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US-Mexico border build up found excessive

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U.S.-Mexico Border Build-Up Found Excessive
By Jim Lobe*


WASHINGTON, Apr 19, 2012 (IPS) - While Republican politicians and other "border hawks" call for ever-tougher measures to secure the U.S.-Mexican border against drug trafficking and illegal immigration, a one-year bi-national study released here Thursday suggests that current efforts may be excessive.

The study, a collaboration of the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and Mexico's College of the Northern Border (COLEF), concludes that additional steps, such as increasing the ranks of the Border Patrol, will almost certainly yield diminishing returns, particularly at a time of record federal deficits.

"In fact, a closer look at the border reveals that after a historic build-up of the U.S. security presence there, further increases in money, barriers and manpower are unnecessary," according to the 60- page report, "Beyond the Border Buildup", which calls for the U.S. to reassess its border strategies and invest more in the Office of Field Operations, the understaffed and overworked agency that mans the country's ports of entry.

"The threats that actually exist don't justify them, and the side effects – among them a severe humanitarian toll on migrants – are mounting," the report said. "It is urgent that Washington view the border security buildup as a past policy, not a direction for the present or future."

The report comes as both countries are engaged in presidential elections in which border and migration issues are expected to play an important role.

Throughout the primary season, Republican candidates, with the exception of Texas Rep. Ron Paul, have all supported stronger measures to better "control the border", such as increasing the number of Border Patrol agents and completing construction of a fence along the entire 3,200-km land frontier.

One favourite of the far-right Tea Party faction, Herman Cain, even endorsed the idea of electrifying the fence before dropping out of the race for unrelated reasons.

Only 20 years ago, fewer than 4,000 Border Patrol personnel were deployed to the southwestern border. That number has more than quadrupled since, exceeding 18,000 last year.

Nor does it include thousands more personnel from an alphabet soup of federal agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), various other sub- agencies of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and inter- agency task forces that, according to the report, appear to be working without a clear overall strategy.

Even the Pentagon has become increasingly involved in enforcement, deploying troops to back up the Border Patrol, build roads, and collect intelligence, most recently by flying reconnaissance drones on both sides of the border.

Since 2006, hundreds of armed National Guard troops from states across the country have also been deployed at any one time, primarily for ground and air surveillance, although their numbers and the budget to support their deployment have recently been reduced.

The build-up, which gathered pace after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon, has been fuelled by dire claims by prominent politicians and the media about the alleged threats of massive illegal immigration, drug trafficking, violence, and terrorism crossing into the U.S. from Mexico.

Of those four threats, however, "three have either never materialised or been reduced," according to Adam Isacson, WOLA's senior associate for regional security and one of the report's lead authors.

While drug seizures have indeed increased markedly in recent years, the government has yet to report a single case of a terrorist crossing the border, Isacson said Thursday.

And while it is impossible to know how many undocumented migrants have tried to cross the border, virtually all sources agree that the number has been substantially reduced in recent years.

Indeed, the number of apprehensions by the Border Patrol itself has fallen by 61 percent since 2005, to levels not seen since the early 1970s. Last year, for every Border Patrol Agent, an average of only 20 migrants were apprehended - down from a 20-year high of 327 migrants in 1993 and from 102 migrants in 2006.

According to the report, the decline can be attributed to three main causes, of which the U.S. security build-up is only one, and perhaps not even the most important.

The impact of the 2008 financial crisis on the availability of jobs for migrants in the U.S. appears to be a major factor, the report noted.

A third key factor appears to be the increased risks faced by migrants travelling through Mexico to the U.S.

"The dangerous gauntlet of abuses at the hands of criminal organizations – and certain Mexican officials – through which migrants must pass on the way to Mexico's northern border causes some to reconsider the journey," according to the report.

Because the border is not heavily patrolled on the Mexican side, "migrants are increasingly targeted by criminal groups" that control key migration and drug-trafficking routes along the border, said Maureen Meyer, WOLA's senior Mexico associate and another co-author.

She noted that approximately 20,000 migrants, mostly from Central America, are kidnapped every year and countless others are subject to extortion, sexual assault and other abuses, sometimes with the complicity of corrupt Mexican officials.

On the U.S. side, non-governmental organisations have also documented abuses by U.S. authorities whose use of "lateral repatriations" – repatriating migrants to cities far from where they were detained and which often lack basic social services for migrants – adds to the dangers they face, according to the report.

As to the fear that the drug-related violence that has wreaked so much havoc in Mexico would spill across the border, that, too, appears unfounded, according to the report.

