Posts Tagged ‘U S Customs And Border Protection’

Jordanian criminal alien convicted of sexual assaults deported

by Jim Kouri on Sunday, March 17th, 2013

This is article 322 of 462 in the topic Immigration

Case shows unwillingness of Cook County to protect citizens

A Jordanian national with over one-dozen criminal convictions for felony sexual assault and unlawfully possessing a firearm was finally deported from the United States to Jordan by officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), according to an ICE report on Friday.

The Jordanian national, Nassar Issa Ibrahim Nassar, came to the attention of ICE agents on Oct. 17, 2011, when he was arrested at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport while attempting to re-enter the country, according to ICE.

An examination of the 49-year-old’s fingerprints by U.S. Customs and Border Protection revealed an outstanding criminal warrant for assault and battery in Cook County, Ill.

Unfortunately, even after ICE agents issued an illegal alien detainer order on Nassar with the Cook County Sheriff’s jail, Cook County officials released Nassar from custody the day after his arrest. The city of Chicago, which is in Cook County, and the surrounding areas are know as “Sanctuaries” for illegal aliens.

Cook County passed a major immigrant rights ordinance to free suspected undocumented immigrants being held in jails throughout the county — including Chicago — on misdemeanor cases, despite federal requests to hold them for possible deportation.

Both Chicago and Cook County have passed sanctuary ordinances that prohibit local governments from directly cooperating with federal immigration agents and from turning away undocumented immigrants for services.

“The daily release of criminal aliens into the streets, rather than into ICE custody, demonstrates how dangerous the current Cook County ordinance is to public safety,” said ERO Chicago Field Office Director Ricardo Wong. “Due to the current ordinance barring local law enforcement from honoring ICE’s detainers, egregious criminals are released to continue their criminal activities and endanger innocent people. ICE will continue to raise these public safety concerns with Cook County.”

ICE’s Criminal Alien Program ultimately located and arrested Nassar more than 6 months later on May 9, 2012, at a Cook County residence. A federal immigration judge ordered Nassar removed from the country August 22, 2012, based upon his status as an alien convicted of two or more crimes of moral turpitude and as an alien convicted of a firearms offense.

Nassar was removed on a charter flight from Alexandria, La. to New York via ICE Air Operations (IAO). From there, officers escorted Nassar to Jordan via commercial aircraft. Since 2006, the IAO, headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., has supported ERO by providing mass air transportation and removal coordination services to ERO field offices nationwide.

In FY 2012 ERO removed 409,849 individuals. Of those, approximately 55 percent, or 225,390 of the people removed, were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors – almost double the removal of criminals in FY 2008, according to ICE officials.

This includes 1,215 aliens convicted of homicide; 5,557 aliens convicted of sexual offenses; 40,448 aliens convicted for crimes involving drugs; and 36,166 aliens convicted for driving under the influence. Approximately 96 percent of ICE’s removals in FY 2012 fell into one of the agency’s priority categories – a record high.

Go straight to Post

Obama Shuts Down Southern Defense Mechanism, Opens South To Attack

by Bob Livingston on Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

This is article 99 of 128 in the topic National Security
Obama Shuts Down Southern Defense Mechanism, Opens South To Attack

SPECIAL

As the Federal government spends billions of dollars to expand the surveillance and monitoring of U.S. citizens with electronic eavesdropping devices and drone aircraft, it has decided to shut down a surveillance system that protects the southern border and coastline against low-flying aircraft and missiles and assists U.S. Customs and Border Protection in interdicting illegal border crossings and smuggling.

The Administration of President Barack Obama is shutting down the Tethered Aerostat Radar System (TARS) that uses moored balloons hovering at about 15,000 feet to watch for incoming aircraft and missiles that may penetrate U.S. air space. NORAD, the U.S. Air Force and customs all rely on the system.

