I Do Not Wish To Be Safe … The Cost Is Too High

Customs and Border Protection, aka CBP, is a part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  The stated mission of CBP, according to their website is:

To safeguard America’s borders thereby protecting the public from dangerous people and materials while enhancing the Nation’s global economic competitiveness by enabling legitimate trade and travel.

CBP has strict hiring standards, as one might expect, given the sensitive nature of their jobs:

Basic Qualifications and Medical Requirements for Border Patrol Agents

  • You must be a United States citizen.

  • You must possess a valid automobile driver’s license.

  • You must take and pass the CBP Border Patrol entrance examination. The CBP Border Patrol entrance examination is a three-part test that covers logical reasoning skill; the Spanish language or, if you don’t speak Spanish, an artificial language test that predicts your ability to learn Spanish; and an assessment of job-related experiences and achievements.

  • Your résumé must completely and specifically describe your job duties that you want considered in the determination. All transcripts, grade-point calculations, and other documentation must be submitted to the CBP Minneapolis Hiring Center. Failure to provide this documentation will result in your ineligibility for the position.

  • You must pass a urine drug test: tentative selectees for this position will be required to submit to a urine drug screen for illegal substances prior to appointment. This position is designated for testing for illegal drug use; after hiring, incumbents are subject to random testing. In addition to drug screening, candidates must meet specific medical and physical requirements.

  • You must be younger than 37 at the time of selection. The limitation may be waived for applicants who are currently in Federal civilian law enforcement positions covered under the special retirement provisions of Public Law 100-238 or who have been in such positions in the past.

  • You must appear before an oral interview panel and demonstrate that you possess the abilities and other characteristics important to Border Patrol Agent positions. Among these are interpersonal skills, judgment, and problem-solving abilities.

These are only the most basic qualifications … to be a typist or janitor.  To become a G5 or higher, there are additional requirements.  However, Trump has issued a memorandum requiring the standards to be lowered in order to meet his planned expansion from 19,627 Border Patrol agents to about 26,370, an increase of 25%.  Estimated cost of Trump’s expansion plan?  $2.2 billion.  Yes, billion.  And why?

Well, let us look at a couple of the tough cases the CBP has tackled in the past month:

  • Children’s author Mem Fox of Australia was detained at Los Angeles International Airport on 06 February. Ms. Fox was entering the U.S. in order to give a talk about the importance of tolerance and acceptance. Oh, the irony.  Arguably Australia’s most famous children’s author, Fox has written such books as “Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes,” which celebrates the humanity common to all children. No matter where someone is born, no matter what a child looks like, the book reminds us, we all have “ten little fingers/ and ten little toes.” Ms. Fox was standing in the immigration line, reading a book, when a CBP worker loudly called her name and pulled her out of the line, saying “What do you want me to do, stand here while you finish it?” She was then detained for approximately two hours while being ‘interrogated’ about such things as the purpose of her visit, who was sponsoring her hotel, and her personal finances.
  • NASA engineer Sidd Bikkannavar was not returning from one of the countries subject to the ban, but rather was returning from a vacation in Turkey. He’s a US-born citizen who was on his way home to Los Angeles, where he works for the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. But when Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers asked him to hand over his work-issued phone and provide the access PIN, he felt torn between his obligation to his employer and orders from another government agency. According to Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), citizens must surrender laptops and phones if a border agent asks for them, but not passwords or social media information.

Just two examples of how CBP is protecting us from those all-evil terrorists … a children’s book author and a NASA engineer. And let us not forget that evil BBC reporter they protected us from!  In addition to the news that Trump plans to needlessly waste our hard-earned money to protect us against the likes of these in his plan to keep us all safe, comes the news that he plans to increase military spending at the expense of such programs as environmental  and foreign aid programs.  How much more does Trump plan in military spending?  Some $54 billion.  That’s right, folks, $54 BILLION diverted from programs to help save our planet and other programs that help real people, to an increase in spending on little boy’s toys like tanks, and a nuclear arsenal that we have NO need for.  This, my friends, is how Trump plans to keep us safe.

military-spendingThe U.S. already has THE HIGHEST military budget of ALL NATIONS ON THE GLOBE, at $596 billion, as compared to the 2nd highest, China, who spends $215 billion.  The U.S. spends more than twice as much on military as any other nation in the world!  And guess who pays THAT bill, friends???  Now, da trumpeter wants to increase it by $54 billion … 9% … to “protect our safety”?  We have not had a major terrorist attack from outside groups in over 16 years, there is no other nation poised to attack us, but we must immediately stop protecting the air we breathe in order to buy more tanks, hire more border patrol agents, build a useless wall, and build more nuclear weapons in order to PROTECT OUR SAFETY???????????????

If this is the cost, I do not wish to be any safer, Mr. Trump. Buy your toys with your own money … or perhaps I should say Robert Mercer’s money.

12 thoughts on “I Do Not Wish To Be Safe … The Cost Is Too High

  1. I work for a large consulting company (a competitor of the one that screwed up at the Oscars) and we were impacted by the travel ban and the aftermath. We have several American and foreign born workers that are Muslim that were detained coming back into the country even though they weren’t from the countries in question and had valid paperwork. This executive order was rolled out with little instruction or guidance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was issued and rolled out with zero aforethought … and beyond that, the whole thing is so unnecceary! The real danger is in all the gun-toting citizens who have a sense of entitlement, not the refugees simply seeking safety for their families. I have heard that companies in Silicon Valley are having the same trouble as your company … see today’s post about the decrease in tourist and business travel in just the past month … 😦 Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel your pain. Nuclear weapons – we are buying them from you at eye-watering expense and yet our government claims we can’t afford to put money into our health service. Once more, with feeling, when will they ever learn… That old military industrial complex just keeps rolling along.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sigh … yes, and to what end? The answer to the question “when will they ever learn?”, I fear, is never. Our government is trying to cut such things as Social Security, healthcare, feeding the poor, protecting the environment … all to buy more “toys”. Grrrrrrrr ……

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  3. The terrorists are not crossing our borders; they are already here and they are in their hidey-holes loaded for bear and getting more crazy by the minute. We can’t live our lives worried constantly about what might happen — that leads to paranoia. Those in power, however, have learned how easy it is to control the minds of citizens by keeping them fearful. It is a sorry situation indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hear hear Hugh. As someone who lived in London during some of the worst years of IRA terrorism, I know only too well what it is like to live in genuine fear of terrorist attacks. We may not have had the equivalent of the massive Twin Towers attach but over many years people had to live an alert life on public transport and in the streets watching for potential bombs. An innocent trip to the pub, or a shop, or just a walk in the park could put you in danger. Then, set beside that our gun situation – even our policemen and women don’t routinely carry them – and we don’t have, every day, to walk around in fear of crossing someone who will shoot us. Sigh. When will they ever learn…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly! The biggest threat to the average person comes not from a Middle-Eastern terrorist, but from the ‘Average Joe’ walking down the street with a chip on his shoulder and a gun in his belt! But the powers that be don’t worry about that. Can’t see the forest for the trees! Fake trees, at that!

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    • Yes, that is the sad truth … as we saw last year, it is easy to convince at least half the people that the boogey man really does live under their beds. I am far more afraid of the people carrying guns in their belts in this country than I am of terrorists coming from afar. I know some of those people with guns, know they have a temper, and know they wouldn’t hesitate to use those guns if they were in just the right frame of mind, or had a few too many at the bar. 😦

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