The Sham of Homeland Security


One of President Bush’s much-vaunted ‘accomplishments’ since the start of his reign of terror is the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security. This cabinet post was created following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S., and brought with it artificial ‘safeguards’ to give the citizenry the illusion of increased security. Among these new ‘safeguards’ were allegedly tightened security at airports, resulting in hours-long delays for many travelers, and the purging of the nation of illegal aliens.

A recent article in New Jersey’s The Star-Ledger brings to light the myth of Mr. Bush’s new cabinet post, and exposes on a micro-scale the waste and home-grown terrorism that ‘Homeland Security’ has produced.

For example there is one Eleuterio Mosquera, a 56-year-old mechanic who had lived in the U.S. for seventeen years, during which time he had committed no crime other than remaining in the country after being told to leave. At 5:30 on a recent morning, Mr. Mosquera was leaving his Newark home for work at the recycling plant that had employed him for seven years, unaware that the two SUVs parked across the street contained a total of seven, heavily-armed federal agents. Mr. Mosquera never made it to his car; the agents arrested him, handcuffed him and took him to jail as his 78-year-old mother, a U.S. citizen, watched in horror.

Now it is certainly admitted that Mr. Mosquera, who came to the U.S. from Ecuador in 1991 and had been ordered back to that country that same year, did not do so. But it must also be admitted that he had lived quietly, working, paying taxes and minding his own business for nearly 17 years. He purchased and renovated a house in Newark, an area in desperate need of such attention. Yet despite his innocuous, productive and totally non-threatening life, seven federal agents were required to arrest him. One has difficulty understanding this. If the government was not going to leave him alone, why not quietly arrest him? How much does it cost to send seven federal agents after such a man? And, as the the old cliché asks: ‘Can’t they find some real criminals to arrest?’

But finding real criminals is no longer the task. Previously in NJ, the goal was that 75% of all illegal aliens arrested had to have a criminal record; there certainly is some logic in pursuing real criminals whether or not they are U.S. citizens. But because they are difficult to catch, that goal has been dismissed. Last year, of all those illegal immigrants arrested, a whopping 12% had criminal records. The rest were guilty of civil offenses, usually involving immigration violations. Scott Weber of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Detention and Removal, is unabashed. Said he: "Many times the criminal fugitives are harder to locate and take more time, but it doesn’t mean we’re not looking." He further stated that those guilty of immigration (civil, not criminal) offenses need to be caught because they too have violated the law.

Many of those arrested have been in this country for many years; they are homeowners, have children who are U.S. citizens and often only come to the attention of authorities because they have applied for residency. As reported by The Star-Ledger: "Critics say a program that was designed to deport the immigration system’s worst offenders is instead catching thousands of people precisely because they’re the ones trying to legalize their status."

Among those arrested recently were Isaac Nimni, an Israeli national who only came to the attention of authorities when his wife applied to sponsor him, and Rupi Rana, a 20-year-old student at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), majoring in computer programming and computer engineering, arrested along with his parents and a brother who holds a master’s degree from NJIT in computer programming.

Ironically, most of those arrested wind up at the Elizabeth, NJ Detention Center, not far from the Newark Liberty International Airport. One wonders about any relationship between the work of the ICE agents and the concept of liberty.

If federal agents are busy arresting immigrants guilty of nothing other than being in the U.S. illegally, men and women who are otherwise law-abiding, productive members of society, when other illegal aliens are, in the words of Mr. Weber, "harder to locate," what then, is the advantage? Why not devote the time that is currently spent harassing and forcibly deporting law-abiding people to finding those with criminal records? The answer, unfortunately, is obvious. In NJ during the last fiscal year which ended in September, ICE teams arrested 2,079 people, more than twice the number arrested the previous year. The fear-mongering Bush administration can point to these figures, and those from other states, to tell a frightened population that Mr. Bush’s efforts are bearing fruit; illegal aliens, who are all busy ramming jetliners into corporate office buildings, when they are not busy at work at recycling plants, raising their children, or studying in graduate school, are being rounded up like so much cattle and summarily deported back to from whence they came. And with names like Eleuterio Mosquera and Rupi Rani, they must certainly be up to no good.

Mr. Bush is busy building a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border, to keep out the likes of Messrs Mosquera and Rani. Yet no one is protecting the U.S. from the crimes of the Bush administration: illegal wiretapping, deprivation of freedom of speech among others, not to mention an illegal, immoral imperial war for oil.

For seven years Mr. Bush has relied on the combination of a gullible public, willing to cower in fear at the mere mention of the word ‘Islam,’ and a weak, spineless Congress without the slightest concept of the idea of ‘checks and balances.’ By finding immigrants seeking permanent residency and sending them back to uncertain and often dangerous futures he is able to foster the illusion that he is ‘protecting Americans.’ While he does so, U.S. citizens and Congress look the other way as the nation’s reputation is shattered throughout the world, as the U.S. attempts to steal Iraq’s oil and individual freedoms fade into a polluted sunset.

