Lawmen under siege along Mexico border
Alien and drug smugglers along the U.S.-Mexico border have spawned a rise in violence against federal, state and local law-enforcement authorities, who say they are outmanned and outgunned.
"They've got weapons, high-tech radios, computers, cell phones, Global Positioning Systems, spotters and can react faster than we are able to," said Shawn P. Moran, a 10-year U.S. Border Patrol veteran who serves as vice president of the National Border Patrol Council Local 1613 in San Diego.
"And they have no hesitancy to attack the agents on the line, with anything from assault rifles and improvised Molotov cocktails to rocks, concrete slabs and bottles," he said. "There are so many agent 'rockings' that few are even reported anymore. If we wrote them all up, that's all we would be doing."
Assaults against Border Patrol agents have more than doubled over the past two years, many by Mexico-based alien and drug gangs more inclined than ever to use violence as a means of ensuring success in the smuggling of people and contraband.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff acknowledges that although the department has begun to make progress against "the criminals and thugs" operating along the U.S.-Mexico border, "we are beginning to see more violence in some border communities and against our Border Patrol agents as these traffickers ... seek to protect their turf.
"We must provide the manpower and resources they need to carry out their duties, and we are working hard to make sure they get them," Mr. Chertoff said during a speech in Houston this month.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the investigative arm of Homeland Security, stated in a report earlier this year that border gangs were becoming increasingly ruthless â€” targeting rivals, along with federal, state and local police. ICE described violence on the border as rising dramatically over the past three years in what it called "an unprecedented surge."
But many agents think they are viewed as "expendable" by the managers within Homeland Security and the Border Patrol. They say that while the number of agents overall has increased dramatically over the past year, the actual number of line agents has not seen a corresponding jump.
Lawmen under siege along Mexico borderÂ*-Â*-Â*The Washington Times, America's Newspaper