According to an email to employees of Exelis Systems Corp., the company that built and maintains the system, the government has requested the program be shut down on March 15. Following is the text of the email:

Subject: TARS Contract Update

Tuesday, 15 January 2013, we received a government request for a proposal (RfP) to de-scope and close the TARS program by the end of the fiscal year. The government indicated that it does not intend to exercise the final two option years for the TARS contract. In the RfP, the government also indicated its intent that aerostat flight operations will cease on March 15, 2013, and that the remainder of the fiscal year will be used to deflate aerostats, disposition equipment, and prepare sites for permanent closure. We are currently reviewing all the details of the RfP and evaluating the possible impacts on the program and our workforce. We continue to communicate with the government on this matter, and we will have more information in the coming days and weeks.

The TARS program provides a critical capability to the U.S. government and we should remain focused on providing that service in an uninterrupted and robust manner.

The best thing we can do right now is to continue to provide the outstanding TARS support that has become the Exelis hallmark, while allowing the company and the government time to continue discussions on how to best support the customer, the program, and our workforce. We will provide regular updates as we know more. Should you have a specific question, please address them to Tim Green, Program Manager.

Tim Green, PMP

Program Manager

Tethered Aerostat Radar System

Exelis Systems Corporation

The Air Force’s website states: “(T)he system is capable of detecting low altitude aircraft at the radar’s maximum range by mitigating curvature of the earth and terrain masking limitations. TARS provides a detection and monitoring capability along the United States-Mexico border, the Florida Straits, and a portion of the Caribbean in support of the Department of Defense Counterdrug Program… In addition to its counterdrug mission, TARS surveillance data also supports North American Aerospace Defense Command’s air sovereignty mission for the continental United States.”

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, one Exelis employee told Texas GOP Vote this about the announced closure of the TARS sites:

“Not only will this closure mean hundreds of people will be out of jobs, but it also means our borders will not be safe, especially along the remote U.S. Mexico Border like in Texas. These defense radars detect low flying aircraft infiltrating our borders.

Click to continue reading “Obama Shuts Down Southern Defense Mechanism, Opens South To Attack”
Go straight to Post

Obama, Napolitano playing a Mexican border shell game, say cops

by Jim Kouri on Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

This is article 40 of 65 in the topic Border Issues

Following what President Barack Obama’s critics call his “amnesty announcement,” instead of hiring more Border Patrol agents to cover the U.S-Mexico border, several stations are being shut down, which Border Patrol agents, through their union, claim will make it easier for illegal aliens to enter and remain in the country. In addition, it is a reckless move that makes the U.S. more vulnerable to terrorists entering the U.S. with weapons of mass destruction, say law enforcement officials.

According to a Fox News Channel story on Friday, “[T]he Obama administration is moving to shut down nine Border Patrol stations across four states, triggering a backlash from local law enforcement, members of Congress and Border Patrol agents themselves.”

“Critics of the move warn the closures will undercut efforts to intercept drug and human traffickers in well-traveled corridors north of the U.S.-Mexico border. Though the affected stations are scattered throughout northern and central Texas, and three other states, the coverage areas still see plenty of illegal immigrant activity — one soon-to-be-shuttered station in Amarillo, Texas, is right in the middle of the I-40 corridor; another in Riverside, Calif., is outside Los Angeles,” said the Fox News report.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection says it’s closing the stations in order to reassign agents to high-priority areas closer to the border, said the report.

Many within the law enforcement and counterterrorism communities believe this move may be politically favorable in Obama’s quest to hold on to the Oval Office in November, but it does hinder U.S. defenses against terrorists and weapons of mass destruction which may be smuggled into the United States.

In an example of incompetence by the federal government agency created to keep Americans safe, the Department of Homeland Security has wasted $4 billion on a failed program to install crucial radiation detectors at U.S. border crossings, according to a government report.

Launched years ago, the costly effort was supposed to create and install detecting machines to intercept nuclear terrorists attempting to enter the country. The agency’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office was charged with developing and acquiring the essential equipment that could sniff out nuclear and radiological materials before they made it into the U.S.

