The Halloween Terror Attack Showed Why Michael McCaul’s “Border Security For America Act” Bill Won’t Work

by Alex Gonzalez

The legislation sponsored by chairman of the Homeland Security Committee Michael McCaul of Texas  dubbed “the Border Security For America Act” is supposed to protect American from terrorists attacks. However, the “Halloween terrorist attack” in New York City showed how unpractical McCaul’s bill will be to protect Americans from terrorist attacks inside the United States. And he knows it.

McCaul has argued that his bill will stop any threats to our national security and “and potential terrorists to slip through the cracks.  This is the type of security Americans have long demanded and deserve.” But in the interview with Morning Joe (see video above) McCaul purposely failed to mention his own bill when he talked about the “Halloween terror attack.” That is because his bill is irrelevant when it comes to protecting American citizens from real terrorist attacks like the ones perpetrated in New York City, Boston and San Bernardino.

In fact, if  McCaul really wanted “the Border Security For America Act  to be about “national security” he would have included funds to boost  the FBI counter-terrorist  task force and to create a special task force to monitor social media in the U.S., the actual tools used by ISIS to recruit people in the U.S.; the bill would have also strengthened the Visa Wavier program the allows citizens of about 30 nations come to the U.S. without applying for a Visa. But just like the Waiver Visa program, more resources for the FBI to prevent terrorism in the the country is left out of The Border Security for America Act.”

Like all terrorist attacks perpetrated inside the U.S , the Halloween terror attack, Boston and San Bernardino have been perpetrated by American citizens and immigrants that came to the U.S. legally and were screened at American airports by DHS agents and never crossed the southern border. “The Border Security for America Act” proposed by McCaul, which already passed in House Judiciary Committee with support from all Republicans from Texas, fails to address the real connections of what causes terrorist attacks in the U.S. to the people that actually commit these attacks; the legislation does not address the Visa Waiver programs where citizens of European nations with large Muslim population like the UK and France can come to the U.S. without a Visa.

McCaul’s bill includes a $10 Billion dollar “wall,” 5000 more Border Patrol (CBP) agents, and an increase of ICE agents for interior “enforcement.” However, in McCaul’s plan, nothing he proposes is factually related to what actually generates terrorist attacks in the U.S.; and a $10 Billion “wall,” more “boots on the grounds” and drones on the southern border will be futile against terrorists who legally come through our airports.

Here is the Summary of  “The Border Security for America Act.”

  • Authorizes Border Wall  – Provides $10 billion for the deployment and construction of tactical infrastructure and technology to achieve full operational control and situational  awareness. This deployment includes wall, fencing, technology, air assets, and other barriers
  • Puts More Boots on the Ground – Adds 5,000 Border Patrol Agents and 5,000 CBP Officers and streamlines the way that veterans and existing law enforcement officers can be hired.
  • More Air and Marine Flight Hours – Increases the number of annual flight hours of CBP’s Air and Marine Operations and prioritizes requests for support from the Chief of the Border Patrol to secure the southern border.
  • Use of the National Guard – Authorizes use of the National Guard along the southern border to help with aviation and intelligence support and provides $35 million in reimbursement for states, like Texas, that have called out the National Guard to help secure the border.
  • Border Patrol Access to Federal Lands — Prohibits federal agencies from impeding, prohibiting, or restricting CBP activities on federal land located within 100 miles of the southern border to execute search and rescue operations, and to prevent all unlawful entries into the United States.
  • Supports Local Law Enforcement — Doubles the Stonegarden grant program at $110 million for state and local law enforcement to aggressively fight drug trafficking, smuggling, and other crimes on the southern border.

Moreover, about the same number of Canadians and Americans joined ISIS in Syria, which suggests that Canada has a big problem with home-grown jihadists just like U.S.. According to Rep. McCaul own estimates in the interview, we have about 200 American citizens who went to the Middle East, possibly to be trained, have returned to the U.S.. But again, he failed to mention how his bill will help FBI’s effort to monitor Americans and Canadians to prevent terrorist attacks inside the country.

In the past, MaCaul has sponsored similar a legislation that did not address real “structural problems”  with immigration and emphasized only unrealistic border enforcement mechanisms; he called it “Secure our Borders First Ac.”

Unfortunately, it seems that “the Border Security For America Act” is more a manifestation of Trump agenda to criminalize immigrants and make Mexico look as a source of criminals and potential terrorists and militarize the border; all under the pretense of National Security. But fact is that “The Border Security for America Act”  will fails to really address the factual sources of terrorist attacks inside the U.S.- American citizens and legal immigrants coming through our airports,  not through the southern border.

 

Alex Gonzalez is a political Analyst and Political Director for Latinos Ready To Vote. Comments to vote@latinosreadytovote.com or @AlexGonzTXCA

 

 

 

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