Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Summary: Sec Chertoff´s Testimony before the Senate 9/10/07

All, I´ve summarized Sec. Chertoff´s testimony before the Senate for you so you can quickly review it. If you want to study the longer version, access the link. Please note the sections on Border Security and Results. Please comment with your perspective on his Testimony.

Testimony of Secretary Michael Chertoff Senate Committee on Homeland Security
Release Date: September 10, 2007
Washington, D.C.September 10, 2007

Because the focus of this hearing is threats to our homeland, my testimony will highlight only the first three goals: preventing dangerous people and dangerous cargo from entering our country, and protecting critical infrastructure.

1. Protecting Against Dangerous People
a. Passenger Screening: info electronically gathered thru Advance Passenger Information System (APIS)
b. Secure Identification: Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) includes - As of January 23, 2007, citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda seeking to enter or re-enter the United States from within the Western Hemisphere must present a valid passport or acceptable alternative document. Beginning January 31, 2008, we will also end the acceptance of oral declarations alone at the border and require U.S. and Canadian citizens to present either a WHTI-compliant document or government-issued photo identification, such as a driver’s license, and proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate. Fully implementing WHTI in 2008: travelers will need WHTI-compliant documents – a passport, a passport card, a NEXUS card for land and sea border crossings. We also continue to work with states to enhance the security of driver’s licenses under the REAL ID Act.
c. Border Security: remain committed to effective border security to prevent the illegal entry of people between our ports of entry. Increased the size of the Border Patrol from 9,000 agents in 2001 to 14,500 agents today. Deploy thousands of National Guard forces to support construction of new fencing and vehicle barriers, with a target of 370 miles of fencing and 300 miles of vehicle barriers by the end of next year. We have installed high-tech cameras and sensors, and deployed unmanned aerial vehicles as part of SBInet. We have expanded CBP air and marine branches to increase our coverage of the border. We have established Border Enforcement Security Task Forces to work collaboratively with state and local partners to fight criminal activity in border cities. And we have developed an Intelligence Campaign Plan for Border Security to provide comprehensive intelligence support for our operations.

RESULT: we have seen significant decreases in apprehensions – down 21 percent overall along our southern border, and in some sectors down as much as 68 percent – reflecting decreased flow due to stepped-up security. While we will never be able to hermetically seal our border, our efforts have strengthened our ability to keep dangerous people out of the country and have made our nation safer.

2. Protecting Against Dangerous Cargo
a. Overseas Inspection
b. Radiological and Nuclear Detection

3. Protecting Critical Infrastructure
Whether our aim is protecting boats, bridges, or other critical infrastructure, we cannot do so effectively without strong partnerships with private sector owners and operators of our nation’s critical infrastructure.
a. Sector Specific Plans: 17 Sector Specific Plans of the National Infrastructure Protection Plan. Roadmap for working with private sector to assess vulnerabilities in our nation’s infrastructure, set priorities, measure our effectiveness, and ensure accountability. This is the first time in our nation's history that the government and the private sector have come together on such a large scale – across our entire economy – to develop a joint plan to reduce risk and protect key assets and resources. It is a tremendous milestone for our Department, the private sector, and the American people
b. Aviation Security: add additional layers of security to protect the traveling public
c. Improvised Explosive Devices
d. Chemical Security
e. Biological Security
f. Cyber Security

4. Sharing Information and Intelligence
Effective information collection, analysis, and sharing.
a. Office of Intelligence and Analysis
b. State and Local Fusion Centers
c. Closed Circuit Television: States and cities have taken the lead in developing information and intelligence fusion centers with important support from our Department, including more than $300 million in grant funding. But another important counter-terrorism tool we continue to support is the development and deployment of closed circuit television (CCTV) systems. (Big Brother?)
d. National Applications Office

5. Working as One Team
Our value as a Department rests in our network of assets and people, and our ability to leverage that network to achieve integration and work effectively with our federal, state, and local partners.

6. Conclusion
I believe the reason there have been no additional attacks against our homeland is because we’ve successfully raised our level of protection and we’ve succeeded in frustrating the aims of our enemies. That’s not to say our efforts have been flawless or that our work is done. On the contrary, we must move forward aggressively to build on our success to keep pace with our enemies.


patriot said...

