Tag Archives: DHS

Now the acting homeland security boss hits the road

Surely I am not the only American who has this nagging sense that the Donald Trump administration is continuing to unravel, that it is a ship without a rudder, that the “fine-tuned machine” needs a serious overhaul.

Perhaps it should come at the very top of the chain of command.

The acting homeland security secretary, Kevin McAleenan, is calling it quits. Think of this for a moment: At the time when the president wants to crack down on illegal border crossings, trying to secure the “homeland” against evil doers intent on harming us, the guy charged with running the department is bailing.

Sure, the president said some nice things about McAleenan, who inherited the “acting” gig upon the (forced) resignation of Kirsteijn Nielsen. Then again, he often does even when he doesn’t mean it. McAleenan reportedly had been clashing with other senior Trump administration officials, perhaps even with the president himself, over policy matters.

So now the latest acting Cabinet secretary is hitting the road.

There are damn near too many acting secretaries and senior agency heads to count. We do have an acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, who’s basically taken a powder while the president struggles against the rising tide of evidence that is likely to lead to his impeachment.

But what the heck. Trump has said he likes having all these acting secretaries and senior agency bosses. It gives him “flexibility” in enacting policy pronouncements that pour forth from his Twitter account.

Whatever that’s supposed to mean.

So now the individual charged with protecting our “homeland” is gone. Who’s next, and when will that fine-tuned machine start functioning as one?

I don’t know the answer to the first part of the question. The second part? The executive branch of government will right itself when we get a new president of the United States.

Trump rattling his fellow Republicans with DHS purge

Donald Trump is on a tear through the agency formed to protect Americans against enemies of our nation.

He has fired (essentially) the secretary of homeland security, gotten rid of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, canned the Secret Service director. There are threats of more dismissals/resignations to come.

Republican senators are shaking their heads, according to Politico. Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa said she thought DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was doing a “fantastic” job.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said “It’s a mess,” referring to the border situation and the confusion and chaos at DHS.

Yep, it’s a mess, all right.

I believe that is exactly how Donald Trump prefers it.

Cohesion and smooth operation? Forget about it! Yet he calls his administration a “fine-tuned machine.” The president is not hearing the clanks and misfires from the political “engine” he has built.

I guess I’m allowed to wonder how all this tumult at Homeland Security is going to affect the agency’s ability to, um, secure the homeland.

Trump mocks his appearance, then fires him . . . coincidence?

The president had soured on Alles a while ago, even making fun of his looks, calling him Dumbo because of his ears, two officials said.

That would be Randolph Alles, the soon-to-be former head of the U.S. Secret Service. The observation of Donald Trump’s view of Alles comes via Twitter from Peter Baker, chief White House correspondent for the New York Times.

OK, I happen to believe what Baker is reporting. I completely believe that the president of the United States is fully capable of exhibiting untold cruelty toward individuals. Example? Recall the time he mocked NY Times reporter Serge Kovaleski’s severe physical disability.

So now we hear that Trump (allegedly) mocked Randolph Alles, the man in charge of the agency whose most high-profile job is to protect the president and his family.

Must I remind readers of this blog who think the sun rises and sets on Donald Trump’s vacuous head that he ain’t exactly GQ material.

Would it surprise anyone that this man, the president, is systematically alienating himself from the public service professionals who put everything on the line in service to their country? To think the denigration and the disgrace comes from someone who has no clue about what it means to serve the public.

It wouldn’t surprise me.

Not in the least.

National security suffering from government shutdown

Donald Trump says the partial government shutdown is aimed at improving national security. He wants to curb illegal immigration along our southern border and says The Wall will do the job. He wants money to pay for its construction.

OK, but what about national security?

The shutdown has had an impact on the Department of Homeland Security, the Cabinet agency directed specifically to protect us against threats to, um, the homeland.

Airport security? Let’s see. Those TSA security agents are being denied paychecks for them to do their job. Many of them are calling in sick to protest the shutdown. Thus, airport security is put in jeopardy.

What’s more, we are learning that most of the terror suspects apprehended in the past year have been nabbed at — where do you think? — our airports!

