Federal officials entered through United States borders Thursday with fictitious names and documents to test how hard it is for illegal immigrants to do the same. Much to the chagrin of the Homeland Security Department, the officials discovered it was all too easy.
Entering the United States from Canada, Mexico and ports of entry in Jamaica, officials used false documents they said were made using software programs available to consumers. Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge toured the Miami International Airport Thursday, which failed the test, making it apparent that his department has its work cut out for it.
What these tests prove is that the security of the U.S. border is not as strong as government officials would like Americans to believe. Tom Ridge has been the head of Homeland Security since the end of 2001, and these tests on the border prove that Ridge and his department have done very little to ensure the security of America.
Also, in order for borders to be secure, every worker must take responsibility and be diligent in who is allowed to enter. The officers who checked the fake documents hardly ever questioned the papers and often took verbal testimony as proof of citizenship.
For Ridge and his organization to do their job, they must decide how far they are willing to go in the name of protecting their homeland. If results are any indication, it appears Homeland Security is just a fancy name for an organization that can be headed by one of the president’s friends. Ridge and Bush need to stop talking and put results on the table.
Bush promised in his State of the Union address Tuesday that homeland security will be beefed up. It is now his responsibility to follow through and voters’ responsibility to see that he does.