Don't Just Shut Down the DHS -- Get Rid of It
The world's most useless government bureaucracy (and the competition is stiff) has got to be the Department of Homeland Security. From its creepy name to its kluge of ill-fitting departments, this panicked overreaction to 9/11 is a disgrace to America. Now someone's finally making the case against it:
Congressional Republicans are once again holding the government hostage against a budget authorization bill, this time threatening to put the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) into furlough. Maybe it’s time to call them on their bluff and go one step further: Let’s shut down the DHS. The agency is no longer relevant in an age where cyberterrorism may be the new normal, and it’s doing the United States more harm than good.
As Ashley Parker at the New York Times reports, obstructionist Republicans are so determined to get their way on immigration policy that they’re willing to let the agency’s funding lapse rather than authorize a bill that includes immigration provisions. “Some House Republicans,” she wrote, “have expressed a willingness to let the agency run out of money.”
And maybe we should. Permanently.
In retrospect, the Bush administration did almost everything wrong after 9/11: it attacked the wrong country (Iraq, instead of Saudi Arabia, which might actually have done some good, global-security-wise), it penalized honest Americans via the horrendous TSA instead of immediately closing the country to all Arabs and Muslims until we could sort them out; and it created a bureaucratic monster that, by definition, was ill-suited for the purpose for which it was allegedly established.
I agree with most of the points in the linked piece, including the fact that DHS's nearly $40 billion budget is an absurd waste of money, especially on an agency that will not defend the country's borders in any meaningful fashion. I also agree that law enforcement has become far too militarized (once again, punishing Americans for the crimes of foreigners) and that our surveillance culture is out of control. Where I part company with the author, however, comes with Point 5: "It's time to end the war on immigrants," when in fact it's precisely time to start the war on "immigrants" -- by which I mean "invaders" -- and also with Point 7: "We need to focus on internal problems," by which the writer means "domestic terrorism."
Here's the argument:
The DHS is an active participant in the war on immigrants in the United States—the very same issue that the president and the House are trying to tackle. Undocumented immigrants of all stripes are being treated like base criminals, from housekeepers trying to send money home to their families to hardened criminals with extensive records. Immigration and Customs Enforcement reports 315,943 “removals” for 2014, including those of people without criminal records.
Meanwhile, close to 450,000 immigrants are held annually across the United States, with many living in substandard, terrible conditions in crowded facilities while waiting for their day in immigration court. It can take months or even years to get to court, and because undocumented immigrants are not citizens, they are not entitled to the legal rights that would make such gross delays in justice a civil rights violation under the law. ICE and related agencies have created a logistical nightmare for the government and a terrifying reality for immigrants, not to mention a wildly expensive immigration tangle; the U.S. spent a reported two billion dollars on immigration detention in 2014.
Tough. If they can't come here legally, the hell with them. And quoting the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is basically a Leftist hate group, does very little to advance one's argument. Still, five out of seven ain't bad.