If this wall matter is related to national security and if the president wants to shutter part of our government to get Congress to spend $5.6 billion to pay for a project he pledged would be paid by Mexico, then how does the shutdown improve our national security?

Just my guess . . . but I believe it inflicts grievous injury to it.

Mend ICE, don’t end it

I happen to agree with a former homeland security secretary who is pushing back against progressive politicians’ call to get rid of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Jeh Johnson, who ran the Department of Homeland Security in the Obama administration, said that ICE needs to be reformed. To end it completely, he said, would compromise national security, given that ICE is a law enforcement agency.

Not at all surprisingly, Donald J. Trump has said progressive politicians favor “anarchy” instead of law and order. Those who holler for an end to ICE only give the president ammo to fire at his political foes.

He is at his demagogic best when given such ammunition. Trust me on this, he has been reckless in the extreme in suggesting that anti-ICE forces actually want the country to be “overrun” by gang members, assorted criminals and anyone who wants to do us harm.

As Johnson wrote in an op-ed in the Washington Post: “Abolish ICE” makes for a good rallying cry on the left. Demanding the abolition of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency also provides President Trump with a useful weapon for bludgeoning Democrats politically. He has said as much, and a good portion of the American public will listen to him.

Read the entire Post essay here.

If there is a way to make ICE a more compassionate law enforcement agency, then let’s look for that solution rather than an outright abolition.

Dreamers find a new friend in the courts

The nation’s so-called Dreamers might not have a friend in the White House — even though he professes to “love” them — they are getting some needed relief from the federal courts.

Dreamers are those who came to this country under the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals. They were brought here by their parents, yes, illegally, but they shouldn’t be punished — or deported — because of something Mom and Dad did.

A D.C. federal judge has just ruled that DACA recipients shouldn’t be deported by the federal government. Moreover, District Judge John Bates has ordered the government to accept new applications.

I’ll point out here that Judge Bates was appointed to the bench by Republican President George W. Bush. Donald J. Trump, also a Republican president, has vowed to eliminate the DACA program established by President Barack Obama. He keeps running into roadblocks set up by the federal judiciary. Judge Bates is just the latest.

In his ruling, Bates said, according to The Washington Post: ” … the Trump administration’s decision to phase out the program starting in March “was arbitrary and capricious because the Department (of Homeland Security) failed adequately to explain its conclusion that the program was unlawful.”

I will keep saying this  until I run out of breath — or until my fingers fall off — but the DACA recipients know no other country than the United States. To deport them, sending them back to countries they do not know, is heartless and inhumane. DACA is intended to grant these individuals a temporary reprieve from the threat of deportation, which the Obama administration hoped would incentivize them to seek permanent legal immigrant status or U.S. citizenship.

Donald Trump doesn’t see it that way.

I disagree with the president’s assertion that DACA recipients should be deported. I also am heartened by the courts’ persistent stance in defense of U.S. residents who deserve a chance to continue living in the Land of Opportunity.

McConnell acts like a grownup on DHS bill

Well, glory be.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell actually is capable of acting like a governing grownup. Good for him.

He wants the Senate to pass a “clean” Department of Homeland Security funding measure, without trying to undo President Obama’s executive action on immigration. He’s now putting the screws on the House of Representatives, which might resist the Senate boss’s efforts to keep DHS functioning after Friday.

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/233757-mcconnell-puts-squeeze-on-house

Without the funding bill, DHS will furlough 30,000 federal employees and will effectively shut down, putting the nation’s borders at risk of infiltration by undesirables — you know, drug smugglers and terrorists.

It’s not that McConnell wants to give Obama a pass on the immigration action. He said he’s willing to vote on defunding the executive action after voting on the DHS bill. Whatever.

The big story is that McConnell is willing to avoid shutting down a key national security agency over a partisan political fight.

National security — protecting the homeland, for instance — ought to be above partisanship. In this day and time, though, everything becomes a partisan battle. Everything!

Congress has shown a propensity for pulling rabbits out of its hat. The DHS funding issue has a lot of Americans — including me — worried about the level of gamesmanship both sides are willing to play, even if it involves protecting the nation.

Lawmakers have three whole days to get this thing done.

Do it, ladies and gentlemen.