But $4 billion later the machines are still not in place, according to a report (Combating Nuclear Smuggling) issued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of congress. Even more shameful is that machines were created but can’t be used because they’re too big for border inspection lanes. Additionally, the software installed in the devices doesn’t work properly.

The Homeland Security agency that’s supposed to use the equipment, Customs and Border Protection, had “made it clear” that it did not want the nuclear detecting machines because they would not fit in primary inspection lanes and would slow down the flow of commerce and cause significant delays.

On a positive note, top officials at Janet Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security admit that they are “mindful of getting something delivered that has credible bases for the implementation plan that follows.”

“Perhaps some high-ranking government official can translate that into plain English for taxpaying Americans stuck with financing the extravaganza,” said Judicial Watch officials.

In the meantime, lack of nuclear terrorist interceptors aside, the border is “as secure as it has ever been,” according to Napolitano.

Click to continue reading “Obama, Napolitano playing a Mexican border shell game, say cops”
Go straight to Post

Borders: Report gives DHS air and marine thumbs down

by Jim Kouri on Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

This is article 37 of 65 in the topic Border Issues

Department of Homeland Security officials supervise the largest law enforcement air force in the world, but they failed to perform their goals especially at U.S. borders, according to a new report obtained by the National Association of Chiefs of Police and the Law Enforcement Examiner.

Law enforcement, including border security forces, are increasing the number of drones available for surveillance and search operations, Photo credit: Police Times

On March 30, 2012, the Government Accountability Office issued a classified report on the effective use of both air and marine assets by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection directorate of the Homeland Security Department. This week the GAO released an unclassified version of what many believe is an important document. Information deemed sensitive has been redacted.

“Within DHS, CBP’s Office of Air and Marine deploys the largest law enforcement air force in the world. In support of homeland security missions, OAM provides aircraft, vessels, and crews at the request of the U.S. Border Patrol, which is responsible for enforcing border security,” the report states.

This specialized law enforcement capability allows OAM to make significant contributions to the homeland security efforts of DHS, as well as to those of Federal, State, local, and tribal agencies. To accomplish this mission, OAM utilizes over 1200 Federal Agents, operating from 80 air and marine locations, with more than 290 aircraft of 22 different types, and more than 250 maritime vessels.

The GAO was asked by Congress to determine the extent to which OAM met service requests; has taken steps to ensure its mix and placement of resources effectively met mission needs and addressed threats; and coordinated the use of its assets with the United States Coast Guard.

GAO analysts reviewed DHS policies, interviewed OAM, Border Patrol, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Coast Guard officials in headquarters and in 4 field locations selected on factors, such as threats and operating environments.

Results from these field visits cannot be generalized, according to analysts. GAO analyzed OAM support request data for fiscal year 2010, and surveyed OAM and USCG officials at 86 units to determine the extent of cooperation between the two agencies.

GAO’s analysis of the Office of Air and Marine (OAM) data found that OAM met 73 percent of the 38,662 air support requests and 88 percent of the 9,913 marine support requests received in fiscal year 2010.

The level of support differed by location, customers, and type of mission. For example, in its northern region OAM met air support requests 77 percent of the time and in its southeast region, it met these requests 60 percent of the time.

The main reasons for unmet air and marine support requests were maintenance and adverse weather, respectively. OAM has taken actions, such as developing an aircraft modernization plan and purchasing all-weather vessels, to address these issues.

OAM could benefit from taking additional steps to better ensure that its mix and placement of resources meets mission needs and addresses threats. GAO’s analysis of OAM’s fiscal year 2010 performance results indicate that OAM did not meet its national performance goal to fulfill greater than 95 percent of Border Patrol air support requests and did not provide higher rates of support in locations designated as high priority based on threats.

