A LINE IN THE SAND - MUST READ CONGRESS REPORT!
US Rep. Michael McCaul, "As Chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Investigations I recently released a border report entitled,
“A Line in the Sand: Confronting the Threat at the Southwest Border.”
Highlights of the report! http://www.house.gov/mccaul/pdf/Investigaions-Border-Report.pdf
While the Southwest border hosts robust legal commercial activity, the border also is the site of violent criminal enterprises. These enterprises are carried out by organized criminal syndicates and include the smuggling of drugs, humans, weapons, and cash across the U.S.-Mexico border. During 2005, Border Patrol apprehended approximately 1.2 million illegal aliens; of those 165,000 were from countries other than Mexico. Of the non-Mexican aliens, approximately 650 were from special interest countries. Special interest countries are those “designated by the intelligence community as countries that could export individuals that could bring harm to our country in the way of terrorism.” 1 A significant portion of illegal activity at the border relates to illegal drug smuggling. Below is a summary of FY 2005 Federal drug seizures, which shows a total of 1,129, 275 pounds of cocaine and 6,866,465 million pounds of marijuana.
Federal law enforcement estimates that 10 percent to 30 percent of illegal aliens are actually apprehended and 10 percent to 20 percent of drugs are seized. 2 Therefore, in 2005, as many as 4 to 10 million illegal aliens crossed into the United States; and as much as 5.6 to 11.2 million pounds of cocaine and 34.3 to 68.6 million pounds of marijuana entered the United States. The triple threat of drug smuggling, illegal and unknown crossers, and rising violence are the reality facing communities. While many illegal aliens cross the border searching for employment, not all illegal aliens are crossing into the United States to find work. Law enforcement has stated that some individuals come across the border because they have been forced to leave their home countries due to their criminal activity. These dangerous criminals are fleeing the law in other countries and seeking refuge in the United States.
n addition, human smugglers coordinate with the drug cartels, paying a fee to use the cartels’ safe smuggling routes into the Unites States. There are also indications the cartels may be moving to diversify their criminal enterprises to include the increasingly lucrative human smuggling trade. Moreover, U.S. law enforcement has established that there is increasing coordination between Mexican drug cartels, human smuggling networks and U.S.-based gangs. The cartels use street and prison gangs located in the United States as their distribution networks. In the United States, the gang members operate as surrogates and enforcers for the cartels. Murders and kidnappings on the both sides of the border have significantly increased in recent years. The violence along the U.S.-Mexican border has increased so dramatically, the United States Ambassador to Mexico, Tony Garza, during the last year, has issued an unprecedented number of diplomatic notes to the Mexican Government and threat advisories to U.S. citizens traveling to Mexico. During August 2005, the Ambassador closed the U.S. consulate in Nuevo Laredo for one week in order to assess security.
In addition to the criminal activities and violence of the cartels on our Southwest border, there is an ever-present threat of terrorist infiltration over the Southwest border. Data indicates that there are hundreds of illegal aliens apprehended entering the United States each year who are from countries known to support and sponsor terrorism. • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigations have revealed that aliens were smuggled from the Middle East to staging areas in Central and South America, before being smuggled illegally into the United States. • Members of Hezbollah have already entered the United States across the Southwest border.
Based on a review of the data, interviews conducted and other information collected, Subcommittee staff finds that:
1. Drug trafficking organizations and human smuggling networks are proliferating and strengthening their control of key corridors along our Nation’s Southwest border.
2. The Mexican drug cartels wield substantial control over the U.S.-Mexican border. Law enforcement on the border agree that very little crosses the respective cartel territories, or “plazas,” along the Southwest border without cartel knowledge, approval, and financial remuneration.
3. These criminal organizations and networks are highly sophisticated and organized, operating with military style weapons and technology, utilizing counter surveillance techniques and acting aggressively against both law enforcement and competitors.
4. Drug trafficking organizations, human smuggling networks and U.S. based gangs are increasingly coordinating with one another to achieve their objectives.
5. Federal, State and local law enforcement report new and ever-increasing levels of ruthlessness and violence associated with these criminal organizations, which are increasingly spilling across the border into the United States and moving into local communities.
6. Each year hundreds of illegal aliens from countries known to harbor terrorists or promote terrorism are routinely encountered and apprehended attempting to enter the U.S. illegally.
7. The existing resources of the U.S. Border Patrol and local law enforcement must continue to be enhanced to counter the cartels and the criminal networks they leverage to circumvent law enforcement.