Thursday, April 29, 2010

Border "Secure as Ever," DHS Chief Says

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 27 that the Southwest border is "as secure as it has ever been," while the Associated Press reported that the capital of the former Arizona governor's home state has been dubbed the "kidnapping capital" of the U.S., due to cross-border human smuggling and drug trafficking. The Department of Homeland Security's Southwest Border Initiative is making "unparalleled progress in creating a safe and secure Southwest border," the DHS Secretary told the committee, while citing significant increases in law enforcement personnel and crime-fighting technology ad physical barriers along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexican border. The federal government has put up 652 miles of fences and vehicle barriers in California, making Arizona an easier alternative for human and drug trafficking. Some 990,000 aliens were caught illegally crossing into Arizona from Mexico in the last three years, an average of 900 a day, Associated Press writers Jonathan C. Cooper and Amanda Lee reported in an article chronicling events leading up to last week's enactment of the controversial Arizona law aimed at cracking down on illegal immigrants. Local police have grown frustrated at their inability to keep up with the drug trafficking and violent crime often associated with the illegal border crossings. Federal agents seized 1.2 million pounds of marijuana last year in Arizona, an average of 1.5 tons per day. But it is the violent crime, much of it believed to be related to the drug trafficking that has most troubled the state's residents. Phoenix has averaged a kidnapping a day in recent years, the AP reports, with some resulting in torture and death. Last month prominent cattle rancher Rob Krentz was murdered near the border and authorities suspect the killer or killers came from across the border...more

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