|Dangerous Holes in Border Security
|Is a War Going on in Texas?
If you don’t have access to Texas newspapers or the internet, you may not have heard the sensational news about the enormous cache of weapons our government recently seized in Laredo, Texas. U.S. authorities grabbed two completed Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), 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, bullet-proof vests, police scanners, sniper scopes, narcotics, and cash.
That 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 our southern 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 Quaeda ties to cross the Texas-Mexico border into the United States. A government spokesman in Houston said “at this point there is no connection with anything in Iraq.” Well, we are not so easily reassured. We wonder what our government is doing to fulfill its duty to “protect each of them [the states] against invasion,” as called for in the U.S. Constitution, Article IV.
The Department of Homeland Security now 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 ten years, including 63 in Arizona, and several 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 our 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 agents sitting ducks for Mexican snipers?
Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) reported that sheriff 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 our country. Our outgunned and outmanned sheriff 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 wide-open lawlessness on the Mexican side of the border. Our Border Patrol agents say they are often confronted by corrupt Mexican military units employed to protect and escort violent drug smugglers.
Meanwhile, the news media have shown us pictures of the just-discovered sophisticated 2,400-foot tunnel running from Mexico under our border to a warehouse in San Diego. U.S. authorities recovered more than two tons of marijuana, and it is unclear how long the tunnel has been in operation or how many tons of drugs already passed through. It is now believed that the drug cartel started building the tunnel two years ago.
The Bush Administration whines that it can’t (i.e., won’t) do anything to implement border security unless its guest-worker/amnesty proposal is part of the legislative package. 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 36-year-old Julie Myers, to whom President 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.
When Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) spoke to CPAC in Washington, DC on February 9, he said: “We have to work with Mexico because, like it or not, we are joined by a common border. We are in a sense married, and we have to make the marriage work because we cannot get a divorce.”
Cornyn seems to have forgotten that Texas was once married to Mexico, and Texas didn’t like it. Texas fought a war for independence, successfully “divorced” Mexico, and later came into the United States. Not many Americans want to be “married” to any other country, but some powerful people are working for open borders among all North American countries. When they talk about “comprehensive” reform, that means including guest-worker/amnesty as part of any border-security legislation.
Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ) says that if you visit the border, you will find that almost everyone who lives there is armed for protection from illegals. Just imagine if you had to carry a gun when you 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 Rep. Hayworth’s new book called Whatever It Takes: Illegal Immigration, Border Security, and the War on Terror. He calls for a security fence, 10,000 border agents, enforcement of penalties on employers who hire illegal aliens, cooperation between the feds and our 700,000 local and state police officers to enforce our immigration laws, more detention centers to keep illegals until they can be deported, and an end to the racket of giving U.S. citizenship to babies born to illegal aliens.
More Crime on Our Borders
T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, said, “MS-13 has shown that its members have very little regard for human life. Some of the atrocities they have committed are truly unspeakable, and it worries me to know that our agents on the line are now the targets.”
MS-13 is one of the most brutal and dangerous gangs in the world. In addition to murder, MS-13 engages in mutilation, beheadings, chopping off of fingers, and torture. MS-13 is now estimated to have 10,000 members in 33 U.S. states and another 50,000 in Mexico and Central America. It was formed in Los Angeles by immigrants from El Salvador.
In reporting on Mardi Gras on February 27, CBS-TV Evening News aired a segment on how the tattooed MS-13 street gang has invaded New Orleans. CBS explained that they are vicious beyond anything New Orleans police have ever experienced, and will kill a policeman immediately rather than run the risk of being deported. MS-13 members are usually skilled laborers by day and murderers by night. They came to Louisiana to take jobs as carpenters, plumbers, and other construction jobs (jobs that should be reserved for displaced Louisiana citizens).
Lou Dobbs reported on CNN-TV that Mexican troops are crossing our southern border twice a month in uniform, in military vehicles and carrying military weapons. The Bush Administration’s response to this invasion is don’t-ask-don’t-tell.
In the Sonoran desert along the Texas border, Border Patrol agents say they are often confronted by corrupt Mexican military units employed by violent drug smugglers. “These are active Mexican military that have sold out to the cartels,” one of our Arizona agents said. “We talk about cooperation with the Mexican government, but most of them seem to be on the take. . . . It’s like we’re having a battle on the border that no one speaks of.”