Click to continue reading “Borders: Report gives DHS air and marine thumbs down”
Go straight to Post

Mexico blasts U.S for not prosecuting border agent who killed illegal alien

by Jim Kouri on Sunday, May 6th, 2012

This is article 36 of 65 in the topic Border Issues

Mexican government officials blasted the U.S. government for “failing to prosecute a Border Patrol agent” who admitted he shot an illegal alien at the U.S.-Mexican border nearly two years ago.  An investigation revealed that the agent was being assaulted with rocks thrown by a gang of Mexicans, according to a legal watchdog group based in the nation’s capital.

The controversial shooting incident occurred in the summer of 2010 when the federal agent, Jesus Mesa, spotted a group of Mexicans crossing the Rio Grande near El Paso. U.S. authorities say Mesa fatally shot a teen (Sergio Hernández-Guereca) traveling with the group in self-defense after the teen and his friends threw rocks at the agent, according to Judicial Watch.

Last year a Texas judge dismissed a wrongful death lawsuit against the U.S. government but allowed a lawsuit against the agent to proceed. The Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) has spent the last two years conducting a “comprehensive and thorough investigation into the shooting” in an effort to file federal criminal charges against the Border Patrol agent.

But a few days ago the DOJ conceded that there is “insufficient evidence” to pursue federal criminal charges against Mesa. “The U.S. government regrets the loss of life in this matter, and the Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security devoted significant time and resources into conducting a thorough and complete investigation,” the DOJ says in a statement.

According to law enforcement reports, fifteen-year old Sergio Hernandez-Guereca was shot in his head as U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents tried to detain two men who had crossed into the United States illegally near the Paso del Norte Bridge in El Paso, Texas. The teenager was pronounced dead at the scene.

A federal law enforcement officer told the Law Enforcement Examiner that Hernandez was with a gang of youths throwing rocks at the agents. The anonymous law enforcement source stated that witnesses claimed one agent fired several shots toward the group, but Agent Mesa  claimed he acted in self-defense.

Mexican officials, including President Felipe Calderón, denounced the teen’s death. The country’s secretary of state said the use of firearms was a “disproportionate use of force” in response to rock throwing.

However, police use of force experts have told the Law Enforcement Examiner that the throwing of rocks by a suspect is considered use of deadly physical force according to the “Resistance/Force Continuum.” 

“There appeared to be no doubt that the border officer was being attacked using rocks. All you need is a direct hit on the skull by a rock to cause permanent brain injury or even death,” said Lieutenant Richard Fierra, a charter member of the Society of Police Black Belts and an expert in use-of-force training.

The Justice Department claims it conducted a comprehensive and thorough investigation into the shooting, which occurred while smugglers attempting an illegal border crossing hurled rocks from close range at a CBP agent who was attempting to detain a suspect.

The decision has been met with anger among Mexican government officials who have threatened to launch an international investigation. The Spanish-language news media presented the story as the exoneration of the American agent who assassinated a Mexican youth. In a diplomatic note from its secretary of foreign relations, Mexico’s government chastised the DOJ’s decision not to criminally charge the Border Patrol agent.

Click to continue reading “Mexico blasts U.S for not prosecuting border agent who killed illegal alien”
Go straight to Post

No prosecution of Border agent for shooting Mexican teenager

by Jim Kouri on Sunday, April 29th, 2012

This is article 35 of 65 in the topic Border Issues
A U.S. border patrol agent and his family were relieved on Friday when they were informed that the agent won’t be prosecuted for shooting and killing a Mexican teenager on the banks of the Rio Grande on June 7, 2010, according to a press statement from the U.S. Attorney General’s office.

Hernandez-Guereca crime scene following the altercation between U.S. border agents and Mexican illegal aliens. Photo credit: Police Times Magazine

Justice Department officials said in a news release that its “comprehensive and thorough investigation” determined there was “insufficient evidence to pursue federal criminal charges.”