It noted, for example, that El Paso, the U.S. border city across from violence-plagued Ciudad Juarez, had the lowest homicide rate of all U.S. cities with a population over 500,000. While El Paso may not be typical, the report cites a "general consensus in border communities" that very little of the violence crosses the frontier.

"It's because narco-traffickers prefer it that way," according to Isacson. "They don't want to provoke anything that could close the border," since their profits depend on getting their product to the consumers on the other side.

Meanwhile, the border-security build-up appears to have worsened the situation of those migrants who do try to cross, according to the report, which pointed to the increased control exercised by narco- traffickers on the Mexican side along smuggling routes. That control makes the trip both more costly and more hazardous.

The extension of the border fence and related measures have also resulted in migrants crossing in ever more inhospitable terrain, according to the report.

"Even as the overall number of migrants drops, the number of human remains found in the Arizona desert and elsewhere remains shockingly high," according to the report. While 183 remains were found there last year – down from 253 in 2010 – the ratio of remains per apprehensions reached a record high.

*Jim Lobe's blog on U.S. foreign policy can be read at http://www.lobelog.com.

by on Apr. 25, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Replies (41-50):
RowdyRoxyRainbw
by Gold Member on Apr. 26, 2012 at 12:26 AM

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/worldview/mexican-illegals-leaving-us-in-droves-study-finds/article2412063/?utm_medium=Feeds%3A%20RSS%2FAtom&utm_source=World&utm_content=2412063

Also you can google other news sources as well.  Its all over the news right now.. (well the internet news.. i never watch cable news)

Quoting kailu1835:

 I'd like to see your stats on that, and whether or not that is because of deportations.  With Mexico being the craphole it is I seriously doubt there's been a massive surge of illegal mexicans willingly going back there.

Quoting RowdyRoxyRainbw:

More Mexicans left the US last year than entered.  I guess that doesn't matter though..

 


jllcali
by Jane on Apr. 26, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Yep. I agree.

Where do you live?


Quoting krysstizzle:

Honestly, it does seem excessive. El paso has been one of the safest big cities for years, I live about 40 minutes from there. This spillover violence I've been hearing about for years is, so far, a myth. They should take some of those resources and work on immigration reform and drug reform. I hate, with a violent passion, those damn cartels. They're heinous.
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jllcali
by Jane on Apr. 26, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Why would you bet that illegal Canadian immigrants don't commit crimes? First of all, if they are illegal, they are committing crimes just by being in the US. Second, what type of immigrants do you think commit crimes (other than the obvious one of being in the country illegally)

Quoting Naturewoman4:

I didn't realize Canadians come down into Michigan & live illegally.  I live in S. Calif. my family lives in AZ, so I was speaking of Illegal Hispanics.  Why do Canadians come here to live? So, they don't become legal either?  I too have no problems with ANY illegals, as long as they become a Citizen.  I also, would bet they those Canadians that come over here, don't commit crimes? 


Quoting Happymamax2:


Quoting Naturewoman4:



I live in Michigan. If you want to talk about illegals and border problems, I can assure you they are not all or mostly just Hispanic, and on borders towards the south. The difference is, when the Canadians come down and live amongst us illegally, they fit right in....

I don't have answers for immigration to be honest. But I firmly believe in amnesty for the folks who are here working their butts off for our businesses. I want every family who have had children born in the US to not live in fear of separation from each other.... We have profitted mightily from many of these folks, and to treat them like they are less than human at this point, is more of a reflection on us as a society, than on them.





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jllcali
by Jane on Apr. 26, 2012 at 12:51 AM
1 mom liked this
El Paso, right on the border, literally, with Mexico, and it has one of the lowest violent crime rates in the country. And usually, there are a lot fewer murders in El Paso than 18.

Quoting krysstizzle:

Where in Texas are you referring to? Because I live near el paso, go there at least twice a week. There were 18 murders in one year (2009) - 18! - in a city of 750,000. I don't think any of them were related to cartels. I can only think of one instance, where "spillover" violence occurred.








Quoting Mipsy:

Tell those who are dying from the cartels in Texas that it is excessive. Tell their families this!


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jllcali
by Jane on Apr. 26, 2012 at 12:56 AM
El Paso, Tx. Right on the US/Mexican border. Very low crime rate.

Quoting kailu1835:

 Same here.  In town there is a huge hispanic population... half of my son's kindergarten class are hispanic (not all mexican).  We have literally NO crime in our town and the surrounding areas.  The only real crimes that have been committed in the past 10 years that I've been here have been crimes of passion against family members, and the families were white.  I think the biggest crime rates among the mexican population are near the borders, where they are a lot more illegal populations.


Quoting Happymamax2:

Quoting Naturewoman4:



I think every group of people have some that commit crimes. We have a lot of Hispanics in our city and the crime rate amongst them is very low.

