View Full Version : Some Good News on the Border

03-29-2005, 09:53 PM
Finally some positive steps in curbing the flow of illegal aliens into AZ and the country. And yes they are "illegal aliens" not "undocumented workers". Their advocates would like you to think its just gov't red tape blocking their citizenship.

And we don't "need" cheap labor. Let legal Americans do it. If prices go up so be it...its where they should have been all along.

Sources: 500 new agents to patrol Arizona border
Tuesday, March 29, 2005 Posted: 12:58 PM EST (1758 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Homeland Security Department will assign more than 500 additional patrol agents to the porous Arizona border, saying they will help keep potential terrorists and illegal immigrants from entering the country, The Associated Press has learned.

The border buildup was to be announced Wednesday -- two days before civilian volunteers with the so-called Minuteman Project begin a monthlong Arizona patrol against immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico line.

About 155 agents will be immediately sent to Arizona, according to department officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the buildup was not yet announced. More than 370 additional agents -- all new trainees -- will be permanently assigned to the Arizona border throughout the year.

Until they are in place, another 200 agents will be temporarily stationed in Arizona during the high immigration season this spring and summer, officials said.

A Senate aide, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed Tuesday that more agents would be assigned to Arizona, but could not immediately say exactly how many were involved.

The 370-mile Arizona border is considered the most vulnerable stretch of the 2,000-mile southern border. Of the 1.1 million illegal immigrants apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol last year, 51 percent crossed into the country at the Arizona border.

Recent intelligence indicates that al-Qaida leaders are likely to enter the country through the Mexico border and "believe illegal entry is more advantageous than legal entry for operational security reasons," former Homeland Security Deputy Secretary James Loy said in written testimony to lawmakers last month.

The new agents will come on top of the 210 that President Bush has proposed for all U.S. borders in his budget last month -- a number lawmakers have called inadequate to effectively secure the nation's borders. It also falls far short of the 2,000 new agents mandated in intelligence reform legislation enacted in December.

Hundreds of civilian "Minuteman" volunteers have signed up to patrol a 40-mile stretch of the southeast Arizona border. They say they will merely identify and follow illegal border-crossers and not interact with them. But some of the volunteers plan to arm themselves, although they have little or no training to confront border-crossers.

T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council union, questioned whether the new employees would be enough.

"Right now, things are so out of control, we have no idea who's crossing our borders, and we can't but chase after but a few of the people," said Bonner, whose union represents more than 9,000 agents. "It's going to take more than a couple of hundred agents to seal those gaps."

An estimated 2,400 agents currently patrol the Arizona border -- about a quarter of the 10,000 assigned to the southern border. The 155 newly assigned agents will be pulled from elsewhere along the southern border -- and not from the northern border with Canada, Homeland Security officials said.

Of the 200 temporarily assigned agents, 26 are specifically trained for search and rescue operations, officials said. Last year, 330 migrants died -- mostly from exposure to the elements and lack of food and water -- while crossing the southwest border. Officials said Border Patrol agents rescue between 1,200 and 1,500 migrants in the southwest annually.

03-29-2005, 10:02 PM
What a waste of money.

03-29-2005, 10:10 PM
What a waste of money.

I don't think so. The Naco/Douglas area has the potential into escalating into a fight between the Minute Man Project people and the Mexican Gangs that want to teach them a lesson.

Adding more agents should have the effect of averting a grudge match that has the potential for loss of life.

03-29-2005, 10:18 PM
I don't think so. The Naco/Douglas area has the potential into escalating into a fight between the Minute Man Project people and the Mexican Gangs that want to teach them a lesson.

Adding more agents should have the effect of averting a grudge match that has the potential for loss of life.

The Minute Men should be thrown into jail. Vigilantism is idiotic.

03-29-2005, 10:25 PM
Agents and hardware are being committed to this operation.


U.S. agency poised for big border security operation
Arizona-Mexico stretch focus of effort

By Brock N. Meeks
Chief Washington correspondent
Updated: 5:15 p.m. ET March 29, 2005

TUCSON, Ariz. - The U.S. government will launch a multi-million dollar security initiative along a 370-mile stretch of the Arizona-Mexico border Wednesday in an effort to shut down the main artery for illegal immigration into the United States and secure an area thought to be vulnerable to terrorist infiltration, MSNBC.com has learned.

The operation, run by the Customs and Border Protection unit of the Department of Homeland Security, will increase the number of agents in the region by 25 percent, to over 2,500. The initiative, the second phase of an operation begun last year, is scheduled to be formally announced Wednesday.