The Justice Department also concluded that no federal civil rights charges could be pursued in this matter.  Under the applicable civil rights statutes, prosecutors must establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a law enforcement officer willfully deprived an individual of a constitutional right, meaning with the deliberate and specific intent to do something the law forbids.  This is the highest standard of intent imposed by law.

According to law enforcement reports, fifteen-year old Sergio Hernandez-Guereca was shot in his head as U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents tried to detain two men who had crossed into the United States illegally near the Paso del Norte Bridge in El Paso, Texas. The teenager was pronounced dead at the scene.

A federal law enforcement officer told the Law Enforcement Examiner that Hernandez was with a gang of youths throwing rocks at the agents. The anonymous law enforcement source stated that witnesses claimed one agent fired several shots toward the group, but the still unidentified agent claimed he acted in self-defense.

Mexican officials, including President Felipe Calderón, denounced the teen’s death. The country’s secretary of state said the use of firearms was a “disproportionate use of force” in response to rock throwing.

However, police use of force experts have told the Law Enforcement Examiner that the throwing of rocks by a suspect is considered use of deadly physical force according to the “Resistance/Force Continuum.” 

“There appeared to be no doubt that the border officer was being attacked using rocks. All you need is a direct hit on the skull by a rock to cause permanent brain injury or even death,” said Lieutenant Richard Fierra, a charter member of the Society of Police Black Belts and an expert in use-of-force training.

The Justice Department claims it conducted a comprehensive and thorough investigation into the shooting, which occurred while smugglers attempting an illegal border crossing hurled rocks from close range at a CBP agent who was attempting to detain a suspect.

During the investigation, law enforcement officers and forensic technicians collected, analyzed and reviewed evidence from the scene of the shooting as well as civilian and surveillance video. They also analyzed law enforcement radio traffic, 911 recordings, volumes of CBP agent training and use of force materials.  In addition, investigators reviewed the shooting agent’s training, disciplinary records, and personal history.  Also, they conducted site visits and analysis and consulted with the International Boundary and Water Commission concerning jurisdictional issues.

“The investigation revealed that the agent — whose identity has been well-protected — did not act inconsistently with CBP policy or training regarding use of force.  Based on a careful review and analysis of all the evidence, the team concluded that evidence would not be sufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the CBP agent violated the federal homicide laws in the shooting of Hernandez-Guereca,” according to Justice Department officials.

Click to continue reading “No prosecution of Border agent for shooting Mexican teenager”
Go straight to Post

Napolitano accused of falsifying border security data by lawmaker

by Jim Kouri on Saturday, March 17th, 2012

This is article 30 of 65 in the topic Border Issues

Napolitano remains on the defensive against the GOP in Congress and her own staff serving at the U.S. borders. Credit: DHS/CBP

The chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform said on Friday that he’s still waiting for Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to respond to a disturbing accusation that she and her underlings at DHS released deceptive and inaccurate information about illegal aliens sneaking across borders into the United States.

Chairman Darrell Issa sent Napolitano a letter on March 1 saying it is investigating agency insiders’ tips that her department and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection “released false and misleading border crossing data.”

“Without an accurate measurement of how many illegal entrants become ‘got-aways,’ there is no way to assess the safety and security of the southwest border,” said the Napolitano letter.

“Got-aways” are border crossers who are not arrested or turned back when they enter the United States illegally, according to Issa.

The National Border Patrol Council also says the report is misleading and that the increase in drug seizures actually means the Mexican cartels are more active and smuggling more drugs into the U.S.

Apprehensions along U.S. borders were down more than 50 percent — to about 350,000 — since  2008. More than 87,000 of those apprehended had criminal histories. The decrease is due to a more secure border, which results in less people attempting to cross into the U.S. illegally, the Napolitano report said.

However, the NBPC claims the figures used by Napolitano and her staff are deceptive and can be attributed to more and more illegal aliens being successful at evading border agents. Also, there’s a movement within the Customs and Border Protection directorate to create a “kinder, gentler” border patrol force.

