In general, I avoid delving into politics on FlyingWithFish. Politics, albeit, often play a key role in topics I cover—from aircraft financing to government agencies. Today, however, I’m straying—slightly—from what I normally cover. In doing so, discussing the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP), an agency I have covered many times.
Over the course of the past few weeks, right-wing politicians in the U.S. have increased their distain over the “border crisis” of illegal immigrants entering the U.S. In vocalizing their outrage, they’ve used every buzz word available to them, to create a growing alarm among the American people about those entering the U.S. illegally. The far right-wing politicians, and the Tea Party, have made the situation along the southern border of the U.S. its focal point issue.
The safekeeping of U.S. borders is vital for our safety and security. While I won’t explain my personal views on providing refuge for children seeking the safety and security of America … which welcomes the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free … I’ll address the elected leaders representing the citizens of the U.S. who are dedicated to weaken the security of our borders.
So, who exactly is on the record for having presented bills on the floor of The House of Representatives to weaken the protection of the U.S. borders? Among the most vocal who claim that our borders must become more secure.
Former vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the current chair of the House Budget Committee, submitted a bill on April 2, 2014 that would’ve instituted new non-defense discretionary spending caps. These proposed discretionary spending caps would’ve, in part, reduced Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spending to levels more crippling than when the government was under sequestration.
As a result, Ryan’s bill proposal, which was only supported by other members of his party, would’ve slashed the number of U.S. CBP agents, as well as reducing the number of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, and other federal law enforcement agents by several thousand.
Although the bill didn’t pass, and CBP announced it would hire an additional 2,000 agents by the end of 2015 … that decision had nothing to do with what’s going on along the southern border. Keep in mind: those who are using their political pulpits to scream the loudest that there’s a crisis on our southern border are the same people who sought to decrease the size and effectiveness of the agency responsible for protecting our borders.
It’s too easy to stand on The Hill and try to whip people into a lather ignoring facts. It’s easy to abuse a position of power to steer the media with sound bites. It’s easy to use social media to push your agenda while ignoring where you truly stand on an issue.
So before our elected leaders and unelected citizens continue to pontificate that something must be done, and that CBP needs to do something, don’t forget who tried to make their job harder, and take a look at what the agency is doing to secure our borders. You cannot have it both ways. You cannot seek to reduce the number of agents patrolling a nation’s borders while complaining that we need better security and enforcement along the borders.
That’s not how it works!
Now back to your regularly scheduled aviation and aviation security topics …