Should We Allow the DHS to Die?

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is teetering on the precipice of a shutdown, and it doesn’t appear that either Democrats or Republicans are all that concerned about it. In this context, an article in Vox postulates that the DHS was never necessary and should be allowed to die:

But the nonchalance with which both parties are treating the prospect of a Department of Homeland Security shutdown raises a big policy question: why does the department even exist?

The answer is that it shouldn’t, and it never should have. DHS was a mistake to begin with. Instead of solving the coordination problems it was supposed to solve, it simply duplicated efforts already happening in other federal departments. And attempts to control and distinguish the department have politicized it to the point where it can’t function smoothly — and might be threatening national security.

This isn’t to say that DHS should be fully liquidated. The argument is there’s no reason for it to exist as its own department when it can be reabsorbed into the various departments (from Justice to Treasury) from which it was assembled.

The article explains how the DHS has had major problems from its inception. The boundaries of its jurisdiction have been badly defined, sometimes overlapping other existing agencies and often undermining them. Furthermore, the purported resasons for creating the DHS were weakened by its existence: namely, the coordination of American intelligence to close gaps in information-sharing. American intelligence has become less coordinated since the DHS came on the scene, and the fact that we have not suffered another attack on the scale of 9/11 might be as much happenstance as anything else.

Furthermore, the connections between the DHS and local police forces (in the name of counter-terrorism efforts) are quite troubling. Honestly, I don’t know why this is even a debate. The DHS was never necessary, and it has become quite a financial and civil parasite. Let it die.

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