About the Canadians, I don't know why they come necessarily except that this is America, and it is a dream for people all over the planet to get to live here. Many stay illegal because why not? They don't get treated suspiciously as hispanics do. They can find work under the table like many illegal immigrants. I'm sure many of them do become legal citizens too....

Also, if I was a terrorist, I'd come to America through Canada for sure. We don't have big old fences, drones, shotguns, or much border patrol, lol.

 

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kailu1835
by Ruby Member on Apr. 26, 2012 at 1:30 AM

 I'll have to read it in more depth, but one study does not the facts make.  And I don't see anything about whether they're leaving due to deporation or of their own free will.

Quoting RowdyRoxyRainbw:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/worldview/mexican-illegals-leaving-us-in-droves-study-finds/article2412063/?utm_medium=Feeds%3A%20RSS%2FAtom&utm_source=World&utm_content=2412063

Also you can google other news sources as well.  Its all over the news right now.. (well the internet news.. i never watch cable news)

Quoting kailu1835:

 I'd like to see your stats on that, and whether or not that is because of deportations.  With Mexico being the craphole it is I seriously doubt there's been a massive surge of illegal mexicans willingly going back there.

Quoting RowdyRoxyRainbw:

More Mexicans left the US last year than entered.  I guess that doesn't matter though..

 


 

babiesbabybaby development

Happymamax2
by Silver Member on Apr. 26, 2012 at 7:25 AM
Quoting kailu1835:



I think the OP is from Southern California and she sees huge numbers of Hispanics so her view is quite understandably different from my own. As you said, border towns are much more violent in general. She seems to think that Hispanics are violent, and Canadians, for example, aren't. But in Michigan, the Hispanics, which are largely Mexican and Guatemalan, are here to work. They don't come all the way North to goof around and commit violent crime! The trouble they get into tends to be drunkenness, because after working two and three jobs, they like to blow off some steam! Lol!

I definitely understand that the Canadians don't come down in droves.... I was just trying to point out that 1. The borders north are a cause for concern. 2. There are other groups of immigrants who come to this country illegally which it doesn't seem like she is aware of.
krysstizzle
by on Apr. 26, 2012 at 8:55 AM
Las cruces. I think the misconception that "illegals" make a place more dangerous is fear of the unknown. I think they don't contribute to violence, or only a tiny fraction, compared to legal citizens and the percent that commit violent crimes.




Quoting jllcali:

Yep. I agree.



Where do you live?




Quoting krysstizzle:

Honestly, it does seem excessive. El paso has been one of the safest big cities for years, I live about 40 minutes from there. This spillover violence I've been hearing about for years is, so far, a myth. They should take some of those resources and work on immigration reform and drug reform. I hate, with a violent passion, those damn cartels. They're heinous.

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krysstizzle
by on Apr. 26, 2012 at 8:57 AM
1 mom liked this
Border towns on the mexican side are generally violent, not so much on the u.s. side. El paso has a chain link fence between it and Juarez, it's basically the same place. Juarez is the deadliest city in the western hemisphere, and el paso is one of the safest cities in the u.s. , top three.


Quoting Happymamax2:

Quoting kailu1835:




I think the OP is from Southern California and she sees huge numbers of Hispanics so her view is quite understandably different from my own. As you said, border towns are much more violent in general. She seems to think that Hispanics are violent, and Canadians, for example, aren't. But in Michigan, the Hispanics, which are largely Mexican and Guatemalan, are here to work. They don't come all the way North to goof around and commit violent crime! The trouble they get into tends to be drunkenness, because after working two and three jobs, they like to blow off some steam! Lol!



I definitely understand that the Canadians don't come down in droves.... I was just trying to point out that 1. The borders north are a cause for concern. 2. There are other groups of immigrants who come to this country illegally which it doesn't seem like she is aware of.

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jllcali
by Jane on Apr. 26, 2012 at 10:44 AM
1 mom liked this
I agree. Most illegals are more concerned with flying under the radar than doing things that will attract the attention of the authorities. They don't want to get deported.

Quoting krysstizzle:

Las cruces. I think the misconception that "illegals" make a place more dangerous is fear of the unknown. I think they don't contribute to violence, or only a tiny fraction, compared to legal citizens and the percent that commit violent crimes.








Quoting jllcali:

Yep. I agree.





Where do you live?






Quoting krysstizzle:

Honestly, it does seem excessive. El paso has been one of the safest big cities for years, I live about 40 minutes from there. This spillover violence I've been hearing about for years is, so far, a myth. They should take some of those resources and work on immigration reform and drug reform. I hate, with a violent passion, those damn cartels. They're heinous.

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