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The new report on DHS Immigration Enforcement by TRAC has gotten extensive coverage by the traditional news media, including CNN, the Washington Post, the Associated Press, Time and US News and World Report. It's also been picked up in the blogosphere, by Bruce Shneier and others.

Based on some of the comments I've read, I think it makes sense to clarify and summarize some key points of the study:

  • Despite rhetoric by DHS' immigration agencies (ICE and CBP) that fighting terrorism is their most important job, 99.98% of DHS immigration cases in the last 3 years have nothing to do with national security or terrorism.
  • Of the 620 criminal prosecutions by the Department of Justice that were labeled international terrorism, domestic terrorism or terrorism finance, only 31 had any involvement by DHS. In other words, DHS had no role in 95% of terrorism related criminal prosecutions.
  • In a similar 3 year period ten years ago (1994-1996) there were 52 terrorism and 185 national security cases handled in immigration court. Before 9/11 those numbers were down to 12 and 106 (1999-2001). Since 9/11, those numbers have barely changed -- 12 terrorism and 114 national security cases in 2004-2006.

One logical conclusion is that the DHS really has very little to do with fighting terrorism. TRAC co-director David Burnham was quoted in the CNN article as saying:

"The DHS claims it is focused on terrorism. Well that's just not true. Either there's no terrorism, or they're terrible at catching them. Either way it's bad for all of us."

By that, I believe he meant that it's bad for us if we've created this huge bureaucracy to fight terrorism if the threat's not there, and of course it's bad for us if the threat is there: because the DHS sure isn't finding it.

Cross-posted on my almost totally unread blog.

Disclaimer: I'm employed by Syracuse University as TRAC's web manager.

Originally posted to redlami on Wed May 30, 2007 at 09:41 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip jar (16+ / 0-)

    Another lovely tidbit from the TRAC study: from 2004 to 2006, a whopping total of 14 terrorism charges against 12 individuals were brought in immigration court. Of these, only 4 charges were sustained. Heckuva job, heckuva job.

    Let the beauty we love be what we do. ~Rumi

    by redlami on Wed May 30, 2007 at 09:28:43 AM PDT

  •  Does anyone else... (8+ / 0-)

    ...think that the name "Department of Homeland Security" is just a touch Orwellian?  I mean, I think it was stupid to start a whole new cabinet department to begin with, but if you had to, wouldn't something like "Department of Domestic Security" or "Department of National Security" have been less hokey-patriotic sounding?

    "We must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom." - Kodos

    by Jon Stafford on Wed May 30, 2007 at 09:33:06 AM PDT

  •  I don't think it was ever intended (9+ / 0-)

    to fight terror.  That was just a smokescreen to push it through Congress.

    I think DHS is intended to be an agent of fear-mongering, a Republican-controlled national police force, and a source of employment for Republican loyalists.

  •  The term "Homeland"... (7+ / 0-)

    ..has always bothered me a bit. "Mother Russia", "the Fatherland", Lebensraum (spelling?)-all of these parental terms are just way too reminiscent of totalitarian regimes.
     The fact that the Department of Homeland Security has not done squat to make our "homeland" any more "secure" than it has does not surprise me.

    In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. - George Orwell

    by drchelo on Wed May 30, 2007 at 09:51:54 AM PDT

  •  D-CYA (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    redlami, donnamarie, MKinTN

    DHS is far more concerned with political ass-covering than actually providing any security. If some 'terrorist' group attacks us again, the Administration and congress can say: "See, we did something to prevent this, so sorry it didn't work. If you hand us more of your freedoms and give the rich more tax breaks, maybe next time will be different." without actually doing anything effective to combat terrorism.

  •  you've got some great data--keep diarying (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    redlami, rcald, donnamarie

    I find that publishing accounting of gov't agencies very revealing.  I'm sure you have a lot of fascinating summaries at your fingertips!!

    •  Thank you. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mariachi mama

      I do try to share some of what we uncover as we sift through the mountains of data we've collected. But I have to get some real work done too... like setting up some RSS feeds for some of our automated reports, so it'll be easier for people to use our data.

      Let the beauty we love be what we do. ~Rumi

      by redlami on Wed May 30, 2007 at 10:57:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Of course there's very little "terrorism" (0+ / 0-)

    to fight.  It's the just the boogeyman they're using to consolidate power and wealth.

    Not to minimize the victims of the attacks on 911, because their suffering is real and great, but we ostensibly restructured a huge section of our government to deal with a one-off kind of threat which will only surface every decade or so and which we most likely won't be able to control even with the restructuring.  If Bushco's intentions in creating this department were genuine, it's madness.  But of course, they're not; where's bin Laden again?

    Dialogue is not possible, however, in the absence of a profound love for the world and for people -- Paulo Freire

    by rcald on Wed May 30, 2007 at 10:34:42 AM PDT

  •  The Protection Racket (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We can close down the international terrorism threat with a determined effort inside of a YEAR.

    Al-queda is a UNIQUE historical phenomenon. Bin Laden and Zawahiri are CULT LEADERS. Same with Sheikh Omar, though Omar is nowhere near the international threat that al-queda is. What happens to cults when the leaders are dead or imprisoned? THEY FALL APART. They struggle internally for power, they splinter and betray each other, sometimes there is a purge.

    What, are there professional profilers earning some of the MASSIVE amounts of cash we are spending on this effort, who are IGNORANT of this simple strategy?

    I suspect NOT. What I suspect, is that this "global war on terror" is a massive protection racket fraud, meant to shake us down for protection money for decades to come.

    You know, Charles Manson thought he would start a war with terrorist acts that would topple governments and usher in the rule of the Manson Family, but we didn't launch a massive military and intelligence operation and allow him to hide out in the mountains of California, telling the public "be very afraid!" Just because Manson said such things, that should be the basis for a national policy to spend billions to lavish contractors with cash who DON'T catch Manson?

    It is no less absurd than the protection racket being marketed with regard to al-queda.

    •  Bush and bin Laden do seem to need each other (0+ / 0-)

      and when you consider the ties between the families... well, that tinfoil hat starts to look not too silly at all.

      Let the beauty we love be what we do. ~Rumi

      by redlami on Wed May 30, 2007 at 11:22:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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