Violence on the border endangers Americans
Examiner Editorial
April 8, 2010

Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, hears a lot of disturbing reports from Texas law enforcement officials working along the U.S. border with Mexico. Poe returned from his most recent trip to the Lone Star State claiming to have seen photographs taken by local sheriffs of Mexican military helicopters in action over U.S. territory. One copter was photographed hovering over a building; the other over a recreational vehicle park, according to the Examiner's Barbara Hollingsworth. "We don't know what their intention was," Poe told Hollingsworth, adding: "The Mexican military has no business coming into the United States."

As troubling as is the possibility that a foreign military force may have violated U.S. airspace on multiple occasions, what is even more disturbing is the escalating violence on the border. It's no exaggeration to say that the Mexican government is fighting a desperate battle with powerful drug cartels for control of the country. Americans who dismiss fears that this violence will spill over into this country should listen to Poe. He recently contacted sheriffs in the 14 Texas counties that share the border with Mexico and found that more than a third of the people in their jails are foreign nationals who have been charged with committing serious crimes in this country.

The apparent apathy of President Obama and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano is inexplicable. Texas Gov. Rick Perry recently asked Napolitano to dispatch unmanned surveillance drones and 1,000 additional U.S. soldiers to boost federal Border Patrol agents and local sheriffs in the effort to protect the border. Instead of heeding Perry's warning, Napolitano instead canceled the "virtual" border surveillance project approved under the Bush administration. That decision virtually leaves Perry and the governors of Arizona, New Mexico and California to cope with the increasing flood of illegal immigrants, drugs, money and guns coming over the border from Mexico.

Some of the Mexican nationals crossing into the United States from border towns do so in desperation, seeking safety from the horror of towns like Guerroro, a town of 6,000 in which the local authorities recently warned residents to stay inside whenever possible or risk being killed in the crossfire between the drug cartels and Mexican troops. But al Qaeda-linked terrorists from Somalia may also be coming into this country from Mexico, according to the Examiner's Sara A. Carter. At least 23 Somalis were detained by Mexican authorities for illegally entering that country last year, but then mistakenly released, according to a U.S. intelligence memo Carter obtained. The memo's author warned U.S. law enforcement personnel "to maintain a heightened level of awareness." The warning needs to be heard in the Oval Office, too.