17 May 2010, 10:29am
Latest Forest News Tramps and Thieves
by admin

Death on the border

But Washington refuses to act

By ABBY WISSE SCHACHTER, NY Post, May 14, 2010 [here]

A war is raging in Mexico, yet Washington still refuses to make securing the border a priority: It’s more interested in bashing Arizona’s immigration-enforcement law.

Yet it’s not hard to see why Arizonans are afraid. No, the ongoing Mexican drug wars haven’t crossed seriously into the United States yet. But Mexico has seen some 22,743 people killed in drug-related violence since December 2006.

And things aren’t dying down. After one recent bloody attack, Mexico City’s La Reforma newspaper reported, “The situation is becoming more and more like all-out urban warfare.”

The violence is getting closer to us, too. Three people linked to the US Consulate in Ciudad Juarez (just over the border from El Paso, Texas) were shot to death on March 13. An explosive device was used in an attack on the US consulate in Nuevo Laredo earlier this year. Cartel gunmen have stepped up direct assaults on Mexican military squads sent to police the border.

And on March 27, an American rancher, Robert Krentz, was murdered on his Arizona property by someone local law enforcement describes as “a scout for a [Mexican] drug-smuggling organization.”

As if predicting his own demise, Krentz warned of the danger in a 2007 letter to Congress written with his wife about the increased criminal activity along the border across from their ranch: “We are in fear for our lives and safety and health of ourselves and that of our families and friends.”

Last year, the Border Patrol apprehended 241,453 people and confiscated a record 1.3 million pounds of marijuana — in the Tucson, Ariz., sector alone. Nearly a fifth of all those apprehended already had a US criminal record.

The FBI now calls the Mexican drug cartels the most important organized-crime threat to the United States. Nor is the danger limited to the borderlands or to drugs. Human trafficking networks flow from Mexico through states like Arizona to the entire country. Phoenix, Ariz., has become one of the world’s capitals for kidnapping.

The feds can’t even promise to secure the border. At a recent Senate hearing, the best Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin could say was, “We are geared to deter the impact of the increased violence in Mexico.”

You begin to see why Arizona passed its controversial law. Wisely or not, lawmakers were reacting to a real public concern.

Yes, the flow of illegals to the US has slowed by nearly half in the past year — but that’s clearly a temporary ebb, thanks to the recession. And immigration is a separate issue from fears that Mexico’s drug violence will come north.

In Washington, however, President Obama and others are more interested in complaining about the Arizona law than in securing the border.

For years, conventional political wisdom has been that the border problem must be tackled as part of “comprehensive immigration reform” — and the president recently noted a lack of “appetite” on Capitol Hill for tackling that issue. (Obama presumably also lacks the appetite — he was a key vote in killing the last such reform bill in the Senate three years ago.) … [more]



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