By Sareth Neak, President & Publisher, Maritime Security Outlook
The H.R. 3003 – No Sanctuary for Criminals Act states “For States or localities determined to be in violation of Federal law, H.R. 3003 would restrict their eligibility to receive certain Department of Justice or Department of Homeland Security grants. Instead, under this bill, those grant funds would be reallocated to States and localities that comply with Federal law. Additionally, this bill would provide for more robust detention of criminal aliens. The Administration is committed to strengthening enforcement of our Nation’s immigration laws in order to improve national security and public safety. This legislation is critical to these efforts.”
I completely understand the law and I support getting sanctuary cities to comply with federal laws to help remove criminal illegal aliens from the U.S. When it comes to ports and fusion centers, I believe they should be exempt and not be at risk of losing important grants such as the Port Security Grant and the UASI (Urban Area Security Initiative) Grant due to their locations.
Although Ports are located and owned by regional or state entities, they are absolutely not regional or city entities by definition of their work and impact. They are national/international entities that serves the nation as a whole. They are the entry and exit point for goods and commodities serving regions covering hundreds of miles and multiple states. With more than 90% of all cargo imported/exported going through ports, securing a port is a national interest.
It doesn’t make any sense that Ports like the Port of Baltimore or Port of New York/New Jersey be penalized because of decisions of local politicians. My guestimate (through my extensive engagement with port security pros over the last 8 years), most security operations, training, equipment, vessels, software, etc. are funded by the Port Security Grant Program. Cutting them off from these types of grants would be devastating to the region and national interest.
Fusion Centers functions as an information sharing center to identify threats and stop them before they occur. They are manned by officers/analyst from many agencies including, CG, FBI, CBP, State Police, Local Police etc. They don’t just serve the cities they are located in, but the state and region as a whole.
When a threat is perceived and is analyzed to have an impact on other regions, these fusion centers share that critical information with other states/regions. They are national entities serving the national security of the U.S. Most if not all of these fusion centers rely on UASI (Urban Area Security Initiative) and or the State Homeland Security Grants to stay in operations. Penalizing them for their locations in sanctuary cities would take away a critical national security tool.
Now that the Bill has passed the House and is in the Senate, I hope that our Senators would use some common sense and exempt Ports and Fusion Centers from the negative impacts of the Bill. Please spread the word.