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Guns and money: U.S.-Mexico border besieged by crime, terror
[February 10, 2006]

Guns and money: U.S.-Mexico border besieged by crime, terror

(Copley News Service Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)If you don't have access to Texas newspapers or the Internet, you might not have heard the sensational news about an enormous cache of weapons and cash seized in Laredo, Texas.

Following separate raids on Jan. 12, 26 and 27, U.S. authorities announced they had seized two homemade bombs, materials for making 33 more, military-style grenades, 26 grenade triggers, large quantities of AK-47 and AR-15 assault rifles, 1,280 rounds of ammunition, silencers, machine gun assembly kits, 300 primers, bulletproof vests, police scanners, sniper scopes, narcotics and cash.

It sounds like a war is going on in Texas. If bomb-making factories and firearms-assembly plants are ordinary day-to-day business in the drug war along the U.S.-Mexico border, the American people need to know more about it.

The Val Verde County chief deputy warned that drug traffickers are helping terrorists with possible al-Qaida ties enter the United States along the Texas border with Mexico. A government spokesman in Houston said, "At this point there is no connection with anything in Iraq."

We are not so easily reassured. We wonder what our government is doing to fulfill its duty to "protect each of (the states) against invasion," as called for in the U.S. Constitution, Article IV.

The Department of Homeland Security admits that there have been 231 documented incursions by Mexican military or police (or drug or people smugglers dressed in military uniforms) during the last 10 years, including 63 in Arizona. Several U.S. Border Patrol agents have been wounded in these encounters. This admission comes after years of pretending that such incursions were just "accidents."

Homeland Security sent a confidential memo in January to Border Patrol agents warning that they could be the targets of assassins hired by alien smugglers. The alert states that the contract killers will probably be members of the vicious MS-13 Mara Salvatrucha street gang, whose 17-year-old killers will be protected from capital punishment by a recent U.S Supreme Court decision.

There is, indeed, a drug war going on between rival drug gangs. But the U.S. government seems to be just a bystander without manpower or weapons to take action. Are we going to continue to leave our Border Patrol agents sitting ducks for Mexican snipers?

Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., reported that sheriff's deputies spotted a military-style Humvee near El Paso, Texas, with a mounted .50-caliber machine gun escorting a caravan of SUVs bringing illegal drugs into the United States. Our outgunned and outmanned sheriff's deputies and state highway patrol couldn't do anything except take pictures.

The Mexican government is unwilling or incapable of doing anything to stop the lawlessness on the Mexican side of the border. U.S. Border Patrol agents say they are often confronted by corrupt Mexican military units employed to protect and escort violent drug smugglers.

Meanwhile, the media have shown us pictures of the sophisticated 2,400-foot tunnel discovered Jan. 25 running under the border from a warehouse in Tijuana, Mexico, to a warehouse in San Diego. Mexican authorities recovered more than 2 tons of marijuana on the Mexican side. Another 200 pounds were recovered on the U.S. side by U.S. authorities.

U.S. authorities say they had been receiving tips about the tunnel for two years but could not locate it until recently. They also admitted that they do not know how many tons of drugs had already passed through the tunnel before it was raided on Jan. 25.

The Bush administration whines that it can't (i.e., won't) do anything to implement border security unless its guest worker (read, amnesty) proposal is part of the legislative package. Recently, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff looked pathetically weak when interviewed on television by Bill O'Reilly.

When is our government going to protect us from the crime, the drugs, the smuggling racket, destruction of property, the endangerment to U.S. residents along our border and our undermanned Border Patrol?

In charge of protecting Americans against this war is Julie Myers, 36, to whom President George W. Bush gave a recess appointment after her Senate confirmation bogged down because of her total lack of law-enforcement experience. Her qualifications are her connections: She is the niece of former Joint Chiefs Chairman Richard Myers and the wife of Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff's chief of staff.

Rep. J.D. Hayworth, R-Ariz., says that if you visit the border, you will find that almost everyone who lives there is armed for protection from illegal immigrants. Just imagine if you had to carry a gun to go to the grocery store or take your kids to school!

For the best up-to-date analysis of what our government should do, read Hayworth's new book called "Whatever It Takes: Illegal Immigration, Border Security, and the War on Terror" (Regnery; $28). He calls for a security fence, 10,000 border agents, enforcement of penalties on employers who hire illegal aliens, cooperation between federal agencies and our 700,000 local and state police officers to enforce U.S. immigration laws, more detention centers to keep illegal immigrants until they can be deported, and an end to the racket of giving U.S. citizenship to babies born to illegal aliens.

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Phyllis Schlafly is a lawyer, conservative political analyst and the author of "The Supremacists." She can be contacted by e-mail at [email protected]

Copyright 2006 Copley News Service

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