Comments: Put your boots on before reading. A drop in apprehensions
is only that. Another factor is the saturation of law enforcement in
the border cities. But not enough for Wed. night in La Blanca,
Hidalgo county, TX. Or numerous incidents in Santa Cruz county, AZ.
Or numerous unsolved killings, bodies, kidnappings, etc. in Maricopa
county AZ. Can't be spill-over if not solved. Same for rest of
border. But what could be another reason so far, for less spill
over? In border states like AZ and TX, we can and will defend
ourselves. Another factor? A big bloody incident or two, if
publicized, could fire up public outrage, forcing fed. govt. to act.
Our cartel friends are far from stupid. Three dead here or there
Report: Southwest border security is at point of 'diminishing returns'
by Dustin Volz/Cronkite News
(April 20th, 2012 @ 6:51am)
WASHINGTON -- A dramatic buildup of security personnel on the
Southwest border has contributed to a decline in illegal immigration,
but more efforts will yield "diminishing returns," according to a
report released Thursday.
The report by the Washington Office on Latin America challenges
"border hawk" claims that more military forces and higher fences are
needed to further reduce illegal immigration and criminal activity,
citing a 61 percent drop in apprehensions since 2005 and a lack of
violence spilling over from Mexico.
The report, written with Mexico's College of the Northern Border,
also claims the same security policies that led to a drop in illegal
immigration are contributing to a humanitarian crisis by putting
migrants in more danger. "The security buildup has resulted in a
confusing tangle of agencies whose mission is undermined by the lack
of a clear strategy," said Adam Isacson, who co-authored the report.
"The facts contradict the frequent call to escalate the massive
buildup of U.S. border security forces, including the military."
That argument was strongly rejected by the Federation for American
Immigration Reform. A spokesman said the claim that the border is
secure is "astonishing," noting continued calls for more federal
"That is astonishing news to ranchers all along the border who are on
a daily basis hiding in their homes … from human traffickers and drug
cartels," said FAIR spokesman Bob Dane.
"And it is certainly news to most of the border-area sheriffs and law
enforcement personnel who are pleading for more resources because
they are outmanned and outgunned," he said.
A Customs and Border Protection official said Border Patrol "is
better staffed than at any time in its 87-year history and seizures
of illicit goods are up across the board."
In an official response to the report, the Department of Homeland
Security said it has "deployed historic levels of personnel,
technology and infrastructure to the Southwest border to reduce the
flow of illicit drugs, cash, and weapons" under President Barack Obama.
Isacson, noting the drop in border crossings, said continued calls
for a border crackdown and rising anti-immigrant rhetoric are driven
by four fears: illegal immigration, terrorist entry, spillover border
violence and drug trafficking.
But migration is at a 40-year low, terrorists have not been detected
and the violence in Mexico -- save for a "few notorious incidents" --
stays south of the border, the report said.
Only drug trafficking is a problem that has continued to escalate,
Isacson said, demonstrating the inability of border security to act
as a deterrent to drug cartels.
According to the report, the number of migrant deaths has remained
constant even as migrant crossings have decreased dramatically. The
report claims deaths are caused in part by the increased security
presence, as migrants attempt to cross through more treacherous terrain.
FAIR rejected the argument that security forces are contributing to a
humanitarian crisis at the border.
"It is preposterous to say that someone who enters the country
illegally and is detained and deported is caught up in a humanitarian
crisis," Dane said.
"That's a slight to people all across the world who are starving to
death and facing dangers for which they have no part in."
The report's authors did not research the impact of anti-illegal-
immigration bills such as Arizona's SB 1070 on migration patterns.
But Isacson believes such legislation, like higher fences, is not
likely to have much impact on most people's decisions to cross the
"They're still going to come," Isacson said. "Regardless of what
Arizona does or the national mood is, their opportunities are still
Border report: No 'spillover' violence from Mexican drug-cartel wars
By Diana Washington Valdez \ El Paso Times
Posted: 04/20/2012 12:00:00 AM MDT
The Mexican drug-cartel wars that fueled soaring homicide rates south
of the border have not led to significant "spillover" violence on the
U.S. side of the border, according to a new national report released
The report, "Beyond the Border Buildup," was produced by the
Washington Office on Latin America, a think tank that advises U.S.
policymakers, and Mexico's Colegio de la Frontera Norte, a prominent
research college with branches in Tijuana and Juárez.
