Apparently, when it comes to America’s borders, safety and security, the Biden administration is really committed to making unforced errors — not only have they created a genuine snafu on the southern border, but now they want to make it easier to ship illegal drugs and counterfeits through the U.S. Postal Service.
Under Biden’s (ahem) “leadership,” USPS is preparifentanylng to ignore a law designed to screen foreign deliveries for opioids and other harmful products — proving yet again why the post office’s trustworthiness with the American people continues to erode. A bipartisan coalition, led by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), has previously affirmed measures in 2018 to get the post office back to days of protecting our mail, but the coalition for reason needs help.
Also, with support by President Trump, Congress passed the Synthetic Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act in 2018 after learning that drug traffickers were exploiting vulnerabilities in our international mail system to ship drugs like via the post office. STOP requires that international senders provide Advance Electronic Data (AED) on all inbound international packages, thereby making it easier for USPS and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to catch harmful drugs.
In one of the many challenges created by all this advanced technology and 21st century globalization, foreign posts are struggling to convert what has always been a paper-based system into an electronic one and to do so in a way that is consistent across all countries.
Almost 140 countries haven’t supplied the right information on packages bound for the United States. Given that there are only about 200 countries total, many holes are left to plug without some serious changes.
The STOP Act was a positive force, requiring the State Department to negotiate international agreements with foreign countries to provide consistent AED across the board. This would have made it easier for CBP and other federal groups to detect problems entering into our mail system. Before STOP, CBP’s front line against drug smuggling was a combination of highly trained canine teams and big-data analytics based on information provided by law enforcement.
AED would make this even easier, improving customs officers’ situational awareness so they can flag questionable packages. Until recently, USPS wasn’t providing any advanced information at all, with CBP officers doing their best to screen mail on a more manual basis.
In (yet) another instance of the private sector soaring above the federal bureaucracy, FedEx and UPS already carry out this kind of screening on international packages.
CBP wants USPS to start segregating mail, especially from “countries of interest,” so that they can better focus their time-consuming but necessary manual inspections — which includes procedures like X-raying by hand. Given that the No. 1 country of origin for dangerous packages of this nature is China, which has let’s call it a record that’s spotty at best on these things, it is in everyone’s best interest for the post office to up their game.
We don’t know how many dangerous packages the USPS have let slip past the goalie, because the recent Inspector General report on the subject has more redactions in it than a top-secret FBI file.
In December, Portman urged relevant federal agencies to further enforce the STOP Act, noting that other countries are already requiring this data in order to let packages through their borders. Even the European Union is doing this now! Portman and others insist that CBP finalize regulations on what data is required to let a package into the country — at a bare minimum data like who the shippers and recipients are.
Biden’s DHS has outlined its parameters for screening with loopholes abound, including limited assurances for the shares of mail and packages that will be checked and also how and why certain countries may get free pass. All in all, one wonders why there is so much momentum in the opposite direction of the law.
In leaving American communities and marketplaces increasingly more vulnerable, the Biden administration is only adding to their list of concerning promises. A refusal to require adequate illicit shipment and dangerous drug screening by the USPS is yet another disappointment.
Jared Whitley is a long-time politico who has worked in the U.S. Congress, White House and defense industry. He is an award-winning writer, having won best blogger in the state from the Utah Society of Professional Journalists (2018) and best columnist from Best of the West (2016). He earned his MBA from Hult International Business School in Dubai. Read Jared Whitley's reports — More Here.
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