The most important office is that of private citizen. – Louis D. Brandeis
On Monday, January 28, a bipartisan group of eight senators announced a proposal for comprehensive immigration reform designed to first secure the border, tighten enforcement, and give 11 million “undocumented immigrants” a path to citizenship.
Most notable among this group is Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), who said that reforming the U.S. immigration system “is crucial to national security and keeping the economy strong.” Not only is Senator Menendez busying himself with immigration reform, but he’s also engaged in all out damage control in defending himself against allegations that he hired underage prostitutes during trips made to the Dominican Republic. These trips were financed by Menendez donor, Dr. Salomon Melgen, a Florida eye doctor who has problems of his own stemming from an FBI led investigation involving Medicaid fraud.
The scandal has become slightly more embarrassing for Menendez who has assumed the role of interim chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, succeeding Sen. John Kerry, D-MA, recently approved as Secretary of State, replacing the outgoing Hilary Clinton.
No word yet on how his Dominican Republic relations are going to otherwise affect Senate foreign relations.
The compromise that is key to Republican support for the bipartisan reform is securing the border first before moving ahead with the path to citizenship. Securing the border first is precisely that which the White House is poised to reject “first” amid the claims that it has already secured the border.
And Now for My Next Trick…
In March 2011 at the Bridge of The Americas border crossing in El Paso, TX, Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, said, “There is a perception that the border is worse now than it ever has been. That is wrong. The border is better now than it ever has been.”
Strangely enough, one month later in April 2011, the U.S. State Department broadened its previously issued travel warning for Mexico, advising citizens to avoid certain areas. The State Department noted “serious risks” for U.S. citizens and that “you are strongly urged to travel only during daylight hours throughout Mexico, to avoid isolated roads and to use toll roads whenever possible.”
Arguably, this was almost two years ago and certainly a lot has changed since then. Right?
In November 2012, the House Committee on Homeland Security filed a Majority Report in which the following major findings were identified:
– Although the United States tightened security at airports and land ports of entry in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the U.S.-Mexico border remains an obvious weak link in the chain.
– Despite the near doubling of Border Patrol personnel, the Government Accountability Office found that only 44 percent of the Southwest border was under operational control.
– In 2012, National Guard presence on the Southwest border was reduced to 300 soldiers.
– The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) reports that there have been 58 incidents of shots fired at Texas lawmen by Mexican cartel operatives since 2009.
– Experts believe the Southwest border has become the great threat of terrorist infiltration into the United States.
– Iran and Hezbollah have a growing presence in Latin America.
– Hezbollah has a significant presence in the United States that could be utilized in terror attacks intended to deter U.S. efforts to curtail Iran’s nuclear program.
– Latin America has become a money laundering and major fundraising center for Hezbollah.
– Hezbollah’s relationship with Mexican drug cartels, which control secured smuggling routes into the United States, is documented as early as 2005.
– If Iran’s assassination plot against the Saudi Arabian ambassador in Washington, D.C. had been successful, Iran’s Qods Force intended to use the Los Zetas drug cartel for other attacks in the future.
The administration’s recommendation: Rest easy America.
Brett Braaten is the author of Homeland Insecurity: Failed Politics, Policies, and a Nation at Risk. His book brings his no nonsense, insider’s account of the current state of national security to help you decide whether you, your family, and your country are truly safe. Brett’s career as a writer and speaker is informed by 30 years of experience as a federal agent with U.S. Customs and the Department of Homeland Security. Brett Braaten draws back the curtain on the vast federal law enforcement bureaucracy to give a rare glimpse of behind the scenes agency responses to politics and policies that impact national security, sovereignty and the economy. “As a former special agent with both the U.S. Customs Service and later Immigration and Customs Enforcement, I enjoyed a great career. In retrospect, it was job satisfaction that most of us spent time looking for as we did our jobs in a system that fostered more obstacles than solutions.” Contact Brett at email@example.com .Visit his website, at www.homeland-insecurity.com for his thoughts and analysis of current issues affecting national security and the well-being of American families.