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U.S. cedes border to drug cartels, Border Patrol moves inland

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 27th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

According to those that live there, some 10 to 15 miles of the U.S. border with Mexico have been ceded to drug cartels. This is because the U.S. Border Patrol, hampered by limitations, must patrol well within U.S. borders, giving cartel smugglers free reign on American soil.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Ranchers and residents living on the border in Arizona have been complaining about the presence of cartel smugglers on their land. The smugglers cut fences, litter the ground, and tote drugs in increasingly heavily armed groups. They pitch camps and even break into outbuildings and houses on private property.

Fearful residents cannot confront the smugglers and the Border Patrol is limited in its response.

The insatiable American appetite for illegal drugs means good times for the drug cartels, even despite a full-blown drug war in Mexico. However, to meet demand they are ferrying large quantities into the U.S., carried by heavily armed smugglers who are ready to do combat if opposed.

Locals say reporting the interlopers to the Border Patrol does little.

On NBC news, one report highlighted the experience of Jim Chilton, 73, who found an abandoned smuggler's camp on his Arizona ranch. Escorting two Border Patrol agents to the site, which was 10 miles north of the border, Chilton complained to NBC that "The druggers outrageously use my land at will." He asked, "Can you imagine riding your horse through here on your own land and running into a guy with an AK-47 and 20 or 30 guys behind him dressed in camouflage and carrying drugs?"

Chilton's experience is not unique.

All along the border, residents complain that the Border Patrol isn't patrolling on the border itself, but mostly operates as far inland as 10-15 miles.

Residents are not upset with the Border Patrol's efforts, other than they believe they should patrol on the border, not north of it.

The Border Patrol says that because of resource limitations, they must patrol in places where agents will be most effective. In some cases, that means patrolling inland.

The Border Patrol points to its recent record of accomplishment to indicate that its tactics are working.

Illegal passage into Arizona has dropped five-fold in the past 10 years, and drug seizures are up fourfold. Meanwhile the Border Patrol has doubled the number of agents working in Arizona.

The use of drones and electronic surveillance has also made the Patrol much more effective.

Unfortunately, pockets of reduced coverage remain and the smugglers know right where they are. For residents living in those gaps, every day brings the threat of another armed gang encroaching on their land, and on some occasions even into their homes.

Some residents have elected to move away from the land, ceding it to the cartels.

It is an unexpected reality. Nations with long borders and smaller budgets generally manage to secure them quite effectively, However, the U.S. with all its technology and money cannot secure the border at the border. What this says about our nation and our government is volumes.

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