"While Mexico has suffered over 50,000 organized-crime- related
murders since 2007, this violence is not spilling over the border,"
said the report based on a yearlong investigation on both sides of
However, cartel-related kidnappings did take place in the United
States, although less is known about them because victims fearing
reprisals are reluctant to report them.
"Beyond homicide, Mexican organized crime groups do hold kidnapped
migrants and smuggled drugs in safe houses throughout the border
region," the report said. It added that statistics show the
abductions appear to be on the decline.
The FBI's Southwestern offices identified 62 cartel-related
kidnapping cases on U.S. soil that involved cartels or undocumented
immigrants in 2009.
The count fell to 25 in 2010 and 10 as of July 2011, according to the
The 83-page report also said that despite record investment by the
U.S. government in border security, U.S. law enforcement agencies
lack a coordinated border security
plan, and drugs continue to flow into the United States through
understaffed international bridges.
Last week, Mexican presidential candidate Enrique Peña Nieto told the
Reuters news service that if elected he would work to create a 40,000-
strong paramilitary force with police powers, or gendarmerie, to
battle cartels. He also said his priority is to curtail the violence.
George Grayson, author of several books on Mexican drug
organizations, said Peña Nieto's proposal would require broad
political support that he's not sure exists in Mexico right now.
"Politicians don't want a strong police force in Mexico," Grayson
said. "Half the governors are probably linked to the cartels or turn
a blind to them."
He said the dynamics in the drug-cartel wars change rapidly, and they
will change again before a new president is elected.
For example, he said, reports that Joa quin "Cha po" Guzman has
issued a challenge to Los Zetas could, if true, result in more
violence. Los Zetas operate along the eastern coast of Mexico, up to
South Texas. Guzman's cartel operates in Central and Western Mexico.
Last month, forces claiming to represent Guzman killed and
dismembered alleged Zetas and wrote a message on a "narco banner"
aimed at the Zetas.
"Things could get thicker and more toxic," said Grayson, a professor
at William & Mary College who has a book on the Zetas coming out soon.
Guzman is still fighting the Carrillo Fuentes drug cartel in the
state of Chihuahua, a conflict that has killed more than 9,400 people
in Juárez. Rumors of a cease-fire have surfaced at times, but the
El Paso lawyer Carlos Spector, who has represented U.S. asylum
petitions by Mexican citizens, views the paramilitary proposal as bad
"The only thing that differentiated Mexico from Colombia in the drug-
trade issue was the creation of a paramilitary force," Spector said.
"This is the worst thing that Mexico could do. It would perpetuate
the violence and abuses with less accountability.
"This would be like setting loose a military on steroids, and like in
Colombia, I fear that the right-wing elements would take advantage of
Robert Bunker, a national security expert in California, said he
supports Peña Nieto's paramilitary proposal, assuming it's carried
"Such a paramilitary force would have to be national in scope and
utilize both top-down (centralized) and bottom-up (networked)
organizational attributes," Bunker said.
"Further, such a force would need to draw upon both military and
policing capabilities. For example, it would have to be able to
utilize both military and criminal intelligence protocols.
"This would allow it to effectively operate in the 'blurring of crime
and war operational environment' in which the criminal insurgencies
are taking place in Mexico," said Bunker.
He added that the drug-cartel landscape may be narrowing. "In Mexico,
I think we are seeing both increasing centralization and
decentralization of the narco wars," he said. "We appear to now have
a two-cartel conflict between the Zetas and Sinaloa alliances, while
at the same time numerous baby cartels, or cartel factions, have also
"The old landscape of half a dozen or so middle-size cartels based on
the 'plaza' system, which dates back to the late 1980s, is no more."
According to the "Border Buildup" report, "The threat of the horrors
in Mexico reaching U.S. soil is a regular theme of speeches and
declarations from legislators, governor and state officials in Texas
and Arizona, local political and law-enforcement leaders from
counties near -- but not on -- the U.S.-Mexico border, and some
ranches in remote border zones."
But statistics show that crime along the U.S. border generally is
lower than statewide averages.
"The four (U.S.) border states themselves are becoming rapidly safer.
(FBI) statistics show all violent crime dropping by 11 percent, and
homicides dropping by 19 percent, between 2005 and 2010 in Arizona,
California, New Mexico and Texas," the report said.
The report said U.S. sources speculate that drug cartels follow an
unwritten understanding to keep wholesale violence from crossing the
Otherwise, they are likely to be repelled by U.S. federal and local
law enforcement, and by the U.S. military, which has already deployed
resources to help in counternarcotics missions.
Diana Washington Valdez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org;
546-6140; follow on twitter @ eptimesdiana