The New York Times reported that 18,207 illegal OTMs (Other Than Mexicans) have been the beneficiaries of the Bush Administration’s scandalous “catch and release” procedure in the three months since Homeland Secretary Michael Chertoff promised to “return every single illegal entrant — no exceptions.” Catch and release means that the illegal OTMs are not deported but, after catch, are released on their own recognizance with instructions to reappear a few weeks hence, with everybody understanding that they will disappear into the American population.
An estimated 400,000 people who have been ordered out of the United States, including many convicted criminals or those from terrorist states, are still living in the U.S. because federal officials have failed to ensure their removal.
Immigration investigators busted a 16-member smuggling ring in El Paso that brought thousands of illegal aliens into the U.S. The smugglers charged the aliens $1,500 to $6,000 each, depending on their point of origin. Rig drivers were paid $300 for each alien they successfully delivered to Dallas. The illegals were squeezed into truck trailers; one had 79, another had 51 riding in a locked trailer with no food and one empty 20-ounce water bottle.
In the last fiscal year, American drivers were caught 4,078 times on suspicion of smuggling aliens through San Ysidro and Otay Mesa into San Diego. U.S. agents only inspect a fraction of the estimated 64,000 vehicles that cross daily.
The Mexican government is facilitating illegal entry by distributing maps of dangerous border areas along with safety instructions and other tips. The maps provide details of the terrain, cell-phone coverage and water stations.
To President Bush’s approval of the $6.5 billion sale of terminals at six of our most important ports to the United Arab Emirates, Americans are shouting, “That needs to change.” We are fed up with the post-9/11 failure (i.e., the refusal) of the Bush Administration to secure our borders and ports.
Bush’s defense is, “Trust me.” Sorry ’bout that. Bush’s constituency prefers the Reagan maxim, “Trust but verify.”
Ports pose a vital security concern because fewer than 5% of the more than 14 million containers that go through U.S. ports every year are inspected. We hope the other 95% of containers don’t contain bombs or contraband.
It didn’t help Bush’s position when a Senate committee on February 27 released a document showing that Coast Guard intelligence officials had raised the possibility of “potential unknown threats” connected with the backgrounds of employees of the UAE company involved, Dubai PortsWorld. The Coast Guard document referred to the potential for foreign influences over our ports and their use for terror operations, and that broad “intelligence gaps” prevented them even from assessing the risks. The Administration protested that those concerns had already been “addressed,” but Senators questioned why the Coast Guard’s red-flag warning didn’t result in the 45-day investigation that is required by law anyway.
The fact that the UAE has been helpful in some respects since 9/11 does not trump the facts that two of the 9/11 hijackers came from the UAE and some money to finance 9/11 was laundered through that country’s banking system. Dubai was the main trans-shipment point for the Pakistani nuclear engineer who ran the world’s largest nuclear proliferation ring and shipped equipment to enrich uranium from there to Libya, Iran and North Korea.
In defending the sale and pledging to veto any bill Congress might pass to cancel the deal, President Bush said, “I want those who are questioning it to step up and explain why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard than a great British company.” That’s easy to explain.
In the first place, Dubai Ports isn’t just a Middle Eastern company; it’s wholly owned by a Middle East government. We oppose this deal for the same reason that we successfully blocked Cosco, a company owned by the Communist Chinese government, from taking over the Long Beach Naval Station (the closed U.S. naval base).
To those who are looking for a standard for U.S. decision-making, here it is: the ports are American property and we’re fully entitled to make any decision we believe is in the best interest of the United States of America. No law requires us to treat all countries the same.
We’ve been friends with England since 1814, connected by history, common law, language and wartime alliances, and there is no reason why we can’t prefer England over a country that votes against us in the United Nations 70 percent of the time, and whose total existence depends on selling us oil at exorbitant prices.
The Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS) was so casual that it failed to require Dubai Ports to keep copies of its business records on U.S. soil where they would be subject to orders from U.S. courts, and failed to require the company to designate an American citizen to accommodate U.S. requests.
Those obligations are commonly attached to U.S. approvals of foreign sales. CFIUS merely asked Dubai Ports to operate our seaports with existing U.S. managers “to the extent possible” and to take “all reasonable steps” to assist the Homeland Security Department.
