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US Border Issues Require Intense Focus on Central America

US Border Issues Require Intense Focus on Central America

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The Need to Boost Surveillance on MEXICO’S SOUTHERN BORDER- BY Jerry Brewer
The Need to Boost Surveillance on MEXICO’S SOUTHERN BORDER- BY Jerry Brewer

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Published by: Jerry E. Brewer, Sr. on Apr 15, 2013
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04/15/2013

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Column 041513 Brewer 
 
Monday, April 15, 2013
 
The Need to Boost Surveillance on Mexico'sSouthern Border
 
By Jerry Brewer
 
For decades the United States has too often, andunwisely, ignored the borders to the south of Mexico with the northern cone of Central America. Over thepast decade alone U.S. law enforcement officialshave played hide-and-seek with a massive and fluidillegal entry of emigrants who have traveled fromand/or through Central America.Barbarous violence and carnage reported fromMexico in 2005 graphically brought the reality tothe U.S. media that the U.S. border was unsafe.Immediate cries were vociferously announced to batten down the hatches -- build walls, build fences,move more patrols to the border.The office of Mexico's Attorney General reportedMexico's nationwide totals of victims were over 900executions during the first four months of 2005.Murders of police officers and their leaders, along with the killings and kidnappings of Mexican andU.S. citizens, began to outrage both nations.
 
Two U.S. Border Patrol agents had been woundednear Nogales, Arizona, ambushed and shot by assailants dressed in black commando-typeclothing. More than 50 rounds were fired at theagents. To aid the perpetrators escape, oneapparently remained behind and used a portableradio to pinpoint the agents' location for snipershidden nearby. Authorities said the gunmen fledusing military-style cover and concealment tactics, while investigators later found commando clothingand other so-called sophisticated equipment at the
 
sneak attack site.
 
However the aforementioned shooting was but oneof a rising number of assaults on U.S. Border Patrolagents in the Tucson-Nogales sector. Since October1, 2004, 196 assaults on agents, including 24shootings, had been recorded. Making things worse,there was a reported US$50,000 bounty on BorderPatrol agents, and state and local police officers. Also a few years back, on the Texas border in theLaredo (Webb County) area, sheriff officialsreported a heavily armed commando-style groupescorting a drug load into the U.S., past anoutnumbered and outgunned group of Webb County officers. They laid low in order not to be seen.In addition to concerns of attacks on police officers,members of the Texas Border Sheriffs' Coalitionfeared and announced that terrorists could easily slip across the U.S.-Mexico border and carry outdeadly attacks. Then Webb County Sheriff Rick Flores even announced that, "Staging a terroristattack in Laredo (Texas), America's largest inlandport, would be very simple. We've got 7,000 truckscrossing on a daily basis."This was a wake-up call that short-sightedly focusedon Mexican "illegal aliens" coming to, and residingin, the U.S. What had been missed from long ago isthat millions of undocumented migrants, plustransnational organized crime perpetrators, hadlong since crossed the border and moved into andthroughout the U.S.
 
Mexico's troubles and admitted weakness were dueto its unsecured 541 miles of border withGuatemala, and 156 miles with Belize. As such, aparadigm of human folly and historical paradoxcould describe the U.S. and Mexico each citing alack of a coordinated regional strategic plan in theareas of security, control and development toprevent their borders from sliding out of control.Effective border strategies must be comprehensive,flexible and adaptable. Estimates are that over
 
500,000 undocumented aliens illegally cross the border every year into Mexico from Central America.Many nations throughout the world lack adequateresources, people, and effective programs to putmuch of a dent in this scourge without assistance.Their lack of action critically impacts neighboringnations.There are a myriad of reasons why people leave theirhomelands for what they perceive to be greenerpastures. For the most part this probably can besummed up in financial opportunities that are widely thought to exist. As well, many fleeoppressive government regimes, and there are thosethat flee for their lives due to crime, murder, torture,kidnapping, extortion, and related robberies andcrimes of violence.
 
Furthermore, ineffective policing and the lack of therule of law is a motivator for quick and neededchange.
 
It is fact that drug trafficking contributes to asignificant percentage of the border problems. Over65 percent of all cocaine leaving South Americapasses through Central America to Mexican andU.S. markets. But it is also fact that many other violent crimes for massive profits now rival much of the drug trade, this as cocaine profits may be spreadthinner and, in part at least, the result of anti-druglaw enforcement and military cooperationthroughout most of the Americas.Regarding gangs and gang violence, last year theU.S. State Department estimated the overall numberof gang members in Central America at possibly 85,000 MS-13 and 18th Street gangsters in thenorthern triangle countries (El Salvador,Guatemala, and Honduras), this up from 70,000 in2005. Furthermore, homicide rates in Central America, some of the highest in the world, havegrown to what the UN Office on Drugs and Crimerates at the "near crisis point."
 

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