The list of victims of Mr. Bush is endless: nearly 4,000 U.S. soldiers have been killed and tens of thousands more seriously injured. Over 1,000,000 Iraqi citizens have died in his war, with millions more wounded. Over 3,000,000 have been displaced. Add to that the thousands of people who have lived blameless lives in the U.S. for years, lacking only the official paperwork allowing them to do so, who are now languishing in detention centers or who have been deported. And then add those who depended on them for a living and who are now bereft of their primary means of support.

This is U.S. society in the first decade of a new millennium. One hopes that a new president, to be inaugurated in January of 2009, will bring about welcome changes, but when looking at the front-running candidates, one is left with little optimism.

ROBERT FANTINA is author of ‘Desertion and the American Soldier: 1776–2006.

October 06, 2015
Vijay Prashad
Afghanistan, the Terrible War: Money for Nothing
Mike Whitney
How Putin will Win in Syria
Paul Street
Yes, There is an Imperialist Ruling Class
Paul Craig Roberts
American Vice
Kathy Kelly
Bombing Hospitals: 22 People Killed by US Airstrike on Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan
Ron Jacobs
Patti Smith and the Beauty of Memory
David Macaray
Coal Executive Finally Brought Up on Criminal Charges
Norman Pollack
Cold War Rhetoric: The Kept Intelligentsia
Cecil Brown
The Firing This Time: School Shootings and James Baldwin’s Final Message
Roger Annis
The Canadian Election and the Global Climate Crisis
W. T. Whitney
Why is the US Government Persecuting IFCO/Pastors for Peace Humanitarian Organization?
Jesse Jackson
Alabama’s New Jim Crow Far From Subtle
Joe Ramsey
After Umpqua: Does America Have a Gun Problem….or a Dying Capitalist Empire Problem?
Murray Dobbin
Rise Up, Precariat! Cheap Labour is Over
October 05, 2015
Michael Hudson
Parasites in the Body Economic: the Disasters of Neoliberalism
Patrick Cockburn
Why We Should Welcome Russia’s Entry Into Syrian War
Kristine Mattis
GMO Propaganda and the Sociology of Science
Heidi Morrison
Well-Intentioned Islamophobia
Ralph Nader
Monsanto and Its Promoters vs. Freedom of Information
Arturo Desimone
Retro-Colonialism: the Exportation of Austerity as War By Other Means
Robert M. Nelson
Noted Argentine Chemist Warns of Climate Disaster
Matt Peppe
Misrepresentation of the Colombian Conflict
Barbara Dorris
Pope Sympathizes More with Bishops, Less with Victims
Clancy Sigal
I’m Not a Scientologist, But I Wish TV Shrinks Would Just Shut Up
Chris Zinda
Get Outta’ Dodge: the State of the Constitution Down in Dixie
Eileen Applebaum
Family and Medical Leave Insurance, Not Tax Credits, Will Help Families
Pierre-Damien Mvuyekure
“Boxing on Paper” for the Nation of Islam, Black Nationalism, and the Black Athlete: a Review of “The Complete Muhammad Ali” by Ishmael Reed
Lawrence Ware
Michael Vick and the Hypocrisy of NFL Fans
Gary Corseri - Charles Orloski
Poets’ Talk: Pope Francis, Masilo, Marc Beaudin, et. al.
Weekend Edition
October 2-4, 2015
Henry Giroux
Murder, USA: Why Politicians Have Blood on Their Hands
Mike Whitney
Putin’s Lightning War in Syria
Jennifer Loewenstein
Heading Toward a Collision: Syria, Saudi Arabia and Regional Proxy Wars
John Pilger
Wikileaks vs. the Empire: the Revolutionary Act of Telling the Truth
Gary Leupp
A Useful Prep-Sheet on Syria for Media Propagandists
Jeffrey St. Clair
Pesticides, Neoliberalism and the Politics of Acceptable Death
Lawrence Ware – Paul Buhle
Insurrectional Black Power: CLR James on Race and Class
Joshua Frank
The Need to Oppose All Foreign Intervention in Syria
Oliver Tickell
Jeremy Corbyn’s Heroic Refusal to be a Nuclear Mass Murderer
Helen Yaffe
Che’s Economist: Remembering Jorge Risquet
Mark Hand
‘Rape Rooms’: How West Virginia Women Paid Off Coal Company Debts
Michael Welton
Junior Partner of Empire: Why Canada’s Foreign Policy Isn’t What You Think
Yves Engler
War Crimes in the Dark: Inside Canada’s Special Forces
Arno J. Mayer
Israel: the Wages of Hubris and Violence
W. T. Whitney
Cuban Government Describes Devastating Effects of U. S. Economic Blockade
Brian Cloughley
The US-NATO Alliance Destroyed Libya, Where Next?