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Over the past week the Illegal Immigration debate has gotten louder and nastier. The Arizona Senate voted Monday to approve a bill which would give police in the state broad new powers to do what the federal government has been negligent for not doing, enforcing immigration laws (it’s still not known if the Governor will sign it). 

The legislation has attracted widespread attention, with some bringing up the claims that this is all about racial profiling. Cardinal Roger Mahony, who heads the Los Angeles archdiocese, made the comments in his blog Sunday saying the bill would encourage “German Nazi and Russian Communist techniques.”

The Cardinal and the immigration supporters that have come out of the woodwork to criticize the over the past few days are wrong. This is all about safety and the rule of law.  A report released by the Dept of Justice Drug Intelligence Unit warns of increasing violence seeping up from our Southern Border with Mexico

Most illicit drugs available in the United States and thousands of illegal immigrants are smuggled into the United States across the nearly 2,000-mile Southwest Border, including through the Tohono O’odham Reservation . Conversely, a significant amount of illegal firearms and weapons as well as bulk currency are smuggled from the Southwest Border region into Mexico. Intensified counterdrug operations, in addition to intracartel and intercartel warfare and plaza competition, have resulted in unprecedented violence in northern Mexico and the potential for increasing violence in the United States.

….Several recent, large counterdrug initiatives in the United States and Mexico have been implemented to directly disrupt Mexican cartel operations. For example, in March 2008, the GOM initiated Operation Chihuahua in response to increased drug-related violence between the Juárez and Sinaloa Cartels over drug smuggling plazas in the Mexican border state of Chihuahua. Since then, more than 7,500 soldiers and 2,000 federal agents have been deployed to cities within the state, including Asunción, Buenaventura, Casas Grandes, Chihuahua City, Ciudad Juárez, Janos, Ojinaga, Nuevo Casas Grandes, and Palomas. Operation Chihuahua most likely resulted in seizures of drug shipments before they reached the U.S.-Mexico border, although official seizure statistics are not available. Similarly, the DEA-led Operation Xcellerator, which targeted the U.S. operations of the Sinaloa Cartel, concluded in November 2009 and resulted in 781 arrests and the seizure of more than 12,000 kilograms of cocaine, 17,000 pounds of marijuana, 1,200 pounds of methamphetamine, 1.3 million MDMA tablets, $61 million in U.S. currency, four aircraft, and three maritime vessels.

Mexican DTOs rely on overland transportation methods to smuggle drugs into the United States but also use alternative methods.

The Mexico border with Arizona is getting to be like the Egyptian/Gaza boarder where people are tunneling underground to smuggle in contraband.

In addition to customary land smuggling practices, Mexican DTOs use alternative means to move contraband north across the border. These means include the construction and use of cross-border tunnels and subterranean passageways and some increased use of low-flying small or ultralight aircraft, which most often are used to smuggle marijuana. For example, in the Yuma, Arizona, area, at least eight ultralight aircraft have been spotted since October 2008, after only sporadic reporting of such incidents along the entire border area in previous years. Additionally, in mid-November 2009, at least three suspected ultralight incursions were reported in New Mexico–two in Luna County and one in Hidalgo County.

The number of tunnels extending from Mexico into the United States has increased, suggesting that DTOs consider these tunnels as useful investments to smuggle drugs into the United States. In fiscal year (FY) 2008, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers along the U.S.-Mexico border discovered 16 subterranean tunnels, the majority of which were in the Tucson Sector, which encompasses a border area of 262 miles from the New Mexico state line to Yuma County, Arizona. In FY2009, authorities discovered 26 subterranean tunnels, 20 of which were in the Tucson Sector, primarily in the area of Nogales. During this same period, CBP officers discovered 5 tunnels in California, 4 of which were located in the San Diego Sector. In February 2009, CBP initiated a program designed to impede the construction of tunnels in Nogales’s extensive drainage system. The initiative involved the construction of a 12-foot-deep steel and concrete underground wall that extends 100 yards along the border near the DeConcini POE in Nogales.

Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection; National Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy 2009.

All of this increases the threat of violence in the United States, not only from terrorism but drug related violence.

Of some concern to law enforcement officials is the potential for using drug smuggling routes to move terrorists or transport weapons of mass destruction into the United States. However, there have been no incidents of this type documented, and according to federal law enforcement officials, the involvement of Mexican DTOs in this type of activity is very unlikely.

Mexican DTOs use Southwest Border gangs to enforce and secure smuggling operations in Mexico and, to a lesser extent, the United States, particularly in California and Texas border areas.

Mexican DTOs employ gang members who collect unpaid debts by using threats, extortion, and intimidation and who murder rival traffickers or noncompliant members in Mexico and, to a far lesser extent, the United States. Mexican DTOs also use gang members to enforce control of drug trafficking routes from Mexico into the United States. Mexican DTOs have reportedly increased their efforts to recruit gang members along the Southwest Border. Gang members who are U.S. citizens are a particularly valuable asset to Mexican DTOs because they can normally cross the U.S.-Mexico border with less law enforcement scrutiny and therefore are less likely to have illicit drug loads interdicted.

Competition among rival Mexican drug cartels for control of several prominent smuggling plazas has caused a significant rise in the level of violence in Mexico and a potential rise in the United States.

The other “smuggling” over the border is Illegal aliens. The southern border is the primary portal for illegal immigration.

Of particular concern is the smuggling of criminal aliens and gang members who pose public safety threats to communities throughout the border region and the country. These individuals include hundreds of undocumented aliens from special-interest countries, primarily China, but also Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan, and members from transnational gangs such as Barrio Azteca, Mara Salvatrucha (MS 13), transnational Sureños (including 18th Street, Florencia, and Los Wonders), who also illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border annually. Available reporting indicates that some ASOs specialize in smuggling special-interest aliens into the United States. Of those undocumented aliens from special-interest countries that have been interdicted, none have been documented to be known or suspected terrorists. Moreover, according to law enforcement and intelligence reporting, DTOs have demonstrated no interest in engaging in terrorist smuggling from Mexico into the United States.

Last year an Illegal immigrant from Jordan was arrested trying to blow up a building in Dallas. It is the protection of the citizens of the United States, particularly those who live near the southern border driving this effort to secure Americas borders.

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