Last Friday, a report entitled “Broken Neighbor, Broken Border” was made public. It was the culmination of an investigation performed between August 2nd and August 6th for the House Immigration Reform Caucus. And while part of it was goods news, such as the fact that the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005 and the Secure Fence Act of 2006, have cut illegal entries into the U.S. on our southern border by half, the current reality is daunting. According to the report, “the nature of illegal entries has become increasingly dangerous to the homeland security of our nation, based on the near collapse of civil authority in the northern states of Mexico.”
What is the increasingly dangerous nature of those infiltrating our southern border? The report explained, “Illegal entrants consist of not just ‘economic’ violators, but also heavily armed drug cartel members and ‘OTMs’–other than Mexican illegal aliens–from diverse countries, including Middle Eastern nations, with terrorist factions currently at war with U.S. forces.” Even more daunting is the report’s assessment of the conventional methods we have been using to protect the border:
Both U.S. Border Patrol officers and Texas law enforcement agencies are at present forced to back down from these heavily armed incursions, due to the overwhelming firepower and manpower of the drug cartels. U.S. private property owners on the border have been largely abandoned to defend themselves, and have begun to be murdered.
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, one of many law enforcement officials on the frontline of this fight was more succinct: “We are outgunned, we are outmanned, and we don’t have the resources to fight this.”
The report also takes the Obama administration to task for its anemic response to the crisis. “The U.S. Border Patrol,” it says, “is operating under conditions set by the Administration that guarantee hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens will succeed in their effort to infiltrate the United States.” Furthermore:
The official position of the Administration, which has been forced on the U.S. Border Patrol, is that even after admitting to these conditions, the border is more secure than it has ever been, that U.S. national security needs are being met as well as they can be, and that efforts by the states and local law enforcement to combat this explosive situation beyond the efforts of the Administration should be legally stymied.
Obviously, this is a reference to the Justice Department’s ongoing effort to prevent Arizona from enforcing a recently-enacted state law allowing enforcement officers to inquire about someone’s immigration status if they are detained. Despite the fact that the statute closely mirrors federal law, Attorney General Eric Holder, et al., contend that any state law regarding immigration constitutes an illegal usurpation of federal power. Yet Mr. Holder’s Justice Department is hardly a model of consistency regarding the sanctity of federal law. Hundreds of ”sanctuary cities,” with policies expressly forbidding law enforcement officers to inquire about one’s immigration status–even if the person in question has committed a felony–are in outright violation of federal immigration law. Yet, to date, the Justice Department hasn’t filed a single lawsuit against any of them. The not-so-subtle message to the people of Arizona, and any other states contemplating similar measures? You can’t defend yourself against the onslaught of illegal aliens – and the federal government won’t defend you either.
To say such states need defending can’t be overstated. Since 2006, over twenty-eight thousand people have been murdered in Mexico, the overwhelming majority of whom have been victims of highly organized and heavily armed drug cartels. The report puts this number of casualties in perspective, noting that the wars America is fighting in both Iraq and Afghanistan have produced 6,000 deaths since 2001. Thus, Mexico has suffered more than four times the number of deaths in five less years than soldiers engaged in all-out combat operations against hardened terrorists.
Fighting Mexican drug cartels is an exceedingly difficult task, according to several sheriffs interviewed for the report. Zapata County, Texas Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez testifies to the ruthlessness of cartel members. He reports that “the motus (sic) operandi of the drug cartels is to kidnap its victims, and take them to remote locations in Mexico where they are frequently tortured before being killed, by having old tires filled with gas placed over them and ignited, and other equally gruesome means. Victims are often beheaded.” In addition, “his department has received unconfirmed reports from informants that in at least one instance victims have been kidnapped in Mexico for possible organ harvesting, and for adoption of infants by wealthy childless couples.”
Part of Gonzalez’s patrol territory is Falcon Lake, where American jet-skier David Hartley was allegedly killed (his body has not been recovered), and the lead Mexican investigator on the case has been beheaded. Gonzalez has ordered his force of 28 men to remain off the lake because they “are seriously outgunned.”
Gonzalez also reports that Border Patrol agents refuse to coordinate their efforts with local law enforcement officers due to “supposed Border Patrol issues over training and policy differences with deputies.” Gonzales, along with other border sheriffs, also points out the enforcement efforts they do engage in are costly, consuming an average of 30% of their resources and manpower. Val Verde County Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez was even more direct, saying that “for the total $70,000 cost to put a new Border Patrol officer in the field he could pay for 3 deputies.” He also confirms a lack of communication between the FBI, BP, DEA and local deputies.
How formidable is the enemy? A 19-year-old illegal was arrested by Zapata County deputies after transporting 400 pounds of marijuana across Falcon Lake. He claimed he was recruited by the Zeta Cartel when he was 15. He began his career as a look-out, working his way up to drug and illegal alien smuggler. He also confessed to “participating in 18-19 executions of men and women of all ages” and engaging “in corporal punishment through torture, that included driving toothpicks under fingernails, the tightening of vice grips on fingers till the fingers burst, and paddling with two-by-fours for (anyone) making simple mistakes in their duties to the cartel.”
The suspect further confessed that the border is “absolutely not secure,” that Mexican officials have been totally corrupted by the cartels “from the lowest recruit to the highest ranking officials” and that “the U.S. presence of cartel members is being increased rapidly, as many of the pointmen being placed on the American side are also ‘sleepers,’ ready for ‘future combat’ against competing cartels in U.S. cities, and against the Border Patrol and border Sheriffs if necessary to protect the bigger drug loads in the event of a crackdown by U.S. authorities.”
In short, the war along our southern border–one which is spilling into the United States with alarming frequency–is reaching critical mass. And while “Broken Neighbor, Broken Border” blames both the Bush and Obama administration for failing to secure the border, it offers up a stinging rebuke of the latter:
The Obama Administration is now actively opposing the efforts of state and local law enforcement to provide needed security against illegal alien criminal activity, and has ordered the release of illegal aliens inside the United States in defiance of current immigration law.
The report offers several recommendations for solving the problem, two of which stand out. First, “let the states secure their own borders.” Second, engage in a ”long-term deployment of a minimum 25,000 armed troops with enforcement power… on our southern border to preserve U.S. sovereignty and the lives of American citizens from organized armed forces hostile to the United States.”
Are the Democrats listening? Apparently not. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has announced his intention to bring legislation known as the DREAM Act up for a vote prior to the end of the current session. The bill would give hundreds of thousands of illegals a pathway to citizenship under certain conditions. Meanwhile, the arguably most violent war taking place in the world today, going on right along – and across – our southern border is not on the agenda.
Intimate pat-downs at American airports, while our southern border turns into a full-blown combat zone – it doesn’t get more politically tone-deaf than that.
Arnold Ahlert is a contributing columnist to the conservative website JewishWorldReview.com