There's bad news coming in about our country's porous border with Mexico.
First, that border may be more porous than we even realized. A U.S. official told the Senate Homeland Security Committee this week that only 129 miles of that nearly 2000-mile long U.S.-Mexico border is secure.
CNS News reports:
Richard M. Stana, director of homeland security and justice issues at the Government Accountability Office (which is responsible for “auditing agency operations to determine whether federal funds are being spent efficiently and effectively”), told the Senate Homeland Security Committee yesterday that the federal government can actually prevent or stop illegal entries into the United States along only 129 miles of the 1,954-mile-long U.S.-Mexico border.
That leaves 1,825 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border where the Border Patrol cannot prevent or stop an illegal entry.
Nonetheless, Stana told the committee, the Border Patrol itself says it has established “an acceptable level of control” along 873 miles of the 1,954-mile-long southwest border. This is because of the way the Border Patrol defines “an acceptable level of control” of the border.
That's not the only threat to border security. Down on the Texas-Mexico border, the drug war is putting U.S. agents at grave risk.
The AP reports:
Mexican drug cartel members threatened to kill U.S. agents working on the American side of the border this month, a Texas congressman said Thursday.
Republican Michael McCaul said a law enforcement bulletin was issued this month warning that Mexican gangsters were overheard plotting to kill Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and Texas Rangers stationed along the border. McCaul did not identify which cartels or what agency issued the bulletin.
Don Reay, executive director of the Texas Border Sheriff's Coalition, said threats against American law enforcement officials along the border are nothing new.
"We get almost periodic reports of some informant saying there is a bounty" on U.S. authorities, Reay said. "We realize the potential is there, the threat is there."
The latest bulletin warned of a plot to shoot at the agents with AK-47 assault rifles from the Mexican side of the border into the U.S.
Reay said he couldn't comment on the specific threat McCaul mentioned, but said it was proof that a serious security threat remains along the U.S. border with Mexico. Members of Congress have asked the administration to get what they call "operational control" of the Mexican and Canadian borders. But they define that as meaning no "unlawful entries into the United States", including drugs, terrorists and illegal immigrants, a definition Homeland Security officials call unrealistic.
More than 35,000 people have been killed in Mexico's drug war since President Felipe Calderon launched an offensive against the drug gangs shortly after taking office in late 2006.
Numerous U.S. citizens have been caught up in the violence. In February, ICE agent Jaime Zapata was shot and killed, and agent Victor Avila was wounded, in a roadside ambush in Mexico.