The UAE has resurrected three has-been politicians: Republican Bob Dole (KS), and Democrats Tom Downey (NY) and Carol Browner (Clinton’s head of the Environmental Protection Agency), to lobby for the port deal. They have a hard sell.
Former presidential candidate Gary Hart was plucked from political limbo to sound off on television. He said the deal illustrates “the confluence of the age of terrorism with the age of globalism, and we’re just going to have to get used to it.”
No, we don’t. The American people are ready to ditch globalism and free trade if that means we must acquiesce in a deal made in London to let a Middle Eastern government run our ports in New York, Miami, Newark-Port Elizabeth, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and Baltimore, and exercise some control over the great U.S. Army port at Beaumont, Texas.
Lacking logical arguments, those who back Bush’s position try to tar their opponents with smear words such as “racism,” “Islamophobia,” and “scaremongering.” David Brooks outdid himself in his New York Times column by hurling a torrent of ugly epithets: “xenophobic,” “Know Nothing,” “nativist,” “isolationist,” “mass hysteria,” “hatemonger,” “collective mania,” “reactionaries,” “panderers,” “bogus,” “blowhard,” “America First brigades,” “xenophobic hysteria,” and ending up with “garbage.”
In a national radio debate in which I participated, the pro-UAE-deal spokesmen’s principal argument was that the Arab world would be terribly upset by a cancellation of the deal, and we should be sensitive to their concerns because we all have to live in this world together. Au contraire. They should be sensitive to Americans’ patriotic feelings and quietly withdraw from the deal just as China National Offshore Oil Co. (in the face of U.S. opposition) last year withdrew its $18.5 billion all-cash bid to acquire Unocal, one of America’s oldest oil companies.
When Will We Secure Our Borders?
Rep. Norwood said a million illegal aliens enter this country each year under the nation’s current failure to enforce our laws, and by the time U.S. Border Patrol manpower increases approved in this year’s budget are in place and newly authorized technology and fencing is operable, more than 4 million additional illegals will enter the United States.
“We know it will happen because it happens every year under current enforcement policy, and we’re going right ahead with the same old plan,” Norwood said. “We’ll continue crowing about how we’re adding 1,500 new border agents in 2007 that won’t be in the field until 2009, letting another 2 million illegal aliens walk across. We’ll rattle on about how we’re adding technology and fencing that won’t be ready until 2010, allowing another million illegals in. Right now, with our current budget and reform plans, we are by default agreeing to allow an additional 4 million illegal aliens into our country, the equivalent of the entire population of South Carolina.”
Rep. Norwood said the deployment of troops to the border would cost $2.5 billion a year. Is that a lot of money? Mr. Norwood said it’s less than 4% of the $70 billion a year the United States is currently spending on the health care, schooling, and incarceration costs of illegal aliens.
Don’t expect Mexico to give us any help to stop the millions coming over our southern border. On February 9, Mexico announced it will stand firm in pushing for the right of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute U.S. soldiers overseas. Ruben Aguilar, the spokesman for President Vicente Fox, said, “Nobody in the world should be immune from the action of justice.” The Mexican government must have a peculiar idea of justice. The United States does not belong to the ICC, but the court in the Hague claims jurisdiction over us anyway.
Shortly thereafter, resolutions on border security were presented to the Republican National Committee (RNC) at its January 19-20 meeting in Washington, DC. The Bush Administration sent in its big guns, headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, to insist that RNC members support his guest-worker plan or else they would be labeled disloyal and disrespectful of President Bush. RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman made the rounds to regional caucuses to demand approval of Bush’s guest-worker plan.
It is a wonder why President Bush and Karl Rove are so tone deaf on this issue. Some speculate that the Bush Administration is in the pocket of big business lobbying interests that want the cheap labor made available by the government’s failure to enforce our immigration laws.
Others speculate that Bush and Rove are hallucinating that the Hispanics will vote Republican. That won’t happen; Hispanics vote 55% to 75% Democratic because, since they are mostly in the low-income sector of our economy, they vote for the party that promises the social benefits of the welfare state, not for the party that pretends to support fiscal integrity and small government.
It is so unfortunate that Bush is alienating his political base and creating what one RNC member calls “enthusiasm deficit.”