Although most of it sounds good, I am disappointed that only half of the fence will be built. President Bush signed into law that we would have over 700 miles of fencing, not 370 miles. I would like to know why.

"Big Brother"? What's that all about? Any measures that are taken to secure our country's borders, ports and airspace is worth any kind of inconvenience to us. Anyone who whines about it has an un-American agenda. If there ever is a dirty bomb imploded that managed to get smuggled into our country, let's see what the whiners have to say then.

Dee said...

LOL Pat.
I was commenting on a camera in every corner, just like the book 1984.

Of course, we already do have this type of "protection" today. Consider the Traffic Signal cameras.

ultima said...

"Border Security: remain committed to effective border security to prevent the illegal entry of people between our ports of entry."

I think a large portion of the problem is at the ports of entry. When one looks at the volume of both pedestrian and vehicle traffic, it is obvious that the BP can do no more than a perfunctory check of credentials. Since counterfeit credentials are readily available south of the border, even rental passports, it stands to reason that the ports of entry are perhaps even more porous than the points in between.

There are two things that can be done and should be done. First, there must be a drastic reduction in cross border traffic -- no one should be allowed to live in one country and work in the other, commuter workers as it were. Second, all those seeking to enter the U.S. must have a machine readable document or ID that can be checked quickly against the data base of those who are supposed to be in possession of such documents or ID.

NAFTA, of course, is a disaster. No Mexican trucks should be allowed on American highways. All trailers must be unhitched at the border and re-hitched to American tractors for transit into the U.S.. This is the biggest vulnerability to terrorists who could easily acquire or establish a trucking company and bring their bombs into the U.S.. Again the volume of traffic will make it impossible for the BP to stop this.

ultima said...

"or acceptable alternative document."

There should be no acceptable alternative document except perhaps an H-2A visa. Alternative documents emasculate the passport requirement.

ultima said...

"our efforts have strengthened our ability to keep dangerous people out of the country and have made our nation safer."

What about their efforts to keep illegal aliens out of this country? An illegal alien could just as well be a terrorist.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. The decline in apprehensions at the border is a good sign if true. However, that needs to coupled with increased workplace apprehensions and expeditious deportations. After all, a terrorist could easily be there among the illegals already present in our country.

ultima said...

Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani says illegal immigration is not a crime. Technically, he is correct. When you throw an immigrant out of the country, it's not a criminal proceeding. It's a civil proceeding. But, obviously, he is not taking the illegal alien problem as seriously as he should.

"Illegal immigration shouldn't be a crime, either," Giuliani said,"... because the government wouldn't be able to prosecute it. We couldn't prosecute 12 million people. We have only 2 million people in jail right now for all the crimes that are committed in the country, 2.5 million." Perhaps we shouldn't prosecute murders either because we can't apprehend and prosecute all of them. Rudy's solution is close the border to illegal immigration.
These statements are a curious way to win the nomination. How is it that we can undertake civil proceedings against as many of those 12 million illegals as we can apprehend but we can't undertake criminal proceedings against them. Maybe he should suggest a change in the law along the lines of Sensenbrenner, HR 4437.

He doesn't explain why we are spending billions of dollars on the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement if no crime is being committed by the illegal aliens. Nor does he deal with the case of the repeat offender who returns to the U.S. after having been deported or removed. That person faces jail time -- a startling turn of events for something that is not a crime. Good luck, Rudy, with trying to close the border without criminal penalties.

Rudy missed the point altogether. You don't have to prosecute 12 million cases to send a message to the illegals that they are unwelcome and that we will prosecute as many as we can catch. All we need is a law that says illegal entry is a felony and visa overstays will be heavily fined and immediately deported.

Sorry Rudy, but no cigar!

Dee said...

Ultima, Speaking for me personally, I think AZ is following the right path. The laws they are enacting are forcing compliance by employers. They have set a hard date. I have read several articles about illegal immigrants there making plans to sell their homes and move back to their country of origin. Having a timeline and self repatriation is the most humane way for this whole process to work.

Dee said...

Doing it one state at a time is a also a good idea. This way the entire country can see success or failure with this plan.

Dee said...

Ultima "no one should be allowed to live in one country and work in the other,"

I totally disagree with your statement. I do agree that those that do work across the border should have machine readable IDs.

