If our Military was on the border instead of in Iraq, we would have a
Where is the Oath of Office to protect the United States Mr. President?
Congress must probe reports of border incursions
Congress must heed Rep. David Dreiers call for a full
investigation of reports that Mexican military personnel have crossed the
border into the United States more than 200 times in the past
Daily Bulletin reporter Sara A. Carter broke this national
story Sunday after obtaining a Department of Homeland Security document
showing 216 such incursions since 1996 and an Office of National Drug
Control Policy map showing 23 incursions in 2001.
Border Patrol agents
and some members of Congress have said that Mexican soldiers cross the
border to help drug traffickers and human smugglers enter the United
Its horrifying, Dreier, R-Glendora, said of the incursion
reports. This is the kind of stuff that we feared, and it is certainly
a threat to our national security.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael
Chertoff downplayed the reports Wednesday, even as he acknowledged that
the Border Patrol has long known of incursions by uniformed troops, which he
confirmed have averaged about 20 a year for a decade. Chertoff suggested
that most of the incidents were caused by soldiers unable to pinpoint the
border or criminals wearing military uniforms.
Chertoffs attitude is
representative of the callousness with which many federal officials treat
Border Patrol officers. They make a lot of noise about securing our
borders, but show little support or concern for the men and women who are
trying to do that job.
T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border
Patrol Council, counters with incidents such as the capture in 2000, on
the U.S. side of the border, of 16 Mexican soldiers who had fired on
agents, and the July shooting of two agents by men dressed as Mexican
Carter and fellow reporter Mason Stockstill reported Jan. 10
on a confidential Homeland Security memo obtained by the Daily Bulletin
that said Mexican smugglers planned to hire violent MS-13
members to murder U.S. Border Patrol agents. Yet many agents,
including union chief Bonner, were unaware of the Officer Safety Alert
until contacted by the Daily Bulletin 19 days after the Dec. 21 date on
the federal alert. I think Washington doesnt want the public to know
how bad it really is, Bonner said.
Dreier, at least, is taking the
threats and the incursions seriously. Even as a congressional leader,
chairman of the House Rules Committee, a close associate of the president
and an important player in U.S.-Mexico relations, Dreier said he was
unaware of the federal incursion documents until the Daily Bulletin
reported on them. He contacted Mexican government officials Wednesday
about the issue, in addition to calling for Congress to act.
And act it
must, to determine the extent of the Mexican militarys involvement. This
issue is a microcosm of the larger issue of illegal immigration, where
federal inaction over many years has resulted in a dysfunctional system
that is unfair to all except perhaps the business interests that
benefit from low-wage labor. Congress and the White House must act this
year to increase legal immigration, stiffen penalties and enforcement
against the hiring of undocumented workers, and bring the 11 million
illegal immigrants already here out of the shadows.
But first, they
must investigate thoroughly the reported military incursions and threats
against the Border Patrol, and give agents the numbers, equipment and
support they need.