On January 26, 2012, I attended an exclusive, "off the record dinner for Florida business and community leaders to discuss the growing global national security and economic challenges our country faces today." The guest speaker was none other than the first Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge. I was fascinated by what I heard from Secretary Ridge.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a February 22, 2011 60-Day Notice and Request for Comments regarding its use of a "Notice of Detention". I know, a lot of you are saying to yourselves, "When did CBP starting using Notices of Detention," and my response to you is "That's a darn good question!"
I read a fascinating article entitled "HOMELAND SECURITY HASN'T MADE US SAFER" in the January/February issue of Foreign Policy magazine. The article criticized the massive spending of time and money by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Ms. Applebaum aimed her barbs right at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) with the comment: "AS FOR THE TSA, I AM NOT AWARE OF A SINGLE BOMBER OR BOMB PLOT STOPPED BY ITS TIME-WASTING PROCEDURES." Is Ms. Applebaum stating something we all know already, is ignorant of the truth, or somewhere in between?
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is seizing a record number of bank accounts for money laundering. A Special Agent from ICE submits an Affidavit to a Federal Judge who signs a Seizure Warrant authoring the Special Agent to serve the Seizure Warrant upon the bank and seizure whateve money is in that account. Although the seizure of such accounts may accomplish a legitimate law enforcement purpose in attempting to stop the illicit sale of narcotics by taking the money generated from those sales, the process is too easily abused by the U.S. Government.
I am still troubled by the Wall Street Journal lead article on October 4, 2010 with the headline "Recession-Weary Americans Sour on Free Trade." I asked myself why would Americans who live in an economy built successfully on the principles of capitalism and free enterprise be against international trade? My bold prediction is that 2011 will be the year that the Obama Administration successfully finalizes free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama, and Colombia, and then Congress passes laws approving them.
On May 20, 2010, the top management of both U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) testified before the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade. Chairman Tanner said the hearing was "to strike the right balance" between trade facilitation and security. Unfortunately, the Committee heard all about the enforcement success of both ICE and CBP without hearing about the difficulties faced daily by importers and customs brokers.
I attended the Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations of Customs and Border Protection (COAC) meeting on February 25, 2010 in Miami. The meeting was an excellent, sometimes blunt, exchange of perspectives from Customs and the international trade community.
On February 1, 2010, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that the Department's budget for fiscal year 2011 would be $56 billion. This was the first time for the Democratic Obama Administration to formally unveil its budget priorities after taking over from the Republican Bush Administration. Guess what - it's more of the same.