“During mandatory Cultural and Environmental Awareness training that all Border Patrol agents must take, we learn that illegal aliens are now referred to as “cross-border violators”. We further learn that we should carry lots of garbage bags and assist the “cross-border violators” in hauling out their trash and disposing of it properly,” officials stated on the NBPC blog.

Union officials point to further evidence that Border Patrol field operations have been hijacked by politically correct bureaucrats and politicians in Washington, DC.

“We are glad to know that the huge army of Border Patrol staff officer bureaucrats in D.C. are busy finding new ways to try to lobotomize rank-and-file agents so they can be transformed into politically correct robots who are afraid to make a decision or aggressively enforce the laws of this country. After all, too many arrests of “cross-border violators” would not look good for another massive amnesty program,” according to NBPC officials.

In his letter to Napolitano, Issa quotes Shawn Moran, a senior border patrol agent stationed in the San Diego sector and vice president of the National Border Patrol labor union, in his interview with CNSNews:

“Any sort of metric that DHS comes up with I think is — I’m going to be skeptical about from the get-go.

Click to continue reading “Napolitano accused of falsifying border security data by lawmaker”
Go straight to Post

U.S. bound cargo remains vulnerable to terrorists, WMD

by Jim Kouri on Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

This is article 57 of 128 in the topic National Security

More than ten years after the 9-11 terrorist attacks, the U.S. is still struggling to protect the homeland. Credit: DHS

It’s been more than a decade since Islamic terrorists attacked the U.S., yet the agency created to protect the nation from another strike is asleep at the wheel, failing to adequately screen the monstrous amounts of cargo that enter the country each day, according to a government report issued this week.

“Cargo containers that are part of the global supply chain — the flow of goods from manufacturers to retailers — are vulnerable to threats from terrorists [including weapons of mass destruction],” state the government analysts who assembled data for the new report.

It may seem unbelievable to most Americans that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that more than ten years after the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history, the vast majority of cargo containers entering the U.S. go unchecked.  Incredibly, it’s true and the alarming details are outlined in the GAO report published this week by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of the U.S. Congress.

The Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) of 2002 and the Security and Accountability For Every (SAFE) Port Act of 2006 required the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to take actions to improve maritime transportation security.

Also, the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 (9/11 Act) required, among other things, that by July 2012, 100 percent of all U.S.-bound cargo containers be scanned. Within DHS, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is responsible for container security programs to address these requirements.

Sadly, the GAO report reveals that the DHS agency responsible for screening cargo, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), still lacks the ability to check 100% of the containers that enter the U.S. through seaports each day. Under the 9/11 Commission Act, all U.S-bound cargo containers must be scanned because they are vulnerable to threats from terrorists and could be used to smuggle nuclear and radiological materials.

To meet the goal, DHS has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on faulty systems that didn’t get the job done. In fact, the agency dropped more than $200 million on 1,400 radiation portal monitors that weren’t up to the task, according to a blog published by a public-interest group that investigates and exposes government corruption and ineptitude — Judicial Watch

“Uncertainty persists over how DHS and CBP will fulfill the mandate for 100 percent scanning given that the feasibility remains unproven in light of the challenges CBP has faced implementing a pilot program for 100 percent scanning,” state the GAO investigators.

In addition, the GAO reveals that several years ago it asked Homeland Security officials to perform an analysis to determine whether 100% scanning is even feasible, but the agency hasn’t bothered doing it.

Congressional investigators have logically concluded that CBP is “no longer pursuing efforts to implement 100 percent scanning” by the mandatory July 2012 deadline.

The GAO reveals that several years ago it asked Homeland Security officials to perform an analysis to determine whether 100% scanning is even feasible, but the agency never did it. Congressional investigators have logically concluded that CBP is “no longer pursuing efforts to implement 100 percent scanning” by the mandatory July 2012 deadline.

