Every day, thousands of visitors, legal immigrants, and illegal immigrants flood into our country, crossing our borders and accessing our ports of entry; in many cases, they’re completely undetected and undocumented.
Many enter the country on short-term tourist visas and then disappear into the woodwork. We have no idea how many come falsely documented with the intent to gain legal entry, nor how many enter through other illegal means, nor how many succeed, and how many fail.
As it stands, current procedures in our bureaucratic labyrinth don’t document even basic functions, such as keeping track of the detected attempts at fraudulent entry. These illegal acts of deceit aren’t communicated across relevant federal agencies in a central database, to help intelligence and law enforcement officials do their job—protect U.S. citizens. Each day that the problem goes unanswered, we lose a valuable advantage that could help stop nefarious activities near and inside our borders.
The immigration crisis at our border has been termed an invasion by anyone truthful who’s been paying attention. Upon further exploration, you’ll find “invasion” defined as “an occasion when a large number of people or things come to a place in an annoying and unwanted way,” according to the Cambridge Dictionary. In a more militaristic sense, invasion is further defined as “the act of entering a place by force, often in large numbers.” In this case, force means “to break a lock, door, window, etc. in order to allow someone to get in.” Any of these definitions might include crossing an entry point, or border, without permission.
Public polling suggests that more than 67 percent of voters think illegal immigration is a serious problem, and even consider it very serious. So, we could conclude that this sentiment meets the defined threshold of “unwanted.” Thus, the Cambridge Dictionary seems to agree with President Donald Trump—the immigration crisis at our border is an invasion.
The other keywords in this definition are “large number of people.” Throughout history, some of the deadliest invasions achieved success through brute strength of numbers. The infamous Mongol hordes invaded the Asian continent in the 13th century with a military force totaling an estimated 129,000 warriors. The threat from Genghis Khan and other intruders over a period of centuries was so clear to the Chinese that they built the world-renowned Great Wall as a barrier to prevent further invasions that would deplete their resources, or worse.
During the First Crusade to the Holy Land, the invading force was estimated to total between 30,000 and 40,000 crusaders. The British attacked our early United States in 1814, sacking Washington, destroying the Capitol, and burning the White House with a meager force of 4,500 soldiers.
On Sept. 11, 2001, we learned large numbers aren’t required. A modest force of 19 terrorists infiltrated our borders and caused the single-most catastrophic event in recent history. All were granted legal passage into our country, many under false pretenses, and they received support here in the United States. In the aftermath of that fateful day, investigators determined that multiple hijackers had “suspicious indicators” in their passports. In other words, they presented fraudulent documents at the port of entry.
What might have happened if law enforcement and immigration officials had access to a system that made them aware of the pattern of false or fraudulent documents and methods used by the hijackers?
Almost two decades later, we’ve not learned basic security lessons that are easy to fix. A simple addition to a national database could remedy this problem, with minimal federal time or action required to maintain the system. The State Department, Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Transportation Security Administration, and other law enforcement agencies need to update existing digital databases to record the basic details of these situations as they detect them.
Information such as location of the attempted crossing, time, date, types of documents used, and other pertinent details would provide analysts with intelligence on the methods and means of illegal entries. Very quickly, this database would aid in the prevention of future attempts and the resulting crimes by highlighting the repeat locations, sources, and methods used by the bad guys. From this, we could understand better where to add security and focus efforts, as well as how to modify our documentary requirements to update security measures.
It is absolutely fundamental for this to be an unclassified database that’s shared across all immigration-related, intelligence, and law enforcement agencies, and all must be required to submit information. The cross-communication between agencies would provide global situational awareness of coordinated actions by the darkest elements seeking to invade our nation.
This is a constantly evolving problem and we need a flexible response that documents the problem. An annual unclassified report to the president, Congress, and the public must be included.
Every day that goes by is another day that terrorists and criminals are free to do what they want. The longer we allow terrorists and criminals to come and go as they please, with no system to ferret out their methodology, is more time for them to plan and act.
Action is required to protect our borders. While our nation is not facing Genghis Khan’s Mongol hordes, we learned in 2001 that it only takes a few unwanted to kill almost 3,000 innocent people. A policy directive by the president is the quickest way to enact these needed, lifesaving safety measures.
Mr. President, thousands are pouring in, the clock is ticking …
Brad Johnson is a retired CIA senior operations officer and a former chief of station. He is president of Americans for Intelligence Reform.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.