The southwestern border of the United States is scheduled to get an upgrade as officials with the US Department of Homeland Security have announced plans to implement a military-esque chain of command to patrol the area.
The upgrade is expected to represent the most substantial border security restructuring effort since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 necessitated upgraded security measures. The new plans would amalgamate teams of agents from several federal law enforcement entities such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), both of which operate under the broad command of Homeland Security. A high-ranking Coast Guard official will have oversight responsibilities of the new operation which will be called Southern Command, or Southcom.
The new security measures are being put in place as part of Homeland Securities response to the increasing number of illegal immigrants attempting to cross the US-Mexico border as well as to enhance investigative efforts into various criminal activities that take place along the entire southern border in general and the Southwestern region in particular.
During fiscal year 2013 there were more than 400,000 apprehensions of foreign nationals attempting to cross into the United States illegally through the southern border. Additionally, there has been an unprecedented influx of children crossing over from Central American countries without adult accompaniment.
Jeh Johnson, the Secretary of Homeland Security, has spent a great deal of his time at the position lobbying for a complete makeover of the department’s infrastructure. For several years, lawmakers have been increasingly critical of Homeland Security as a whole, specifically regarding its coordination, allocation, and management of department resources.
The implementation of the Military-like hierarchy is intended to create a more rigid command structure that would essentially improve the decision-making process throughout the department as it pertains to border security and reduce or eliminate bureaucratic and jurisdictional disagreements.