Skip to comments.Chertoff calls reports of Mexican military incursions overblown
Posted on 01/18/2006 5:40:07 PM PST by NormsRevenge
SAN DIEGO (AP) - Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Wednesday that reports of Mexican soldiers frequently crossing onto U.S. soil were overblown, calling many of those incursions innocent mistakes.
"I think to create the image that somehow there is a deliberate effort by the Mexican military to cross the border would be to traffic in scare tactics," Chertoff told reporters in Washington. "We have a good relationship with the Mexicans and I think treating this as an alarmist issue that suggests we're in danger of some significant overreaching is not accurate and not helpful."
Chertoff's remarks followed a newspaper report that the Mexican military had crossed into the United States 216 times since 1996. The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin of Ontario published details Sunday of a Homeland Security Department report.
"I think we average about 20 a year, and a significant number of those are innocent things where ... police or military from Mexico may step across the border because they're not aware of exactly where the line is," Chertoff said.
Chertoff added that some members of the Mexican army or police have abandoned their jobs and crossed into the United States to do "something illegal." Also, some criminals who have stepped across the border are dressed as soldiers but do not belong to the military, he said.
Rafael Laveaga, a spokesman for the Mexican Embassy in Washington, declined to comment on Chertoff's remarks. He stood by earlier remarks that the Mexican military has never deliberately stepped onto U.S. soil. He declined to say if there were any unintentional crossings.
The head of a labor union that represents about 10,500 U.S. Border Patrol agents dismissed Chertoff's remarks as "diplomatic response" to a long-running problem on U.S.-Mexico border.
"It really doesn't surprise me that he's playing the diplomat," said T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council. "This is a guy whose time on the border can be measured in hours, not years."
Bonner said Mexican soldiers - possibly some Army deserters - are providing protection for drug runners.
"It's all about the drugs," he said. "The lure of the riches of the cartel, they're too many for many of their solders to resist, whether they're corrupted on active duty or take up with other bands."
Homeland Security recorded an annual average of 21.6 Mexican military incursions since the 1996 fiscal year, according to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. Incidents peaked at 40 in 2002 and dropped to nine in the 2005 fiscal year that ended in September.
The Border Patrol's El Centro sector, which covers southeastern California, recorded the most incursions since 1996 (58), followed by Tucson, Ariz., (39), El Paso, Texas (33) and McAllen, Texas, (28), according to the newspaper. Del Rio, Texas, recorded only three incidents, the fewest of the agency's nine sectors along the southwest border.
Peter Nunez, the U.S. attorney in San Diego from 1982 to 1988, said it was difficult to know if the reports are overblown without additional information.
"Who's reporting these things?" he said. "What are the details? Who's telling us that this happening? What are the circumstances?"
if I hadn't heard about these encursions off an on for years, might believe him, as it is, I think he is full of shiite
And you don't think there is a line, Chertoff.
So, exactly how does one cross the Rio Grande by accident?
Here in Texas, there are reports of Border Patrol agents being FIRED upon, and order to retreat.
I say we have an Apache on alert; and let this helicopter unload on the next incursion. Then we can let Mexico come up and haul their garbage of American soil.
Methinks that means we should make it perfectly clear where the border is, Chertoff - like by marking it with a 20-foot-high fence.
Border? What border? Just ask ANYONE in Washington (excepting a few) and they will swear they never knew there was a border between Mexico and the US....
Why did you post a picture of one of those NYC "Liberals"?
That 'man' looks like something out of a 1960's ACLU ad.
and a significant number of those are innocent things "
OK, so what are the remainder?
LOL.. Would you buy a bridge from him? Only slightly used but great security. ;-)
"You may be aware that I have recently received an important promotion. I have replaced the lunatic Dreyfus as Chief Inspector."
How can 58 incursions in one area be a mistake? The "mistake" should have ended after the first one.
Also, doesn't the Mexican military use GPS?
Build a wall or secure fence. Then there will be no more lame excuses if the foreigners cross it again.
Overblown, but they happened. As I said before, probably just running drugs.
How the eff would you know Vlad Chertoff? Have you ever set foot in a combat zone?
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