The “HS” In DHS Means Our Prison, Not Our Protection

The border has never been safer.

That was Janet Napolitano’s testimony recently. She praised her Department’s accomplishments (in other words: boasted in her own) saying that the border “has never been stronger.”

And she has evidence to back this up. The number of illegal aliens apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security has never been lower. Obviously, this means that fewer of them are managing to penetrate our border security and arrive in this country illegally. Obviously, we have less to fear than ever before as far as a foreign terrorist getting onto US soil with a plan and a weapon.

But perhaps you can think of another possible implication of the fact that DHS is catching fewer illegal aliens than ever before. Even under the best of circumstances, it would be possible that more illegal immigrants are escaping detection than ever before. How do we know that DHS is really doing its job? Can DHS offer us any way of double checking that this?

I don’t know if Janet Napolitano has an answer to that question. I could understand that it is hard to prove a negative. But there is a further problem. Rather than attempt to give us assurance o that point, DHS has changed their record-keeping to make it even harder to find out if they are really keeping the border strong. Fox News reports that DHS “no longer measures illegal immigrants who get away — only those it catches.”

Got that? Every single suspected or identified illegal alien who is pursued but who evade capture goes unreported and untallied. So while she’s bragging on her record, she has actually made that record less accurate and herself less accountable.

These people are not our protectors, they are our prison guards. If some terrorist actually did manage to breach our border and kill Americans, we all know that the immediate response would be to give more power and money to DHS. That’s become the American way. No one with authority and a duty to guard Americans has anything to fear from a disaster. Quite the opposite. When Americans die, new powers are given to government agencies and new programs are developed.

During 9/11, General Richard Myers was acting head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. On November 1, he was officially appointed the head and went on to receive more authority. He retired with full honors in 2005, warning about the Iraqi war that “the outcome and consequences of defeat are greater than World War II”—a statement that seems to fit quite will with his “retirement” income from relationships with several major defense contractors. General Ralph Eberhart was Commander in Chief of NORAD on 9/11. He too was promoted.

My point is not that these two men are evil or even incompetent. That really doesn’t matter. My point is that these two men (among others) presided over major tools of national defense at the time of the most spectacular and fatal failure in of security in US history. You simply can’t keep people safe if the most important overseers of safety know they will never be held to account. That may seem like a cruel truth in the case of a genuine anomaly, but it is still true. Presidents are supposed to protect the American people, not high ranking friends.

So no wonder Napolitano isn’t bothering to keep records that would give her a clue as to whether or not she was really doing her job. If no attack comes, she’ll brag on her record. If an attack comes, she’ll demand more money and power. She knows from history that we have a long tradition of never actually blaming the people in charge when anything goes wrong.

In the meantime, DHS is out there stopping Americans and interrogating them without cause within a hundred miles of a border. We’re not protected. We’re in prison.