Friday, March 15, 2013



Contents: AZ local focus. How secure is our border.

Note: " recent success in tightening the frontier near Tucson means
that criminals are increasingly looking for safe passage in remote
parts of south Texas."
Yes, that's what they tell us.

US border agents shift focus to Texas in effort to combat Mexican
Success in tightening border in Arizona means people- and drug-
smuggling gangs increasingly look to Texas for route into US

Tom Dart in Phoenix, Thursday 14 March 2013 12.03 EDT

The US government intends to acquire mobile surveillance systems and
place most of them in Texas. Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images

US border protection officials are preparing to shift their
attentions from Arizona to Texas in a bid to combat the evolving
efforts of Mexican gangs to smuggle people and drugs across the

The area near Tucson, Arizona's second-biggest city, is currently the
most porous section of the almost 2,000-mile long south-west border.
The Department of Homeland Security will award contracts to companies
to install fixed towers and remote video surveillance in the state
later this year.

However, Mark Borkowski, assistant technology innovation commissioner
with US Customs and Border Protection, told the Border Security Expo
in Phoenix that recent success in tightening the frontier near Tucson
means that criminals are increasingly looking for safe passage in
remote parts of south Texas.

Arrests by US Border Patrol around Tucson accounted for one-third of
the south-west border's total in 2011 compared with nearly 50% in the
previous year. But the percentage of apprehensions rose in Texas
regions including the Rio Grande Valley, Laredo and Del Rio. The
government intends to acquire mobile surveillance systems and place
most of them in Texas.

The US government has increasingly deployed advanced gadgetry such as
surveillance drones and cutting-edge sensors to police the border
with Mexico. But Borkowski said that budget cuts that were planned
even before the additional burden of sequestration mean that there
will be less money to spend on new technology, with future policy
likely to favor tried-and-trusted and cost-effective security
measures and re-using equipment from the Department of Defense.

Still, he raised the possibility that border agencies will offer
prizes to encourage innovation, and said that the government is keen
to improve its capacity to combat low-flying aircraft and will launch
an initiative to tackle tunnels used by Mexican cartels, who
effectively control illegal traffic at the border.

The number of border agents doubled between 2004 and 2010 to about
21,000, and funding has continued to rise sharply under the Obama
administration. A combination of improved security and a worsening
economy has sharply slowed the flow of illegal migrants in recent
years. The US Border Patrol made fewer than 330,000 apprehensions on
the southwest border in 2011, compared with almost 1.2 million in 2005.

Yet officials are still forced to play catch-up to well-funded and
powerful criminal groups. As one leak is plugged, another springs up.

"In terms of innovation and agility the cartels are in many respects
unparalleled," said Matthew Allen, an agent with Arizona immigration
and customs enforcement. "They adapt much faster than we do. They
watch what law enforcement does, generally every day … Human beings
are treated much more like a commodity than they ever were."

Elizabeth Kempshall, executive director of the High Intensity Drug
Trafficking Areas program, said that when law enforcement is
successful, violence worsens as gangs sense weakness in a rival and
attempt a power grab.

Control of drug-running and people-smuggling corridors is now so
competitive and expensive that repercussions are inevitable if cartel
operations are stalled or thwarted.

The past six months have seen an increased use of catapults and
slingshots to hurl packets of drugs over border fences and walls,
said Ron Colburn, the president of the Border Patrol Foundation,
which provides support to the families of killed or injured agents.

Colburn said that maritime operations also pose a new challenge.
Gangs formerly employed semi-submersibles, but when the US improved
its detection ability they switched to fully-submersible vessels.

The city of Nogales in Arizona is the hub for trafficking tunnels.
Kevin Hecht, the Deputy Patrol Agent in Charge at Nogales Patrol
Station, said that the US has discovered 162 tunnels nationwide since
1990 with 95 of those in Nogales in the past 13 years. Hecht said
that tunneling crews are patient and determined enough to spend years
digging through even the toughest terrain. His force also has to keep
an eye on manholes since smugglers try to float bundles of marijuana
through the transnational sewage system.

South-east of Tucson, Cochise County has 1,500 border patrol agents
keeping watch on an 83-mile stretch of the frontier. Yet the
frustrated county sheriff believes that the manpower is not being
used effectively. "There's something broke," said Mark Dannels.

Dannels claims that ranchers on the border are living in fear because
of daily incursions by illegal immigrants who then evade poorly-
located road checkpoints deeper into the state. Attempts to make
cities safer have resulted in rural regions such as Cochise County
becoming more vulnerable because the hostile desert and mountain
terrain has proved less of a deterrent than expected.

"One of the current challenges we see now is that as we have gotten
better at securing the border with personnel technology and
infrastructure primarily in the urban areas, now that traffic has
moved somewhat to more rugged, more difficult terrain," said Manuel
Padilla Jr, the acting chief patrol agent for Tucson sector.

Dannels said that part of the region was poorly protected. "Everybody
thinks there's a big fence that's 20ft tall – that's not true," said
Dannels. "There's no cameras, there's no big fence. It's a barbed
wire fence that you can step right across, it's broken down so bad.
Their thoughts are, 'tactically it's too hard for us to deploy our
agents down in that area, our resources, so we'll just get you up on
the highways'. [But residents say]: you know where the gate's at. Get
down there and hold the gate closed."

The sheriff said that co-operation with Mexican forces is limited.
"We don't work with them a lot. In past times years ago we had a
better working relationship than I see now," he said. "Law
enforcement is not going to Mexico. We don't even cross the line
based on the fear of what could happen to us."

Dannels said that border police also face the sinister reality that
the cartels have spies within US law enforcement who feed information
south and facilitate crime.

"They're embedded in our communities. They're also embedded into our
government agencies, as secretaries, working in our jails," he said.
"We just had a detention officer arrested six months ago with a load
of marijuana. He works right within our public safety umbrella.
That's scary to me. Very scary."

Note: then you have this from locals actually there. ( AZ, Tucson
sector )

NBPC Responds To Sequestration Proposal

"Don't worry America. We will have overlapping shifts."
We are providing a response from NBPC to the proposed sequestration
measures from DHS. A lot of work is being done by union officers and
a few of our attorneys behind the scenes on this sequestration mess.

NBPC will keep working until some sort of resolution is accomplished.
Although the Agency pretends that it can simply "overlap shifts" and
maintain coverage at the line and other places, we all know that
often isn't the case. The nature of Border Patrol work often requires
traveling very long distances just to reach our assigned patrol
areas, and we all know that vast expanses of our patrol areas will go
unattended under the Agency's sequestration plans. For example,
agents from some stations in this sector have to travel over 100
miles just to get to the patrol areas they are assigned to. Commutes
of 20, 30, 50 or 100 miles to get to patrol areas are routine, and
many of the roads we must travel over are extremely rough, taking
even more time to traverse. The violence has started (throat
slashings) and large groups of 100 to 300 have already begun
assembling near the border and crossing into the United States. Human
smugglers are gearing up to make a fortune and the illegal aliens
they are bringing here are gearing up for amnesty. Dope smugglers
will, as usual, take advantage of all the chaos to run circles around
us. Terrorists who want to blow us all up will probably turn
themselves in though and obey all our laws, even with the lax
enforcement that is coming. Great job DHS!

Sequestration Bargaining
This entry was posted on Friday, March 15th, 2013 at 6:36 am and is
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