The Department of Homeland Security will deploy 2,200 Border Patrol agents along the northern border by the end of 2010. Dallas-based immigration attorney Stewart Rabinowitz of the firm Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz believes that such additional allocation of personnel has its pros and cons.
On Aug. 25, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano visited Piegan, Sweetgrass, Sunburst, and Havre, Montana, with Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Alan Bersin to tour CBP operations and meet with state and local officials, law enforcement personnel, and private sector stakeholders regarding DHS’s efforts to secure the northern border.
“We have made critical security enhancements along our northern border, investing in additional personnel, technology, and infrastructure to meet the security and operational requirements of our post-9/11 world,” Napolitano said. “DHS is committed to working closely with our federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement partners with the citizens of Montana to protect the border while facilitating legal trade and travel.”
State of the art technologies now put in place at Piegan and Sweetgrass ports of entry include thermal camera systems and Mobile Surveillance Systems. A roundtable discussion was held in Sunburst, Montana involving federal, state, local, tribal, and Canadian law enforcement to discuss potential methods of combating transnational crime and illicit drug smuggling along the northern border. DHS expects to have more than 2,200 Border Patrol agents along the northern border by the end of 2010 – a 700 percent increase since Sept. 11, 2001 – in addition to the approximately 5,800 CBP officers already stationed in northern border states.
“While more stringent security and safeguards are expected in the wake of the events which so traumatized Americans nine years ago, especially since several of the nineteen hijackers of jet planes were known to have entered the United States via Canadian routes to wreak their havoc, I question if the right questions are being asked when security and safeguards are being formulated, let alone being implemented. Are we as a nation simply being reactive or truly proactive – in the primarily enforcement-focused measures being taken, repetitively and continually, during the years since?” asked Dallas-based immigration attorney Stewart Rabinowitz, of the firm Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz.
Rabinowitz wonders about immigration patterns, scrutiny and leeway being granted or denied, and about excess concern with U.S.-Canada trade interactions, as individuals are too often lost in the paranoiac shuffle, or worse, subject to CBP abuses committed in the name of enhanced security. “These may have far reaching consequences too,” Rabinowitz said.