Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Attacks on border patrol up 94%

One expects a bit of violence along a long border like the one between the U.S. and Mexico. But the numbers of attacks on border patrol agents for the past year is shocking: 687, up from 354 during the previous fiscal year. Not quite double but not that far off.
Most assaults occurred near urban smuggling havens such as Nogales, Ariz., and Tijuana, but cross-border skirmishes took place from remote California deserts to the banks of the Rio Grande in Texas.

In many attacks, smugglers hurled softball-size rocks or fired high-powered slingshot devices loaded with marbles and ball bearings. Some tried to run over agents with vehicles.

In some cases, smugglers and migrants fought with agents and tossed wooden pallets to block their pursuers. Dented and damaged vehicles, windshields shattered, sat in Border Patrol parking lots.

In Tucson and San Diego, the most violent sectors, agents reported being shot at 43 times — up from 18 the previous year. No agents were killed, but three were shot in the leg. At least 20 more were hospitalized, many with head injuries from rocks.
Five suspected smugglers were shot and killed.
Officials attribute the increased number of assaults to rising frustration among drug and immigrant traffickers, who have seen traditional smuggling routes blocked by the border buildup. About 11,000 agents — more than ever — patrol the 2,000-mile border with Mexico. Stadium lighting, sensors, remote cameras and triple fences protect some frontiers.

"They're feeling they have to fight their way through now," said Agent Jim Hawkins, a spokesman for the agency's Tucson sector. "We're taking their livelihood away from them, so they're getting angry and desperate."
The report on violence does not even deal with the number of illegal aliens who have died after being taken by smugglers into the desert without sufficient food, water or directions.

All the more reason to keep pressure on Congress to push for effective border control.


Post a Comment

<< Home