On April 27, 2021 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a press release, DHS Announces Operation to Target Criminal Smuggling Organizations, that heralded the creation of what was described as a new multi-agency anti-smuggling effort, “Operation Sentinel.“
Here is how the press release began:
WASHINGTON — Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas today announced a new counter-network targeting operation focused on transnational criminal organizations affiliated with the smuggling of migrants.
“Transnational criminal organizations put profit over human life, with devastating consequences,” said Secretary Mayorkas. “With the help of our federal and foreign partners, we aim to cut off access to that profit by denying these criminals the ability to engage in travel, trade, and finance in the United States. We intend to disrupt every facet of the logistical network that these organizations use to succeed.”
The new anti-smuggling effort, called Operation Sentinel, is a collaborative effort with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the U.S. Department of State, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration of the U.S. Department of Justice.
It is hard to imagine that the Biden administration is sincere about its desire to combat human trafficking and alien smuggling, because, as I noted in my recent article, “Biden Amps Up The Immigration Delivery System,” The refusal to declare a border crisis is more than a matter of semantics.
Could it be that the administration created the illusory Operation Sentinel to respond to the concerns of the American public but not to actually combat the smugglers who are part of the immigration delivery system?
On April 19, 2021, roughly one week before the DHS issued the press release about the creation of Operation Sentinel, The Hill published an opinion piece, “Biden’s border polls lower than bottom of Rio Grande,” that began with the following:
Despite the best efforts of the Biden administration to dismiss criticism or shift blame to the previous president, the American people are increasingly dissatisfied with Biden’s border fiasco.
A recent Heritage Action poll in sixteen “battleground districts” finds that the White House’s policies on the border and immigration are underwater. The most stunning part of these results is the spreading dissatisfaction across region and party. Everyday Americans are looking through the spin and seeing an administration that is ideologically driven, incapable of effectively dealing with a crisis, and working against the interests of everyday Americans.
When parents are confronted by screaming children, especially in the middle of the night, they generally seek to calm the child so that he/she will go back to sleep and so that they themselves, can go back to sleep. Frequently these harried parents gently rub the upset child’s back, perhaps offer them some slightly warm milk and talk to them in a soft and soothing tone of voice to calm and reassure the agitated child that everything is really okay.
Therefore, perhaps, “Operation Sentinel” should be more appropriately be named “Operation Back Rub.”
Clearly the White House understands that millions of Americans are extremely unhappy with the crisis on the U.S. Mexican border, that these irate Americans needed to be soothed, and their understandable concerns assuaged — hence “Operation Sentinel” was created to placate agitated Americans.
Simply declaring the creation of an operation can be utterly meaningless if adequate resources are not committed to the effort and there is a lack of meaningful oversight.
To determine just how sincere the administration is about addressing human smuggling, we need to consider a number of questions to peel back the curtain on Operation Sentinel and find out if the administration is going to commit meaningful resources to this operation.
Here are a few such questions:
- How long will this operation run?
- How many agents from each member agency are to be assigned to this operation? Are they to be exclusively dedicated to Operation Sentinel or will they carry collateral assignments?
- Are full-time prosecutors also being assigned to this operation? If so, how many?
- How many analysts and other support personal will be assigned to Operation Sentinel?
- How much money is going to be dedicated for various operational expenses associated with this operation?
- How will oversight be conducted and what will the critical elements of the agents a’ job description and evaluations of those assigned to this operation include? (In other words, what constitutes “success”?)
These questions that address the resources that will be brought to bear in this new operation are important and are the questions that true journalists must ask, but there is another overriding question that causes me to believe that in reality, Operation Sentinel is nothing more than a public relations ploy that is not only doomed to fail, but was designed, from the outset, to fail.
But before we get to that “show stopper” we need to understand that for Biden and his globalist supporters, the immigration system has become a delivery system that delivers an unlimited supply of cheap and exploitable labor, an unlimited supply of foreign tourists, an unlimited supply of foreign students and, to the delight of immigration lawyers of both the Democrat and Republican Parties, an unlimited supply of clients for immigration law firms.
The immigration delivery system also delivers a huge supply of potential union members, and tenants who will force the price of housing through the roof — increasing the wealth for those in the real estate and banking industries.
That is good news for those who are feeding at the very lucrative immigration trough, literally and figuratively “making out like bandits; not, however, good news for the growing population of the homeless Americans resulting from housing prices soaring through the stratosphere while Americans face job loss and wage suppression.
Consider that the policies of the Biden administration that encourage and embolden aspiring illegal aliens from all over the world, to head for the United States, are still in place even after DHS announced the creation of a multi-agency task force to supposedly combat human trafficking.
Such a task force is certainly a good idea, but to be successful, the administration must begin by turning off the powerful magnets that draw these aliens from around the world to the United States in the first place.
Sanctuary polices of cities and states further undermine and counter any efforts to combat these smuggling operations.
While the DHS press release claims: “We intend to disrupt every facet of the logistical network that these organizations use to succeed,” that statement ignores the most critical facet: the smuggled aliens and the incentives for them to come to the United States by whatever means they choose, knowing that ICE has been essentially ordered to “stand down” and the Biden administration has terminated all of the successful measures implemented by the Trump administration to gain control over our nation’s borders.
Now here is the “Show Stopper”: How can the Biden administration be serious about dismantling alien smuggling operation while ignoring the smuggled aliens themselves, who are at the heart of these criminal operations?
This would be the equivalent of creating an operation that targets narcotics trafficking organizations but then seizes no illegal drugs found during the course of the investigation, instead actually allowing the drugs to be sold on street corners.
Biden’s immigration policies severely restrict ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents from arresting illegal aliens unless the aliens in question are aggravated felons.
Speaking from my own personal experience as a former INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) agent, generally immigration agents build cases against human trafficking organizations by arresting illegal aliens and then questioning them about the way that they managed to enter the United States.
Eventually enough aliens are arrested who are willing to cooperate with the ongoing investigation to identify the smugglers and provide addresses of safe houses and other such facts that lead to a successful investigation and subsequent prosecution.
Under Biden’s restrictions, however, ICE agents today are not able to arrest illegal aliens who may have the information that is required to conduct successful investigations into alien smuggling and human trafficking
In the past ICE agents encouraged such illegal aliens to cooperate with their investigations and become cooperating witnesses and informants by offering these aliens the opportunity to remain in the United States for a limited period of time with permission to lawfully work. When their cooperation was of a sufficient importance, aliens could be rewarded with visas that would enable them to become permanent residents of the United States and thus have their immediate family members join them in the U.S. as lawful immigrants.
However, by executive order, the Biden administration has implemented a de facto amnesty which further hobbles any efforts to identify and dismantle alien smuggling operations. As a result, under Biden’s policies, illegal aliens have no incentive to cooperate with law enforcement authorities or abide by any of our laws.
It has been said that we only have one chance to make a first impression. For millions of people around the world the first impression of the United States is how we enforce or fail to enforce the first American laws they are likely to encounter — our immigration laws.
Biden’s message is clear: violations of these vital laws, that are supposed to protect national security, public health, public safety and the jobs and wages of Americans, will not only be tolerated, but richly rewarded.
This is why, in my view, DHS’ “Operation Sentinel” should be renamed “Operation Back Rub.” Perhaps, Biden could set up kiosks around the country to serve up some slightly warm milk for concerned Americans, to go with the press release that serves as the predication for my commentary today