‘Recalibrating’ DHS Into Oblivion



As the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) nears its 20th birthday, left-leaning think tanks want the agency to “recalibrate” its mission and reduce its supposedly “outsized focus on immigration enforcement.” Downplaying, even ignoring, lawlessness at the border, the recommendations make a mockery of DHS’s title, and expose Americans to ongoing threats.

Open borders groups have been honing the recalibration theme for a decade. Last year, the Center for a New American Security – with funding from the State Department, global corporations and progressive foundations – complained that DHS immigration operations had “grown disproportionately large in size and broad in scope.”

With the Biden administration in office, another center, the Center for American Progress (CAP), sees an opportunity to ratchet down enforcement.

“Many of today’s most serious threats to America’s safety and prosperity — natural disasters, pandemic disease, cyber attacks and violent white supremacy — originate at home or are borderless by nature,” CAP opined. As such, the group is promoting “five new core values [for DHS]: connecting, communicating, facilitating, welcoming and helping.”

DHS is getting on board. FAIR reported that the agency is using private contractors to expedite asylum applications at the border. Raul Ortiz, the new boss at DHS’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency, plans to drop the health-related Title 42 removal rule and allow more illegal aliens to enter the U.S. Meantime, removals by Immigration and Customs Enforcement are at all-time lows.

The welcoming “Get to Yes” philosophy that Alejandro Mayorkas peddled at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) during the Obama years dovetails with the new rhetoric about “facilitating,” etc. As DHS secretary, Mayorkas is now in position to “recalibrate” on a massive scale.

But DHS was never intended to be a “welcoming” and “helping” operation. Rather, in the words of the agency’s mission statement, it was “born from the commitment and resolve of Americans in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.” Security remains Job One, even in the left’s “borderless” world.

With 240,000 employees dispersed among 22 agencies, DHS must seek ways to improve its organization and sharpen its focus — particularly as Team Biden flatlines its budget. While the Border Patrol is overwhelmed and understaffed at the southern border, the agency last week filled executive positions to facilitate international trade. CBP’s dual role as the nation’s largest law enforcement agency (Border Patrol) and the second biggest revenue collector (Customs) may be incompatible to the point of counter-productivity. Fuzzy platitudes about recalibration do nothing to address this problem.

Bottom line, DHS is entrusted with the critical task of securing the homeland. Anything that blurs this mission, or detracts from it, is to surrender American sovereignty. It is an exercise in defeatism … or worse.

About Author

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Bob Dane, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)'s Executive Director, has been with FAIR since 2006. His deep belief is that immigration is the most transformational determinant of where we are heading as a nation and that our policies must be reformed in the public interest. Over many years on thousands of radio, TV and print interviews, Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment, increase wages, improve health care and education and heighten national security. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.