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Border watchers want DC's attention
Daily B ^ | 2/5/06 | Sara A. Carter

Posted on 02/05/2006 9:49:50 AM PST by NormsRevenge

SIERRA BLANCA, Texas - Sheriff Arvin West sat behind his desk, winced and realized he was up against one of the biggest battles of his life. He is heading to Washington next week to testify before the Subcommittee on Homeland Security far from his home on the Texas plains -- far from the cotton fields, Rio Grande Valley and the small town that he holds dear.

Arvin, a small-town sheriff, is considered a giant in his neck of the woods, and he'll need all his strength to battle the international incident that has landed at his front door.

"It's a two-way battle we're fighting between the drug wars, which includes Mexico's corruption," West said Saturday from the Hudspeth County Sheriff's office. "And we're also fighting the American government to get them to listen to us.

"I have yet to find in the federal government who swings the big stick," he said. "In Hudspeth County, if my deputies get out of line, the buck stops with me. Where does the buck stop in Washington?"

In the western border areas of El Paso and Hudspeth County, Texas, law enforcement officials are making their last stand. They are in a fight to save their own communities and a nation from what they believe is a serious national security risk at their southern border.

What used to be generations of American families living peacefully with their southern neighbors, mainly migrant farm workers crossing the desolate frontier, now has become a portal for cartel leaders, human smuggling and international gang members, who have discovered America's most vulnerable doorway.

Next week members of the Texas Sheriff's Border Coalition will also be facing what they describe as Washington's apathy.

Salvador Zamora, spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said that border security is of the utmost priority and efforts to beef up technology and security along the border are already under way.

"We understand the concerns about border security," Zamora said last week. "Specifically along our southern border. Border agents depend on the vigilance of law enforcement officials and vice versa. Our job is to be the front line against terrorism and work to secure the nation's border."

But the sheriffs of the Rio Grande Valley vowed they will not back down.

They said they will stick to their guns and testify that Mexican military officials have assisted cartel leaders, they will warn Washington leaders that the border is a national security risk, and they will plead with Americans to listen.

Last week, several of West's deputies' families were verbally threatened by narcotics traffickers. The families were told to back off or they would be physically harmed or killed, West said.

"I told the deputies that we would move them," West said, of his 11 deputies. "But none of them or their families would budge. This is a community that won't give up and won't back down. What are we supposed to do to get someone to listen, put a head on a platter and deliver it to Washington?"

Increasingly violent encounters

On Jan. 23, deputies with the Hudspeth County Sheriff's Department and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers had an armed stand-off with men wearing Mexican military uniforms, carrying military weapons and driving a military vehicle at Neely's Crossing, 50 miles east of El Paso, along the Rio Grande. No shots were fired, but the men in military uniforms appeared to be assisting a group of men smuggling marijuana across the border, West said.

Mexican government officials deny that Mexican military officials were involved in the incursion incident and insist it was drug smugglers or American military personnel dressed as drug smugglers to ruin foreign relations with the United States.

Hudspeth County Sgt. John D. Schuller, 61, walked through the brush Saturday where the Mexican military incursion took place. The tire tracks of the Humvee vehicle were still imprinted on the rough ground. On the Mexican side of the border, the road used by the drug smugglers still had the markings of the struggle that took place.

Schuller, who has lived in Texas most of his life, said the event was just one in a series of increasingly violent encounters on the border and an example of how dangerous the border has become.

"This is no longer a game of cat and mouse," he said. "This is a game of life and death."

Smugglers out of the shadows

In El Paso County the feeling is similar.

Sheriffs' deputies confront drug runners in the pecan-tree fields that stretch for miles along the county's southern corridor. Farmers plow their fields only yards from their Mexican neighbors, watching as trucks filled with narcotics wait patiently to blow through the open border.

Near Fabens, a small farming community in El Paso, Deputy Sheriff Ryan Urrutia patrolled the dirt roads making intermittent stops to watch people he suspected were drug runners on the other side preparing to cross.

Two Border Patrol vehicles in the distance were also watching the trucks, one hiding in the brush and the other blatantly situated on the border watching law enforcement officials in the midafternoon.

"It doesn't surprise me; we see this all time," Urrutia said. "It's getting worse. The drug runners don't hide anymore, they confront us head on. The government has the opportunity to do something right now. If someone gets shot from across the border here or in Hudspeth County, with the way things are going, it will be too late."

On private farmlands near the border, a small faction of a Texas volunteer border watch group, called the Texas Border Regulators, assists border agents and law enforcement officers.

The group of men and women strategically placed along the border, some on horseback, watch the border for drug runners and migrants. In the early afternoon Friday, more than seven runners were apprehended when Ken Muise and Bob Masling, both of El Paso, organizers of the group, called in the sighting to Border Patrol officials.

"They were spitting distance from the barn there," Masling said. He pointed to the newly plowed cotton field where the illegal immigrants were spotted.

"Come election time, the American people are going to base their vote on who in Washington is paying attention to this border crisis," Masling said. "Our community has suffered for too long, and we're just not going to take it any more."

