August 14, 2006, - 4:07 pm

No Seats: Another Set of Stupid “Priorities” at the Border

By Debbie Schlussel
Yet more absurdity at America’s Northern Border. Today, daily commuters coming from Windsor, Canada into the U.S. over the Ambassador Bridge had long delays at the Detroit entry point because of a stupid edict from top brass at Customs and Border Protection (CBP)–a Department of Homeland Security agency. They took away the border inspectors’ chairs in their booths.
It’s hard enough be a CBP inspector at the Detroit Ambassador Bridge from Canada. The bridge’s owner, Manuel “Matty” Moroun (an Arab of Lebanese descent who supports some “interesting” causes), constantly pressures inspectors and CBP bosses to speed up inspections and let people into the country. Ditto for the Big Three automakers, who have trucks coming in an out with parts and cars, and don’t care about security much. The CBP brass gives in to both and forces the inspector agents to speed things up and let people in, without adequate checks–to border agents dismay.

Detroit’s Ambassador Bridge: Homeland Security MIA on Border Priorities

But, now it’s worse. Apparently, CBP officials feel the inspectors looked “too comfortable” in their toll booths. So the supervisors came and took all the chairs out of the booths. Now, they have to stand on their feet all day long. Nice way to make it even harder and less appealing to do adequate inspections of interlopers into America with nefarious intents.
In what is being called a “unofficial retaliation,” the inspectors are taking five to ten minutes to perform inspections on each vehicle even if there is no cause to run all of the checks.
So, today, there were likely a lot of angry Canadians, auto execs, and one dangerous bridge owner. Tough.
Although the CBP inspectors at the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel and at the Fort St. cargo facility did not also perform a “slow-down,” their chairs were taken away, too. The chairs have been taken away at many border inspection booths around the country.
But the only ones who should lose their seats–and their jobs–are the bozos supervising CBP booth operations. They are still seated, though, unfortunately.
Where is CBP Commissioner Ralph Basham (in Detroit this week just in time for the slow-down) on this issue? He did a good job at the U.S. Secret Service. Not so good, so far at CBP.

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4 Responses

Well I think it is about time they started slower and more thorough inspections. I’ve crossed the border may times near Buffalo and am shocked how weak the customs are. Sometimes they don’t even ask any questions, other than asking so see a drivers license. It is good passports will soon be required at ALL borders.

Mike Simon on August 14, 2006 at 4:50 pm

Nice to see our priorities are in order. People are looking into blowing up bridges in Michigan, but we should really be worried about Customs officers being “too comfortable”. It’s not enough that they have to suck down carbon monoixde exhaust fumes all day……

MarySJ on August 14, 2006 at 5:05 pm

We can’t let our border personnel do their jobs. The message from DHS brass is: “Open Borders, never mind the law!” Those deprived of their chairs will get it. Wonderful to see Homeland Security has its priorities in order! We should give Ralph Basham and the boys in Customs HQs cigars for their thoughtfulness in doing away with all those annoying border holdups – as well as the field inspectors chairs.

NormanF on August 15, 2006 at 2:24 am

Kudos to my CBP brethren for not taking a “butt shafting” from management over this TRULY SILLY issue.
IT’S NOT JUST ICE AGENTS THAT ARE FED UP FOLKS. Border enforcement in this country is in a state of turmoil: Border Patrol agents with their hands tied behind their backs, CBP officers trying to please management every which way to Sunday (e.g. Don’t process enough cars/pax/cargo, get disciplined; process too many cars, etc. and miss a terrorist or a dirty bomb, get disciplined), ICE agents with a hopeless dual and OVERWHLEMING mission of immigration AND customs investigations, lack of adequate budgets, lack of coordination, the FBI second-guessing DHS’ every move. Well, you get the picture, folks.
The only bet going on right now in DHS circles, despite our best efforts to thwart the same, is not if, but WHEN 9/11, Part 2 is going down; I shudder to think of the odds.

4EVERCUSTOMS on August 15, 2006 at 9:20 pm

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