No Airport Security for Friendly Mexicans, says Napolitanoby Karl W Hoffman on Dec. 21, 2010, under Uncategorized
- This is not a joke!
As A US Citizen, I can’t fly from Tucson to Boston with out passing though a Border Patrol checkpoint on the road, then have a full body scan and pat down, but Mexican Nationals will be able skip the line at customs and complete their entry process at automated kiosks that are currently available in 20 major U.S. airports.
While Border Patrol has implemented the Se Busca project and is giving out flyers of the most wanted criminals in the border region, criminals will now be able to just fly!!
Lets just look back within this decade. Once the shock of the world trade center attacks transformed into anger and paranoia the demand for action became our governments answer to reelection. Then the witch-hunt would begin. Airport Security and black lists, Cell phone tracking devices, new personal identity requirements, the lists of liberties and freedoms being compromised grew longer and harsher as the constitution eroded way in the name of freedom.
It was only a matter of time be for the newly formed Home Land Security would be getting around to immigration and the need for reform. Actually this, in itself was about due, except from the start, goals and results became clouded and a situation developed by tightening of border security as a reaction not a plan, becoming a runway train involving millions of families and two countries. A playground developed for politicians, government contracts, human rights organizations, hate groups and organized crime putting innocent people in danger and disrupting an entire ethic culture affixed to the economic balance, within the United States and in Mexico while creating such savvier collateral damage the effects will be felt throughout this century.
The mission of Homeland Security and the tightening of the border was to protect this Country from terrorist attacks, sadly, it failed and fell into a trap that has changed the destiny of our world.
Did our government really think that a terrorist is going to dress like a migrant worker and try to walk across the Sonoran desert? The answer is no, but terrorism as an act did come across the Mexican/American border. While our government was looking in the opposite direction, they ignored the very simplest form of attack. A black death, no it wasn’t anthrax, it was meth. Terrorist organizations funded the Mexican Mafia to set up methamphetamine labs and continue to supply them with huge shipments of chemicals to manufacture a highly addictive strain of meth. Then use their long established drug dealing network to distribute it to every community through out the United States, attacking our country through our youth. Beginning in our rural towns it has spread to our cities. Because of it’s highly developed addictive qualities developed in overseas laboratories, Mexican meth is destroying families and individuals at an alarming rate.
Throughout history drugs have been used to take over countries or severely affect the direction of governments. US Law enforcement agencies did a great job of shutting down the low grade home manufacturer and boosting the business for Mexico.
Now because of the high rate of meth addiction in Mexico also, the severely reduced flow of migrant money and the fact that there is not enough drug money to go around, Cartels, now the backbone of a corrupt Mexican Government and are fighting over turf. An increasingly violent situation, with the use of real force is now spilling over the border into the US. The participants of this neighboring war are not like the migrant workers who come here for the jobs most of us don’t want to do, but commit vicious attacks, cold blooded murder, torture and gun battles to the death involving sophisticated firearms and explosives with new paramilitary tactics learned from terrorists trainers. Reports of Al Quida training camps in the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico are trickling across the border. While certain Humanitarian Groups are smuggling illegals and giving water and aid to border bandits, smugglers, drug runners, and criminals coming here to pray of society. We can surely sleep better knowing that a virtual fence is in place and feel much safer knowing that these people won’t have to be subjected to the perils of the desert any more but will be able to just fly to the US city of their choice. Did I miss something while I was at lunch?
Karl W Hoffman
Trusted Traveler Program Sparks Fears That Mexican Drug Cartels Could Bypass U.S. Airport Security
By Jana Winter
Published December 20, 2010
Mexican citizens will soon be eligible to apply for a “trusted traveler” status that will allow them to bypass some elements of airport security when they fly into the United States — a U.S. government-approved program that critics say could be exploited by violent drug cartels.
Under the program, Mexicans who have undergone background checks and are deemed low security risks will be able to fly into major U.S. cities and breeze through customs without being questioned by U.S. Customs agents.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and her Mexican counterparts announced their intent to roll out the program two weeks ago, trumpeting it as evidence of increased information sharing and law enforcement collaboration between the countries.
The program is an expansion of an existing trusted traveler program, the Global Entry Program, which was launched in 2008 and expedites pre-approved passengers through the airport customs and security process when they arrive in the U.S.
The program is designed to weed out low-risk passengers and enable authorities to zero in on those who may be more likely to pose a threat.
