Six times in the past week, snipers have fired upon US Border Patrol officers in the Tuscon sector of the US-Mexico border:
Since Oct. 1, agents assigned to the Tucson sector, which includes the border stations at Douglas, Naco and Nogales in the highest alien- and drug-trafficking corridor in the country, have been assaulted 80 times, nine involving shootings. Responsible for a 260-mile section of the Arizona-Mexico border, the Tucson agents are being assaulted at a rate of two every three days in that period, more than doubling last year’s total.
“The continuing increase in the number of assaults being directed at our agents is of great concern,” said Border Patrol spokesman Andy Adame in Tucson. “We believe the vast majority of these assaults are directly tied to alien and drug smugglers based in Mexico.
The Border Patrol claims that the area is more secure than it was a year ago, and in a weird way these sniper incidents bear that out. It could very well be that increased difficulty getting through has led to the change in tactics. They wouldn’t be shooting if they weren’t having trouble, would they?
This is troubling:
The rise in assaults comes as the Bush administration reportedly has decided not to hire the 2,000 new Border Patrol agents that were authorized for each of the next five years in the recently passed intelligence-overhaul bill. Most of them would have been assigned to the Tucson sector.
Instead, President Bush is expected to seek an increase of only about 200 agents for the new fiscal year, according to law-enforcement authorities and others.
Passed by Congress and signed into law by Mr. Bush in December, the intelligence-overhaul bill authorizes 10,000 new Border Patrol agents in five years as part of Congress’ response to the September 11 attacks and to a report by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, which found deep institutional failings and missed opportunities by U.S. authorities in stopping the al Qaeda terrorists who crashed jetliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, who left office this week, and Undersecretary Asa Hutchinson, who leaves March 1, have confirmed separately that Mr. Bush will not seek funding for the 2,000 agents this year. Both said budget concerns precluded hiring the additional agents.
Well, that’s just more immigration-related garbage from the President. I’m all for fiscal responsibility, but isn’t securing the homeland a major part of Homeland Security?
As far as I’m concerned, in addition to hiring all 2,000 agents per year, we station a fair number of military units to conduct patrols and security in places. If it could be worked out with Mexico, maybe even cross-border raids. If we can stop the drug runners and the illegal immigrants on the Mexico border, we should be able to stop the flow of insurgents from Syria into Iraq. Sort of a counter-insurgency NTC.
The article ends with
No one has been arrested in the shootings.
I’m not all that interesting in hearing about how many have been arrested over this. This is shooters in Mexico firing on US federal security personnel. I’m more interesting in knowing how many have been killed over this.