The goal is to “establish and maintain operational control” of the border, according to planning documents for "Operation Full Court Press," the initiative's code name. The operation will redeploy Black Hawk helicopters and significant numbers of air and ground resources from around the country, the documents say.

Some 51 percent of the 1.1 million illegal immigrants apprehended by border patrol agents last year crossed into Arizona from Mexico.

The Border Patrol will be strengthened by more than 500 agents in several stages through the year.

Kristi Clemens, a Customs and Border Patrol spokeswoman, said the operation is intended to “strengthen and improve” the border protection procedures put in place last year, when the government launched the Arizona Border Control Initiative (ABCI), a $23 million operation. That operation was viewed as a great success, helping to yield nearly a half-million apprehensions -- about 50 percent more than the previous year.

One segment of the Arizona border, the 260-mile long stretch known as the Tucson sector, has become the leading corridor for illegal entry into the United States, according to Wayne Cornelius, a political science professor and border expert at the University of California at San Diego. In a paper, “Controlling ‘Unwanted’ Immigration: Lessons from the United States, 1993-2004," Cornelius wrote that the Tucson sector accounted for 490,827 apprehensions, or about 43 percent of all those along the Southwest border of the United States during fiscal year 2004.

“We’ve learned some things,” Clemens said. “We know where some things have been successes so we’re going to emphasize those areas and even add to that.”

'Like we squeezed a hose'
The Arizona-Mexico border is now the main entry point for illegal immigrants, owing in large part to significant enforcement build-ups along the border at San Diego, El Paso and the southern Rio Grande Valley in Texas.

“It’s almost like we squeezed a hose [at both ends] and now Arizona is where it’s bulging, because we’ve closed off so many areas,” Clemens said.

Planning documents for "Operation Full Court Press" note that U.S.-Mexico border crossings are vulnerable to a variety of "human and contraband smuggling" operations into the United States. The documents list “terrorists and weapons of terrorism” as a main “criminal element” along with “human and contraband smuggling organizations that operate exclusively in the Tucson” area that could be encountered over the course of the operation.

Officials from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security recently testified to Congress about the vulnerability of the Mexican border to potential terrorist infiltration, although each said there is no conclusive evidence that such a plot is underway.

“We are concerned, Homeland Security is concerned about special interest aliens entering the United States,” FBI Director Robert Mueller told Congress, using the Bureau’s phrase for people from countries known to harbor al-Qaida operatives.

Deterrence, risk questioned
Despite the success of last year’s effort, the flow of illegal migration seems to have had little effect on the numbers of those attempting illegal migration.

“These guys really want to get in,” said Clemens. “They have an economic incentive to get in, you see some trying over and over and over again,” she said. “Why hasn’t it been a deterrent? I think it has,” Clemens said, “you also have to look at our numbers in San Diego and some in Texas, they are way down,” leaving Arizona has the main problem area, she said.

But those who study the issue maintain that such efforts have little or no real deterrent effect. “The ‘ABC Initiative’ is tantamount to tossing another boulder in the stream,” said Cornelius. In January he interviewed more than 600 Mexican immigrants who recently returned to their home communities. Overwhelmingly Cornelius said he found that tougher border enforcement “has had no deterrent effect on the likelihood that someone would cross the border illegally.”

Knowledge of increased border enforcement and even first hand knowledge of someone that has died attempting entry into the U.S. doesn’t have a deterrent effect, he said. “Migrants and people-smugglers are avoiding, end-running, the most heavily fortified areas,” he said. “They know perfectly well where these are. Their probability of being apprehended is still low enough to justify the physical risks.”

The vulnerability factor
A federal law enforcement agent familiar with "Operation Full Court Press" voiced concern that critical areas of the country, already deemed to be “high interest targets” for terrorists, were being left vulnerable because so many resources were being shifted to Operation Full Court Press.

“Anyone determined to enter this country in a clandestine fashion will know shortly
or already knows about this operation,” the federal agent told MSNBC.com on the condition of anonymity. “They will also know that we have finite resources … the vulnerability is huge for it will make it easier to cross the border in other places,” the agent said.

In addition, shifting assets to the Arizona border for an extended time significantly decreases the investigative support those resources provide for other anti-terrorism operations, such as the Joint Terrorism Task Forces, the agent said. “Foolish placement of all of ones assets in one place will allow the enemy to sneak in behind you and hit you where you are vulnerable,” he said.