But critics say Mexico’s drug cartels will quickly learn how to exploit loopholes in the plan, and they point to the recent arrests of two pre-vetted “trusted travelers” caught trying to smuggle marijuana and other contraband into the U.S. through a Texas border checkpoint.
Sheriff Larry Dever of Cochise County, Ariz., says drug cartels could recruit Mexicans with clean backgrounds to attain trusted traveler status, and then use them to smuggle drugs and other contraband into the U.S.
“We know even on this side of the border that drug cartels recruit people to apply for jobs with Customs and Border Protection, Immigration — they keep them clean so they pass background checks,” he said.
But DHS officials insist that people who attain trusted traveler status don’t get a free pass.
“Trusted travelers are still subject to random searches,” said U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman Joanne Ferreira. “We do all these checks all the time to maintain the integrity of the program. We look at it very carefully.”
The Global Entry program allows U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have undergone a thorough vetting process — fingerprinting, background checks, interviews with customs agents, etc.— to attain a low-risk status that allows them to skip the line at customs and complete their entry process at an automatic kiosk. The kiosks are currently available in 20 major U.S. airports.
Mexican citizens applying for trusted traveler status will pay a $100 application fee and undergo thorough vetting by both U.S. and Mexican authorities. If approved for the five-year membership, their biometric and other information will be entered into a database that is rechecked every 24 hours, the DHS spokeswoman said.
Mexican citizens are already eligible for expedited land border crossings through another trusted traveler program, Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI). But DHS officials admit that system isn’t flawless.
Last week, two SENTRI trusted travelers were caught trying to bring contraband across the border into the U.S. through the SENTRI-only express border passage.
“The program in El Paso has been around since the late ’90s,” said CBP spokesman Roger Maier. “The program was designed to expedite entry for low-risk, high-frequency travelers. Occasionally someone will look at this as a chance to smuggle. Occasionally you will have someone who tries to press their luck.”
Maier noted that the two trusted travelers were caught because they still remain under scrutiny.
“We do trust, but we will verify,” he said.
But Dever says the arrests show that drug cartels could try to recruit people with clean backgrounds to be accepted into the program.
“It’s a sinister business,” he said. ”It’s calculated and well planned and they could develop these people early.
“This is a very sophisticated, very thought-out, forward-looking business — drug smuggling, people smuggling, it’s a huge enterprise. They’re not successful by guessing. They’re successful by planning and organization, and part of that is recruitment of operatives to infiltrate.”
Dever also criticized Napolitano’s launching of the program at a time of ever-escalating violence along the border.
“There’s obviously concern about abuse of anything like this,” said John Mill Ackerman, editor-in-chief of the Mexican Law Review and a professor of constitutional law at the Institute for Legal Research of the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
“There’s always the risk of people using legal status to commit crimes, and that’s why we have oversight. ”
He said critics of the policy have an unrealistic understanding of the border issue.
“People imagine it’s just destitute peasants trying to run across to get work and tourists trying to go south and that somehow you can check everyone coming across the border, but this isn’t possible,” he said.
But Geoff Freeman, senior vice president of the U.S. Travel Association, which has been an advocate of trusted traveler programs, said the program will benefit both travelers and security officials.
He said the Mexican Global Entry program will benefit frequent business travelers who, like other international visitors, boost the U.S. economy.
“We do need their business, we do need to create jobs. We are in a worldwide competition to attract travelers, their dollars, their minds, and right now we are not thriving in that competition; we’re drifting backwards,” Freeman said.
“We need to be asking two questions: It’s not just, ‘How do we keep the cartel out?’ The second part of the question is, ‘How do we keep those people in who don’t wish to do us harm?’ ”
“Want to win hearts and minds, get visitors here. Or we can throw the baby out with the bath water if two get arrested.”
Stewart Verdery, who helped develop the Global Entry program as an assistant secretary under former DHS Secretary Tom Ridge and is now a founder and partner at Monument Policy Group, a consulting group, said the new air trusted traveler program could make the tremendous volume of travelers from Mexico more manageable while freeing up resources.
“There is always going to be some minute chance that someone’s going to get through,” Verdery said, noting that he has trusted traveler status through the Global Entry program. (His vetting took three weeks.)
Dever said the program would also be more palatable if U.S. citizens traveling domestically could participate in this kind of program, too.
“We should probably do this domestically before we extend the olive branch to a foreign country,” he said.
“Maybe there’s some way I can get into this program so I don’t have to get manhandled by T.S.A.,” he said.