In Fabens, abandoned homes have become drop off facilities for narcotics and human smugglers. One home still had fresh orange juice on an old counter, rotting egg shells and a Spider-man-shaped plastic bank.

Throughout the house, freshly muddied clothing laid strewn across the wooden floors and dirty, empty backpacks became signs that the home was recently occupied by runners from Mexico.

"It's impossible to keep up with the flow of people and narcotics coming across the border," Urrutia said. "We know the houses, and we check them frequently, but there's only so many of us out here patrolling. We need the federal government to fund for more law enforcement officers. We need somebody to pay attention."

Funding on its way?

On Friday, Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, met with members of the Texas Sheriff's Border Coalition, an organization of 16 county sheriff's agencies guarding the southwest border.

After interviewing the sheriffs on Friday in Houston, Sensenbrenner said upon his return to Washington this week he will ask for $100 million in funding for border security, said El Paso Sheriff Leo Samaniego.

Samaniego added that $34 million of the full funding would be earmarked for Operation Linebacker, a project started in January by the coalition, to assist Border Patrol agents in guarding the southwest border.

The meeting was candid and an eye-opener for Sensenbrenner, said Rick Glancey, interim executive director of the coalition.

"I think it is safe to say Chairman Sensenbrenner understands that border security is the third part of the equation," Glancey said. "Without it you don't have Homeland Security and National Security."

Sensenbrenner's support of Operation Linebacker was loud and clear, Glancey said.

"Operation Linebacker is the modern-day version of a COPS program aimed at border security," added Glancey, who will also testify in Washington. "I think Chairman Sensenbrenner gets the picture."

The coalition has 16 members and all plan to have the same voice in Washington on Tuesday, Glancey said.

"I've been informed as of late Friday that I'll address the committee about the independent analysis of the photos from the first Hudspeth County incident," he said.

"As porous as it gets'

Chief Deputy Michael Doyal and Schuller drove across the dusty gravel roads that wind around the small town of Fort Hancock in Hudspeth County. The town, population 4,500, is mainly made up of Mexican migrant farmers and scattered old Texas families.

It's a place where neighbors know one another, Schuller said. Protecting those families from drug runners using the river as a crossing point is something Doyal doesn't take lightly, he said.

"This is about as porous as it gets," Doyal said. "The river is so shallow that trucks drive across it without a problem. In years past it hasn't been an issue, but when it starts getting into organized crime and threats against our deputies, it becomes personal."

Doyal and Schuller parked their Ford truck on the gravel road only two miles from town.

They walked to river bank where an unguarded walking bridge about 2 feet wide led straight over the rushing water into Mexico.

"I've been on this border all my life, and I don't know what it will take to change what's been happening here," Schuller said, as he looked across the bridge. "There's no telling who's sitting in the brush over there watching us. I guess those who haven't seen it for themselves couldn't believe it."

With rifles flung over their shoulders, the men headed back to their trucks.

"One thing's for sure," Doyal said. "This time we're not backing down. This time the incident won't just be washed under the bridge."


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government; Mexico; Politics/Elections; US: Arizona; US: California; US: New Mexico; US: Texas; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: aliens; attention; border; borderpatrol; coalition; hispandering; illegalimmigrants; illegals; immigrantlist; saraacarter; texassheriffs; want; watchers

1 posted on 02/05/2006 9:49:52 AM PST by NormsRevenge
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To: NormsRevenge

I am so ashamed of the powers in Washington who refuse to stop the invasion of the Mexican Illegals or to support those who try. Andy Jackson or Teddy Roosevelt, where are you now that we need you?


2 posted on 02/05/2006 9:58:36 AM PST by Focused Fury
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To: NormsRevenge

""I have yet to find in the federal government who swings the big stick," he said. "In Hudspeth County, if my deputies get out of line, the buck stops with me. Where does the buck stop in Washington?" "




An excellent question, indeed. The current administration is not all that concerned with illegal immigration. It's a side issue.

Where does the buck stop? Where it always stops.


3 posted on 02/05/2006 10:03:21 AM PST by MineralMan (godless atheist)
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To: NormsRevenge

Washington just doesn't want to hear it, they will not offend Hispanic voters. (bottom line)


4 posted on 02/05/2006 10:04:06 AM PST by stopem
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Comment #5 Removed by Moderator

To: stopem
BUMP

Jim Gilchrist = Minutemen

6 posted on 02/05/2006 10:06:50 AM PST by B4Ranch (No expiration date is on the Oath to protect America from all enemies, foreign and domestic.)
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To: NormsRevenge
With rifles flung over their shoulders, the men headed back to their trucks. "One thing's for sure," Doyal said. "This time we're not backing down. This time the incident won't just be washed under the bridge."

This is one of the best articles I've read on the situation facing the border communities. Thanks for posting....

7 posted on 02/05/2006 10:07:26 AM PST by ScreamingFist ( Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. NRA)
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To: NormsRevenge

This situation is disgraceful. Our leaders in both parties truly are elitist fools. \

Maybe we do need a system like they have in England...


8 posted on 02/05/2006 10:26:58 AM PST by SC33
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To: stopem
"Washington just doesn't want to hear it, they will not offend Hispanic voters."

