According to reports from the Associated Press and the National Border Patrol Council (a national union representing border patrol officers), the Department of Homeland Security issued a directive to U.S. Border Patrol field offices around the country instructing officers to halt routine checks at transportation hubs that are not “intelligence driven.” Until last month’s directive, which has garnered little attention, Border Patrol officers were able to conduct what they refer to as “transportation checks” at bus and train stations, as well as airports. These checks allowed officers to use their trained eye to catch illegal border crossers and potential terrorists before they reached the U.S. interior. Now, under the new directive, these once routine checks can no longer take place unless there is: (1) “intelligence” indicating a threat, and (2) approval from Border Patrol headquarters in D.C. approving action on the threat.
Barring a law enforcement agency from conducting surveillance in places where they are likely to find laws being broken is poor public policy. Is the Drug Enforcement Administration prevented from conducting routine surveillance in places where they believe narcotics are being sold or transported? Is the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives barred from staking out places where alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives laws are likely to be violated? An agency cannot gather intelligence if it is precluded from looking for it.
As such, this new directive is nothing more than yet another attempt by the Obama Administration to defy U.S. immigration law and circumvent the will of Congress. In June, there were the Morton memos; in August, Secretary Napolitano’s letter indicating a review of all cases in deportation proceedings; and now, in October, we’ve seen the Border Patrol directive. How many other ways will the Obama Administration come up with to avoid doing its job? How many more illegal aliens and terrorists need to enter the U.S. before Congress makes it?