Thursday, September 15, 2016

Southern Arizona residents take border security issues to Congress

Two southern Arizona residents told a House panel Tuesday that their communities have grown more dangerous due to what they see as a lack of security at the Arizona-Mexico border. Border Patrol agents, contrary to their name, can set up checkpoints up to 100 miles inland from the border under a strategy called “Defense in Depth.” Peggy Davis and Gary Brasher told a House Homeland Security subcommittee that they believe inland checkpoint operations have opened up miles of rural land to violent trespassers, giving them what Brasher called “free run” of the 25-mile area that Border Patrol does not staff. “The unfortunate thing for those of us that live there is that that’s where we live,” said Brasher, a Tubac resident. “That’s where we work, that’s where our children go to school.” But Border Patrol Chief Mark Morgan said checkpoints are an effective use of scarce resources when there is a low ratio of agents to miles of border. The hearing before the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security was called to examine shortcomings of the Defense in Depth strategy, which proponents argue lets agents drive illegal activity from urban areas into rural communities, where they are more easily uncovered. Morgan said this approach maximizes available resources to “improve our comprehensive understanding of the threat environment, to increase our ability to rapidly respond to threats, and to strengthen enforcement.”...more

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