TUCSON, Ariz. – National Guard troops at an observation post near the Mexico border were forced to flee a group of armed people, who later ran into Mexico, authorities said.
The troops, who are not allowed to apprehend illegal border crossers, withdrew safely and no one was injured, said National Guard Sgt. Edward Balaban.
U.S. Border Patrol officials are investigating the 11 p.m. Wednesday incident and trying to determine who the armed people were and why they approached the post near Sasabe, in the desert corridor between Nogales and Lukeville. Balaban said the troops didn’t know how many people were involved because it was so dark.
The Border Patrol said that heightened security in the sector since the arrival of National Guard troops in June may have forced the illegal border crossers to resort to armed confrontation. As I’ve said before, almost two years ago and repeated last year:
Increases in violence probably indicate that our security is actually improving, forcing the smugglers to resort to more drastic methods.
That doesn’t make it okay, however.
Just as the smugglers and other illegal crossers will be forced to ramp up their operations in the face of additional security, the Border Patrol and National Guard will have to ramp up their operations in response. This will include, at some point, rules of engagement that permit soldiers to fire on threats to their safety. And, it seems, the sooner the better.