CPB’s Clemens acknowledges such potential but maintains that because there is now a single agency responsible for border protection the agency has greatly expanded its flexibility and mobility. CPB officials will be briefed daily, Clemens said, and if a problem is noted, such as a surge in apprehensions in another border area, resources will be shifted from Arizona to deal with the problem.

And no area, Clemens insists, is being left vulnerable.

“A lot of work has gone into figuring out that delicate balance (of shifting resources), taking some air assets, taking some personnel borrowing, if you will… from areas were it’s deemed it will not leave them vulnerable,” Clemens said. “We have a limited number of resources and have got to do the best job with what we currently have.”

03-29-2005, 10:48 PM
Vigilantism is idiotic.

So is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on choice land, only to have to then spend thousands upon thousands more in time spent cleaning up your property daily from the pounds of trash left there constantly from illegal border crossers, money spent on buying high tech security systems to thwart thieves and even more on buying weapons to ensure that your family is protected in the case of

I have friends who work with me and stay in town during the week, yet drive home to the border area each weekend because that is there home. I hear horror stories about monthly visits at 2 a.m. from immigrants slamming their shoulders into the front door in an attempt to get in. From another who was making himself at 5 a.m. coffee to see only in terror an arm starting to come thru his doggy door in his kitchen. Another told me of just finishing dinner with his 3 year old, and taking her out on the porch to play with her toys, only to find a man routing around his garbage. When he asked what the man was doing, the immigrant told him in broken english he just arrived to America. My friends reply, "That's great, get the hell off my property."

Imagine spending your weekends at home gathering up jackets, food wrappers, and water jugs left by the coyotes leading dozens nightly thru that area.

That's not even counting the drug runners, gangs of guys toting enough weapons to put a little fear into any local sherrif or police organization.

Do you know that the healthcare in southern arizona is one of the highest in the nation, because in the border towns across the region Americans are not allowed to stop ambulances from crossing, and hospitals must treat every patient, including those who must be shipped back to mexico as soon as their treatment is complete, knowing full well they will never be paid for such service? And that hospitals have to pass that cost somewhere - and that somewhere is onto the consumer. Now imagine having a sick wife and trying to take her to the ER late at night only to see patient after patient roll in from Nogales, Mexico Ambulences, making your wait up to 7-8 hours for service.

Now imagine you've been begging and pleading with your local, state and federal government for years, even decades to make changes, only to be greeted with a brush off and a few dozen more BP agents in the area to shut you up.

That all being said, money and more BP agents have been thrown at the Arizona border, which is the most porous in the nation, for years w/o any success. There needs to be a change in the plan, rather than just keep throwing money and more troops at.

This reeks of activism just to shut the locals up.

This isn't a Democratic or Republican, a liberal or a conservative issue. Yet both sides play politics on this all the time, while the border area residents have their rights as Americans trampled on daily while politicians punt an issue which is well past the boiling point.

Add all that and suddenly vigilantism, which is wrong on hundreds of levels, suddenly doesn't look so bad.

If a neighbors dog takes a dump in your yard every week, your screaming at the neighbor, the HOA, the city council, whomever will hear you until the problem gets fixed. Replace that dog with 36 people every week, and imagine everyone in power who could do anything about it for years on end doing nothing, and then you may get a glipse into understanding why these folks would stoop to this measure.

03-29-2005, 11:03 PM
Nice post JM, I just personally feel that the way to fix this is to make our immigration policy more flexible, not less. I don't care how many border agents are down there, short of building a wall (which I'm sure Phoenix would be gung ho about) people are still going to immigrate.

Give them a legal way of doing this and they'll take it.

Keep it illegal and they'll keep crossing illegally.

These people want to be Americans. I don't have a problem with that.

03-29-2005, 11:04 PM
Interesting perspective, Josh. This seems to be one fo those issues that you almost have to experience to really appreciate the magnitude of the problem. My wife is from San Diego and it's interesting talking to some people we know from there who normally fall sqarely on different sides of the political spectrum, but they're united in this issue.

03-29-2005, 11:05 PM
These people want to be Americans. I don't have a problem with that.

I appreciate that perspective, but are you OK with what this would do to wages in the areas most affected?

03-29-2005, 11:12 PM
They can't go below minimum if the people are abiding by the law. Right now some immigrants work for less than the US minimum wage.

If the minimum wage was increased to something sane then it wouldn't be an issue, but I know that's unlikely to happen. It's a tough problem, and no I wouldn't like wages being depressed. It'd probably take government intervention to prevent it from happening.

