Streamlining congressional oversight of DHS should be a major point of emphasis in DHS Secretary-designate Janet Napolitano’s upcoming confirmation hearing.
For anyone who has never been in a roundtable session like we were having, it’s important to note that the Secretary opened the session with the Bloggers without a note card in his palm or a pile of papers in his hands to reference in typical Washington principal fashion to remind him of who he was meeting with and why, and what he was supposed to say to them. He immediately sat down and you could almost hear the starter’s pistol fire, “BANG!” and he was out of his starter’s block rounding the first curve on the track of information he wanted to convey.
As of January 31, 2008, all individuals seeking to enter the U.S. at land borders will have to present documentary proof of citizenship. Until this change in policy takes effect, any individual in the Western Hemisphere can enter the United States by attesting they are a United States citizen and presenting a driver’s license. This approach places entry into our country into the realm of the honor system – a concept that has failed in our immigration policies – and relegated DHS Inspectors to the realm of bartenders attempting to distinguish a phony driver’s license from a real one.
Most interesting in the Secretary’s speech were his uncommonly candid criticisms of groups that he says have made it difficult for the federal government to implement an effective homeland security strategy. He doesn’t hold back, taking aim at: Congress, state governments and private industry.