I’ve been watching the violence against US Border Patrol agents lately. In February I noted that our guys had been shot at six times in one week. Well, the trend doesn’t seem to have changed much:
In the first eight months of fiscal year 2005 there have been 163 recorded acts of violence against border agents compared with 118 for all of fiscal year 2004, according to the U.S. Border Patrol.
Border patrol officials in other sectors contacted by MSNBC.com had no figures readily available; however, all those contacted acknowledged that violence is on the increase.
First of all, as the article notes and I wrote in February, this increase in violence means that our security isn’t totally worthless. The fact that attacks of one sort or another are going up means that our efforts to improve control of our borders have been at least partially successful. They wouldn’t be attacking if they didn’t need to.
But this demonstrates that the problem is not as minor as many make it out to be. Sure, many well-meaning folks looking for a better existence cross the border illegally in hopes of improving their lot in life. But I doubt few of them attack the US Border Patrol.
It’s the more serious criminals, especially drug traffickers, I’d think, that are willing to fight for access to the US. If terrorists would try to use the porous Mexican border, they’d quite likely be willing to fight, as well, if what they were up to was important enough.
If we continue to step up border security, the attacks are going to increase. We need to be prepared for that. If someone is killed, some will argue that it’s not really worth the life of a Border Patrol agent to keep illegal immigrants out. But the fact of the matter is this: If the illegal immigrants are willing to kill in order to get in, we need to spend a lot more effort on keeping them out.
It isn’t the inexpensive housekeepers and fruit pickers that are shooting at our guys on the border.