Homeland Security: USA

By Jon Feere and Jon Feere on January 7, 2009

Tattooed gang members, drug smugglers, human traffickers, and people emitting radiation from their bodies. These are just a few of the types to cross paths with DHS officials in ABC’s new reality series, “Homeland Security: USA.” In the same way that Fox’s long-running COPS has highlighted the day-to-day drama facing local law enforcement, this series promises to provide Americans a sobering look at the constant assault on our nation’s ports and borders.

The open-borders crowd is already demanding the show be taken off the air. They fear it will result in increased public support for better security. They don’t want the public to see how vulnerable we really are as a nation. The arrest of illegal alien gang members attempting to sneak over the border in the middle of the night is a visual rarely seen on primetime television; such footage is not going to result in increased support for amnesty.

A lot is packed into one hour. In one segment, a Swiss belly dancer makes clear her plans to violate the visa waiver program and work indefinitely in the United States, illustrating the lack of respect held by some coming to our shores. After being denied entry, she says, “I don’t accept the decision.” Well, she had to accept it and was returned home the following day.

In another segment, Canadians of Iranian descent are stopped at the northern border after officials discover one person in the group has ties to a terrorist organization; the handful of fake passports and IDs carried by the young men also set off red flags.

Meanwhile, on the southern border, Border Patrol agents use the seemingly archaic technique of tracking shoeprints in the desert in an effort to stop smuggling operations. Considering these agents are frequently under attack, it’s difficult not to feel concerned about their safety as they stare at the ground with rifles at their sides.

I predict that ABC will have a hit on their hands despite the fact that the New York Times refers to the series as “a powerful ego boost for insecure civil servants.” And the fact that the “Style Columnist” at the Washington Post calls it “a sorry excuse for a television show” probably won’t have much of an impact. If the producers can continue to keep open-border politics out of the series, they’ll have a successful run. Now they just need a plan for going up against the season premiere of American Idol next week.