03-29-2005, 11:15 PM
The Minute Men should be thrown into jail. Vigilantism is idiotic.

Identifying and reporting illegal activity to authorities, in this case people illegally crossing the border, is not being a vigilante. By that theory we should lock up everyone who participates in a neighborhood watch program too.

03-29-2005, 11:16 PM
Identifying and reporting illegal activity to authorities, in this case people illegally crossing the border, is not being a vigilante. By that theory we should lock up everyone who participates in a neighborhood watch program too.

That's not all they're wanting to do.

03-29-2005, 11:17 PM
That's not all they're wanting to do.

What else do they intend to do then?

03-29-2005, 11:18 PM
Some of you northerners may not realize that the Mexican government is not just sympathetic to illegal immigration, it actively supports it. One example of that support is this guide to assist border crossers (http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/0101Comic01.html).

The reason? Money sent to Mexico from immigrants is a major source of Mexican income. Something like 25% of personal income comes from money sent by workers here.

03-29-2005, 11:23 PM
What else do they intend to do then?

They say they just want to assist law enforcement, even though law enforcement doesn't want the help.


Officials fear the Minuteman patrols could cause more trouble than they prevent. At least some of the volunteers plan to arm themselves during the 24-hour desert patrols. Many are untrained and have little or no experience in confronting illegal border crossings.

"Any time there are firearms and you're out in the middle of no-man's land in difficult terrain, it's a dangerous setting," said Bonner, whose agency is keeping a close eye on the Minutemen plans.

"There's a danger that not just illegal migrants might get hurt, but that American citizens might get hurt in this situation," he said.

Civilian patrols are nothing new along the southern border, where crossing the international line is sometimes as easy as stepping over a few rusty strands of barbed wire. But the patrols usually have been small and informal.

The Minuteman Project, because of its scope, may attract what Glenn Spencer, president of the private American Border Patrol, described as camouflage-wearing, weapons-toting hard-liners who might get carried away with their assignments.

"How are they going to keep the nut cases out of there? They can't control that," said Spencer, whose 40-volunteer group, based in Hereford, Arizona, has used unmanned aerial vehicles and other high-tech equipment to track and report the number of border crossings for more than two years.

03-29-2005, 11:25 PM
To make it clear, I don't think volunteer patrols are wrong per se, but the Minute Men, in my opinion, have portrayed themselves as something more serious than a volunteer patrol.

03-29-2005, 11:30 PM
To make it clear, I don't think volunteer patrols are wrong per se, but the Minute Men, in my opinion, have portrayed themselves as something more serious than a volunteer patrol.

Why are they more serious than a volenteer patrol? It seems they have made thier intentions clear, identify people who cross the border and report them. It was stated in the article these types of citizen patrols are nothing new on the border, it's just never been done on this scale. Who knows, might just be successful.

03-29-2005, 11:31 PM
This is a thorny issue all around.

Take it from the border patrol perspective. Your hired and trained to root out illegal immigrants. You get to an area where there is a 99 percent chance you've never been to, and your looking for folks who are coming into this country illegally. Considering your location, your looking for hispanics. Well, who makes up 40 percent of the people in that area? Hispanics. In many areas Spanish is the primary language still. So you have hispanics speaking mainly spanish on the US side of the border. A good chunk of whom came to our country legally. So if you came to America legally, and these out of towners constantly question you about being a legal resident, you'd have a healthy distrust of them and be loathe to help them in any way. If your a BP agent, illegals aren't wearing signs, so unless you catch them in the desert coming across you have no idea who is who, so you suspect everyone.

There have been stories in the news the last few years that BP agents don't wear their uniforms outside of work ever, and will even live a district or two over because the stigma is so bad in that whole area for wearing the green uni. Every BP truck now, has heavy duty wiring over the front windshield because there were so many injuries and deaths of agents from Mexicans on the other side of the border throwing projectiles and large rocks in certain spots where the Mexican border hangs over. There is a bounty by many cartels in Mexico for anyone who kills a BP or Customs agent.

Then think about who they are stopping. With the exception of drugs, you have people willing to risk their lives hiking thru some of the most dangerous desert in North America with the hope of a better life and better jobs.

Everyone I know, liberal, conservative, green, purple, blue, etc agrees something has to be done. But what something is is still a gray area, thanks to the total lack of any leadership on this issue from our politicians.

In the end, there is just so little national attention sometimes on it, especially considering that illegal immigration and terrorism can be considered one and the same in some ways, it can become maddening.