The Hidden Immigration Decision-Makers: 'Black Dragons' Within State Dept.

By David North on March 9, 2010

In addition to the prominent immigration policy decision-makers – the president, the chairs of the congressional committees and the presidential appointees in the Executive Branch – there are many other sets of less obvious policy players, located deep in the federal bureaucracy.

Today I learned of a group whose leanings were known to me, but for whom I had no name. They are the quietly Open Borders officials within the State Department, termed the "Black Dragons" in a recent article.

On the other hand there are also what appear to be restrictionist-leaning outposts within the government, such as many units of Customs and Border Enforcement (CBP, drawn largely from the old INS Border Patrol and immigration inspectors, plus the Customs Service), and, apparently, within the U.S. Department of Labor, the Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA), the subject of an earlier blog.

The role of the Black Dragons is described in an article by Fred Burton and Scott Stewart that appears in today's Immigration Daily; its title is: "Visa Security: Getting Back to Basics."

The authors discuss how terrorists, who once often used badly counterfeited travel documents, have moved on to harder-to-detect techniques, such as recruiting and indoctrinating European citizens who can travel with their own, perfectly genuine travel documents (such as the shoe bomber.)

In order to combat these more deeply hidden techniques, the State Department has been given more funds to hire more investigators.

But as Burton and Stewart point out: "... there is a powerful element within the State Department that is averse to security and does its best to thwart security programs. DSS [Diplomatic Security Service] agents refer to these people as Black Dragons... who consider security counter-productive for diplomacy and armed State Department special agents undiplomatic, [and who] use their bureaucratic power to cut off those [tighter security] programs."

The authors cite a 2004 budget decision of Congress to give the State Department an extra 200 agents for security purposes, reporting that "only 50... agents have been assigned to posts abroad as of this writing, and a total of 123 ...agents are supposed to be deployed by the end of 2011. The other ... 77 positions were taken away from the ... program by the Department and used to provide more secretarial positions."

In other words, 77 positions were allocated to help make office life a little easier for senior diplomats, as opposed to helping to keep the nation safe from terrorists.

In future blogs we will examine more of these groups of hidden decision-makers.