Desert Invasion - U.S.

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By Jon Kyl, National Ledger

I recently held a hearing in my Terrorism and Homeland Security Subcommittee intended to reacquaint the public with the dire consequences of the federal government’s failure to control the southern border of the United States.

Our porous border with Mexico has permitted a historically unprecedented number of foreign nationals from over 120 countries to enter the United States illegally. While recognizing that many come here to seek better wages and a better standard of living, we cannot ignore the fact that at least ten percent of the aliens apprehended along the border are criminals and violence is rapidly escalating—last year alone, criminal assaults were up 108% according to U.S. Attorney, Paul Charlton. Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever testified his officers have been the focus of increasing violence and targeted attacks.

In the last five months alone, the Border Patrol has arrested 42,722 aliens with criminal records attempting to cross the border. Among them were 6,770 felons; 148 persons wanted in connection with a homicide; 42 associated with a kidnapping; 164 associated with a sexual assault; 298 associated with a robbery, 1,957 wanted for assault, and 4,161 connected with drug crimes. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 139,000 of the 1.1 million people apprehended on the border in 2005 were criminal aliens seeking to illegally reenter the United States.

A temporary worker program would reduce some of the pressure along the southern border because it could provide a legal avenue to work in the U.S, eliminating the need for immigrants to pay violent smugglers to get them across. But you can be sure that the hundreds of thousands of criminal aliens who will be barred from participating in any temporary worker plan will continue trying to reenter the United States, as will members of the hyper-violent drug cartels located just across the border. We must have the resources in place to defeat them.

I have frequently heard the argument that the United States cannot stop the flow of illegal immigrants and contraband across the border. According to the experts, that just isn’t true. First, while we have increased the number of Border Patrol Agents, there are still not enough of them. In 2005, the Border Patrol had 11,268 Agents patrolling 9,071 miles of U.S. border. That does not compare favorably with the city of New York, which employs 39,110 police officers to patrol its five boroughs. Until we have an adequate force of Border Patrol agents to protect our borders, and have equipped them with the technology and infrastructure they need to accomplish the mission, one cannot argue that it is impossible to protect the border....

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