Remember the Maquiladoras that Ms Lupita talked about? With the ability to go back and forth, what will happen to these businesses? What about the Universities with campus buildings crossing both borders?

We have to have some room for movement. You will destroy the border towns and put them out of business.

ultima said...

It may require some sacrifices to achieve border control and security. Even though the Maquiladoras are American-owned and operated, it should be possible to have Mexican supervision for day to day operations. That way no one has to commute across the border on a daily basis -- just for periodic inspections and meetings.

Thus, nothing would happen to these businesses. The employees would all be Mexicans and no one would have to cross the border every day.
After all that is the purpose of moving these plants across the border, i.e. to have access to cheap Mexican labor.

I don't say that all cross border traffic should be stopped, just reduced to the level that the BP can handle and insure our security.There may be some problems with this approach. For example, there was a report about the amount of business done in San Diego by cross border shoppers. There is a solution - Maquiladora branch shops on the other side of the border or designated shopping days designed to equalize traffic among all days of the week. This is just a problem that needs to be solved. One could even meter the traffic by hour in much like the way certain businesses already encourage patrons to come during the slow periods or to call at certain off peak times of the day.

If universities were so stupid as to built cross border campuses, they may have to pay the price of re-locating the functions on the other side of the border.

I don't think the border towns would dry up entirely. They may be reduced to conform to the new limits on traffic but they will still be there. Moreover, the border towns are typically the most crime-ridden towns in the country so they wouldn't be missed if they disappeared altogether, not that that is likely to happen.

I believe there is a solution and that our security demands a reduction in cross border daily traffic. Let the BP set the rules and criteria based on what it needs to assure all crossers are legal and all documents are legit.

Dee said...

Ulty, You know I like you. However, it always amazes me how ANTIs act as if everything happened yesterday. The universities were built decades ago. The partnerships between both countries has been decades and decades long. This is not anything anyone can undo overnight. Then, you also have to think of the ramifications of the undoing of a parntership, like the universities.

The Immigration laws and unenforcement and bracero programs have been going on since the early 20th century.... 100 years.

It is so amazing people act as if they don´t know.

patriot said...

It doesn't make any difference what errors happened eons ago. They still can and should be corrected. Ultima has offered solutions to the problems you brought up.

Most regular Americans didn't know just how severe our illegal immigration problem was until is became intolerable. Of course our government knew but we are not giving away our country because our government was inept. We insist that the problem be fixed now. It is our right as citizens of this country.

Dee said...

How ludicrous. The border universities have been in place for decades. Thousands of students are enrolled and are in the midst of their education.

The problem most ANTIs have is they think all of this happened overnight and they suddenly discovered it. You MUST remember History.

We need Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

patriot said...

What is the name of this university that is half in the U.S. and half in Mexico? Is it under the jurisdiction of the U.S. or Mexico? I agree with Ultima here, "If universities were so stupid to build across border campuses, they may have to pay the price of re-locating the functions on the other side of the border."

Why do you keep harping about Americans thinking this illegal immigration problem happened overnight? That isn't so and even if it were what is your point? Our government did what it wanted to do against the will of the people. What part of that don't you get? We are not giving away our country because our government waa inept. History hasn't a damn thing to do with the decision that we Americans have made to take our country back. We don't care how it got this way or who is to blame, we are not going to take it anymore!

Dee said...

Pat, here you go.

University of Texas at Brownsville

My friend Latina Lista´s comments:
Texas-Mexico Border Fence Protests Begin This Weekend

Dee said...

Additionally, you are wrong. History is important. This did not happen overnight and it is very important to understand how we reached our current state. The fact you never protested earlier yet claim to know "it did ´t happen overnight" proves it.

patriot said...

So we understand how we reached our current state, so what? It just means that we want change now and that we don't ever want to get into this state again!

patriot said...

Since this university is under U.S. jurisdiction and we were stupid enough to build part of the campus in Mexican territory, then we need to shut down our campus buildings that are on the Mexican side and rebuild them on our side.

I don't care who doesn't want a border wall or for what reason. Our safety and soveirgnty are more important.

Dee said...

Pat, I don´t think its that simple. Many people are discussing and debating this issue as we speak.

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