Click to continue reading “U.S. bound cargo remains vulnerable to terrorists, WMD”
Go straight to Post

Homeland Security Stops Thousands of Illegals From Entering U.S.

by Doug Powers on Friday, February 17th, 2012

This is article 27 of 65 in the topic Border Issues

The “illegals” in question are hair dryers, but hey, it’s a start:

President Obama’s border enforcement officials prevented over 13,000 dangerous hair dryers from entering the country, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) trumpeted today.

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized thousands of hair dryers recently that were determined to constitute a “substantial product hazard” under U.S. law, for failing to have adequate immersion protection,” DHS announced. “The potentially dangerous hair dryers were identified through a nationwide targeting operation by the CBP Import Safety Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center (CTAC).”

CBP seized the hair dryers at the ports of Los Angeles (9,768 hair dryers) and Miami (3,614) because they “lacked shock protection for consumers” in the event of the hair dryers’ immersion in water.

Why doesn’t the Justice Department/DHS let Mexican drug cartels run off with these?

The dryers were discovered after somebody phoned in a tip to the DHS’s “If you see a faulty hair care product, say something” line (1-800-DRYER-ZAP).

null

Go straight to Post

GAO reveals border security weakness despite Obama boasts

by Jim Kouri on Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

This is article 24 of 65 in the topic Border Issues

The Government Accountability Office examined the results of covert tests conducted over the last  year and — despite the boasting of President Barack Obama and his national security team — found significant weaknesses in the CBP inspection process at the ports of entry that were tested.

Despite claims of success by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, integrity tests continue to reveal vulnerabilities. Credit: Police Times Magazine

Recent incidents involving potential terrorists attempting to enter the country highlight the need for a vigilant and well-trained workforce at the border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), within the Department of Homeland Security, is the lead federal agency in charge of inspecting travelers and goods for admission into the United States.

About 20,000 CBP officers play a central role in ensuring that CBP accomplishes its mission of securing the border while also facilitating the movement of millions of legitimate travelers and billions of dollars in international trade.

The Government Accountability Office was asked by members of Congress to assess the extent to which CBP has revised its training program for newly hired CBP officers in accordance with training standards and identified and addressed the training needs of incumbent CBP officers. The GAO analyzed data and documentation related to the agency’s training efforts, such as its covert test program and its training records. GAO also interviewed CBP senior officials as well as rank-and-file officers.

CBP revised its training program for newly hired CBP officers in accordance with its own training development standards. Consistent with these standards, CBP convened a team of subject-matter experts to identify and rank the tasks that new CBP officers are expected to perform. As a result, the new curriculum was designed to produce a professional law enforcement officer capable of protecting the homeland from terrorist, criminal, biological and agricultural threats.

In addition, the curriculum stated that the CBP officer is to draw conclusions and take appropriate action to identify behavioral indicators displayed by criminals, effectively interview travelers to identify potential threats, identify fraudulent documents, and use technology in support of the inspection process.

CBP has taken some steps to identify and address the training needs of its incumbent CBP officers, but could do more to ensure that these officers are fully trained. GAO examined CBP’s results of covert tests conducted over more than 2 years and found significant weaknesses in the CBP inspection process at the ports of entry that were tested. In response to these tests, CBP developed a “Back to Basics” course in March 2010 for incumbent officers but has no plans to evaluate the effectiveness of the training.

Moreover, CBP has not conducted an analysis of all the possible causes or systemic issues that may be contributing to the test results. Further evaluation of the training and causes underlying covert test results could help inform CBP about whether the training is sufficient to address the weaknesses identified by the covert tests or if adjustments are needed.

In addition, CBP offices are responsible for recording their employees’ training records; however, CBP does not have a policy that assigns responsibility to port management to ensure that their staff enter data into its training records system completely and accurately.

Click to continue reading “GAO reveals border security weakness despite Obama boasts”
Go straight to Post

Featuring YD Feedwordpress Content Filter Plugin