Friday, December 05, 2003

US Border War

It's been noticed for at least two decades and it's been a story for the past 5 years - Mexican Army units are conducting armed incursions into the United States. This in itself is a flagrant violation of agreements between the Untited States and Mexico and violates United States sovereignty, but it goes much further. Once on this side of the border, these soldiers are often engaging US federal agents, local police officers and civilians with automatic rifle fire. There is even one incident involving the kidnapping of an American family in Candelaria, Texas. Apparently, the husband is still being held in Mexico.

US officials generally turn a blind eye to these incidents. Mexican officials generally deny the incidents occur, unless we are returning captured Mexican soldiers. In these cases, we're told it was just a mistake and the soldiers didn't know they were in the US when they were shooting at the border patrol vehicles with the big red and blue lights. Far from being isolated incidents, my research indicates nearly 200 incursions in the past five years. That's nearly forty per year - or one every 10-12 days.

President Clinton signed legislation, which would have allowed 10,000 soldiers to augment our sieve of a border, but that really never happened. The Joint Task Force 6 missions - about 130 per year - came under extreme criticism, especially when the Marines had the audacity to shoot at border-crossers who fired on them. We pretty much pulled the support on these anti-smuggling missions, again caving to The 51st State. President Bush is spending great amounts of money to augment the Border Patrol. In the Southwest, increased expendetures are evident by the elevated observation platforms, new vehicles and increased presence of Border Patrol Agents on the main highways. This, however, does not address the actions of the Mexican military.

It is clear Vicente Fox is not the heaven-sent diplomat Mexico and America prayed for. The rampant corruption in Mexican government is common knowledge and has not changed. To those who frequently travel through Mexico, the federales are seen as enforcers by day and banditos by night. Mexican officials at all levels are thought to be in bed with the drug runners, illegal aliens smugglers, and border thugs. Even if untrue, this perception is not helped when officials of certain Mexican cities are actually teaching border-crossers how to succeeed at getting past US immigration controls.

All of these activities are acts of war against the United States - whether so intended or not. The one constant the Mexicans depend upon is that the US will do nothing. America cannot afford this type of attitude any longer. We are literally being invaded by illegal immigrants, smugglers and now the Mexican Army. What does it take before we act? What will the cost need to be before we secure our border with more than just imagination and a severely understaffed Border Patrol?