is no evidence that things have gotten any better, only that DHS is in the thrall of what is euphemistically called "mission creep."
Furthermore, the crackdown on illegal immigrants is politically motivated insofar that it plays to a disenchanted right-wing Republican base that supports criminalizing immigration. A House passed "reform" bill would do just that. Criminalization provisions were stripped from the Senate version of the bill before it became hopelessly bogged down on the entire issue earlier this month.

Be scared for real homeland security. Be very scared.

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