Op-Ed: The Importance of U.S. Border Security

Posted Dec 30, 2007 by Susan Duclos
Reading through the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement site gives great examples of why securing our borders is important for America, especially for her National Security.
A U.S. Border Protection agent on patrol.
A U.S. Border Protection agent on patrol.
Photo by Gerald L Nino, U.S. Customs & Border Protection
On November 6, 2007, the Department of Justice issued a press release, (PDF version of that press release can be found here) about the indictment of Nathaniel Sanchez-Avendano, aka "Jesus Parra-Felix, a man that in 2004 was deporte, following his aggravated felony conviction in Arizona for possessing narcotics for sale.
In July of 2007, he was arrested again in Indianapolis, Indiana, with two kilograms (4.4 lbs.) of cocaine and a loaded 9 mm semiautomatic pistol.
It is a felony to re-enter the United States after having been formally deported punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
The indictment is an allegation only, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at trial or by guilty plea.
Jump to December 19, 2007, the DOJ issued another press release, (PDF version of that press release can be found here), stating that Nathaniel Sanchez-Avendano, aka "Jesus Parra-Felix was "sentenced to 180 months imprisonment today by U.S. District Judge David F. Hamilton following his guilty plea to Possession with Intent To Distribute 500 Grams of Cocaine, Carrying a Firearm During a Drug Trafficking Crime, and Illegal Re-entry to the United States After Having Been Deported for an Aggravated Felony.
According to the U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement Website, Sanchez-Avendano will be turned over to ICE to be deported after completion of his prison sentence.
A U.S. Border Patrol agent does a pat down of a female. - Photo by Gerald L Nino  courtesy U.S. Cust...
A U.S. Border Patrol agent does a pat down of a female. - Photo by Gerald L Nino, courtesy U.S. Customs & Border Protection
Courtesy U.S. Customs & Border Protection
This brings up quite a few issues about our ability to secure our borders which has again been hampered by Congress, in their latest Omnibus bill that guts the Secure Fence Act of 2006.
The provision in the Omnibus bill, buried on page 123 of Division E of the Consolidated Appropriations Act - contradicts the Secure Fence Act’s specific mandate of a double-layer fence covering 854 miles of the U.S-Mexico border.
Sanchez-Avendano is but one example of why we need stronger enforcement at our borders, not politicians doing everything in their power to weaken our ability to secure them.
Other examples can also be found on the ICE website, including but not limited to a December 27, 2007 report about three criminal aliens that were arrested, two of which were registered sex offenders, and a member of a violent street gang.The two sex offenders are a 67-year-old man, and his 33-year-old son, both illegal aliens from Mexico. They have separate and unrelated convictions based on sex offenses with underage girls. In 1989, the father was convicted in a Los Angeles, Calif., Superior Court of sexually assaulting his then 12-year-old daughter. He served three years in prison. His son was convicted in 2003 in the Weld County Court at Greeley, Colo., for sexual assault on his 15-year-old girlfriend when he was 27 years old. He received a five-year deferred sentence.
The third subject is 24-year-old Mexican man who is an active member of the Norteno street gang, which operates in the Greeley area. His gang membership is documented with the Weld County Court system and the Greeley/Weld Police authorities. Although he is a U.S. permanent resident, his criminal convictions make him eligible for deportation. He has a felony conviction for menacing, and two misdemeanor convictions for child abuse and third-degree assault, which are all separate convictions.
The examples of our need for tougher security at our borders go on and on, but there are other ramifications, other than crime, to our weak borders: National Security and terrorism.
Research into terrorists crossing our borders shows that it predates 9/11 and has been a serious problem for our country, one that is basically ignored by our politicians unless they wish to use it for talking points without really doing anything meaningful to stop it.
In December 1999, Ahmed Ressam aka "The Millennium Bomber", took a ferry from Victoria, B.C., to Port Angeles, Wash., with more than 100 pounds of explosives stashed in the wheelbed of the trunk of his rental car.
At Victoria, U.S. immigration pre-clearance agents were mildly suspicious of Ressam. They made him open his trunk, but saw nothing. He presented his fake Canadian passport, and the computer check turned up no previous convictions or warrants in the name of Benni Noris. Ressam drove his rental car, with its concealed bomb, onto the ferry heading for Washington state.
U.S. Border Patrol agents conduct pat downs of migrants caught crossing the border illegally in the ...
U.S. Border Patrol agents conduct pat downs of migrants caught crossing the border illegally in the Imperial Valley Sector.
Photo by Gerald L Nino, courtesy U.S. Customs & Border Protection
Upon his arrival at Port Angeles, a U.S. customs agent became suspicious of his answers to her questions, and she asked for identification. Then the agents began searching the car. As they discovered the explosive materials -- which they at first took to be drugs -- in the trunk of the car, Ressam tried to run away. He was caught and arrested.
His plan was to bomb Los Angeles International Airport on New Year's Eve 1999.
On July 27, 2005, Ressam was sentenced to 22 years in prison.
Throughout the years since Ahmed Ressam's arrest, stories like the one above have come to light and in 2004, KVOA Tucson conducted their own investigation and the results were quite alarming.
Here's what the Eyewitness News 4 Investigators uncovered:"It's a Muslim prayer blanket. It was found about a mile and a half west from the Douglas port of entry in 2001."
Larry Vance is a rancher who lives near the U.S.-Mexico border in Douglas, Arizona.
For years, he says he's watched - and documented - thousands of illegals crossing the border and running away to eventual arrest... or freedom and anonymity somewhere in this country.
And in just one hour, during this stake-out along the border between Douglas and b\Bisbee, The Investigators count 198 illegals in five different groups crossing into the U.S. with no resistance.
They also found during their investigation that members on the government's Terror Watch List (countries flagged because Americans are endangered by their citizens, yet regularly, illegals from those countries are crossing the Arizona border, blending in with groups of Mexican and South American illegal immigrants), were being detained that very day, some from Sudan, Iran, and even Iraq.
Those were the ones actually caught.
If that is not disturbing enough, a retired Border Patrol agent and supervisor in the Tucson Sector, 17 years on the job, said this:"What's scary is that I can show you places out here on the line right now where 18-wheelers can be driven across. These 18-wheelers can be loaded with anything -- illegal aliens, atomic weapons, whatever."More recently an AP report came to light about comments made by Texas Homeland Security Director Steve McCraw about terrorists with ties to Hezbollah, Hamas and al-Qaida being arrested while crossing the Texas border with Mexico in recent years.