Our government was too lax before the attacks on 9/11. The results were so horrific and unforgivable that our leaders overreacted in attempts to convince the American people that they were in control. Two actions were implemented with haste. Congress passed an unconstitutional law; the Patriot Act; and it created the Department of Homeland Security.
The DHS is unnecessary. It simply duplicates the responsibility of other agencies in existence before 9/11. Before our government failed to protect us from terrorism in 2001, the FBI and CIA were the eyes and ears of our nation charged with that responsibility. Instead of strengthening those agencies, a knee-jerk reaction created an entirely new department which lacked experience and became simply another government expenditure.
A second function given to the DHS is border security. Once again, the Border Patrol should have been ‘beefed up’ and given additional powers and manpower. The DHS is responsible for the smuggling of drugs and guns across our southern border by the Mexican cartels. And so is the Border Patrol.
They are also in operation to perform the same function as the Department of Immigration and Naturalization. The DHS has been empowered to protect legal immigration while preventing others from violating our laws.
The DHS functions as a disaster response team. They dispatch agents to areas experiencing severe tornadoes and hurricanes as well as health epidemics. In other words they are expected to do the job of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. More duplication.
This agency is a waste of time and money. Any American who has worked for a government agency or has been forced to communicate with one, is fully aware that all agencies in the federal government constantly lobby for funding, and ‘do not play well with each other.’
The DHS is in the public eye this week for one particular reason. The bill which funds the DHS is likely to fail in Congress. Republicans have attached an amendment which would defund the President’s executive action giving nearly five million illegal residents a pathway to legal residence. Democrats will likely filibuster the bill and funding for the entire DHS will cease on February 27th.
Some Republican governors have joined Congress and approve the failure of the $40 million funding bill for DHS, ensuring removal of funds for the President’s action.
John Boehner, the Speaker of the House said that if the bill is not passed, Democrats will be to blame. His ‘my way or the highway’ approach has never worked before, and it won’t this time. Polls taken of American voters show that the people will blame Republicans.
A federal judge in Texas has stopped action to implement the President’s executive action on a technicality. The White House is appealing the decision.
Those who remain in limbo while politicians play games are parents of children who were born in the United States; they themselves arrived in our nation illegally, and could possibly be separated from their children.
How would it harm the nation if the DHS did not exist? It wouldn’t. A duplication of efforts weakens the intended effect. What our government should be doing is promoting more communication and cooperation between agencies which have existed for many years.
Commentary by James Turnage