"Hispanics" who are here legally are largely as against illegals as other Americans; in many cases even moreso. Those who are here illegally have no business...or legal right...to vote and therefore should not be a consideration.

9 posted on 02/05/2006 10:32:19 AM PST by sweetliberty (Stupidity should make you sterile.)
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To: Stellar Dendrite; NRA2BFree; Happy2BMe; Spiff; Pelham; Das Outsider; moehoward; ...
*PING!*

"It's a two-way battle we're fighting between the drug wars, which includes Mexico's corruption," West said Saturday from the Hudspeth County Sheriff's office. "And we're also fighting the American government to get them to listen to us.

Any bets on Sherriff Arvin West being pulled aside by the OBL-ers in Charge and told to shut up or else?

Any bets that Sherrif West gets absolutely NOTHING from D.C in the way of support, Law, or aid?

Any bets that this is more likely?


10 posted on 02/05/2006 10:34:07 AM PST by Itzlzha ("The avalanche has already started...it is too late for the pebbles to vote")
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To: NormsRevenge
SIERRA BLANCA, Texas - Sheriff Arvin West sat behind his desk, winced and realized he was up against one of the biggest battles of his life.

Specifically, a battle with the pimps in SIERRA BOHICA.

11 posted on 02/05/2006 10:35:41 AM PST by inquest (If you favor any legal status for illegal aliens, then do not claim to be in favor of secure borders)
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To: NormsRevenge
Look, there are certain elements who want the Mexican invasion of illegal aliens to succeed. They include such people as Nancy Pelosi, who used illegal aliens on her grape vineyards in California, and others who use cheap illegal alien labor.

It also includes politicians who hope to get the illegal alien vote.

It does not include 99 percent of Americans who want our country protected from foreign invasion, armed or unarmed.

the unarmed invasion from Mexico seeks the same thing an armed invasion would be looking for; occupation of land, taking over of resources and taking over the country from the defeated population.

When a civilization falls because of a demographic shift that overwhelms the civilization it invades, it is always overcome by a subsequent birth rate that far exceeds the population invades.
12 posted on 02/05/2006 10:36:36 AM PST by R.W.Ratikal
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To: NormsRevenge
Sheriff Arvin West sat behind his desk, winced and realized he was up against one of the biggest battles of his life.

So he truly understands the day by day concerns of our President?

13 posted on 02/05/2006 10:39:07 AM PST by EGPWS
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To: SC33
Maybe we do need a system like they have in England...

Our Constitution was formed via hard work to divest ourselves of England's influence.

So we need to take our system of government as a true basis of American livelihood and chuck it?

Oh, those of little faith....

14 posted on 02/05/2006 10:43:55 AM PST by EGPWS
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To: EGPWS

Well, our system does not seem to be responding to the needs and wishes of the people so much anymore, does it?

Afetr all, our "leaders" are supposed to be there as delegates, to convey our thoughts and wishes, and to act upon them. What are we to do when that is no longer the case? Our gov't is run by spolied elitists.


15 posted on 02/05/2006 10:47:08 AM PST by SC33
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To: NormsRevenge
But the sheriffs of the Rio Grande Valley vowed they will not back down.

They said they will stick to their guns and testify that Mexican military officials have assisted cartel leaders, they will warn Washington leaders that the border is a national security risk, and they will plead with Americans to listen.

BRAVO! (Americans are already listening; the Washington 'leaders' are the ones who need to clean out their ears.)

16 posted on 02/05/2006 10:51:47 AM PST by arasina (So there.)
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To: EGPWS
So he truly understands the day by day concerns of our President?

I agree it must be a stressful job constantly trying to find ways to convince an increasingly skeptical public that he really does want secure borders despite constantly pushing his not-an-amnesty amnesty. I certainly wouldn't want that job.

17 posted on 02/05/2006 10:54:53 AM PST by inquest (If you favor any legal status for illegal aliens, then do not claim to be in favor of secure borders)
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To: SC33
Well, our system does not seem to be responding to the needs and wishes of the people so much anymore, does it?

Well, I have to agree with you on that one, for our government officials have lacked conveyance in what he as Americans have to appreciate by being Americans.

After all, it ain't so bad living in the USA is it?

18 posted on 02/05/2006 10:55:19 AM PST by EGPWS
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To: inquest
I agree it must be a stressful job constantly trying to find ways to convince an increasingly skeptical public that he really does want secure borders despite constantly pushing his not-an-amnesty amnesty.

You are a true believer in a half empty glass my FRiend when a half full glass is more appealing.

19 posted on 02/05/2006 10:57:46 AM PST by EGPWS
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To: Thud

ping


20 posted on 02/05/2006 10:58:14 AM PST by Dark Wing
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To: stopem

If that is the reason, they may be in for a surprise. Many hispanics I know want the border secure, and want illegal traffic stopped.


21 posted on 02/05/2006 11:01:47 AM PST by Tammy8 (Build a Real Border Fence, and enforce Immigration Laws!!!)
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To: SC33
Our gov't is run by spolied elitists.

Why, when the likes of SC33 are available to run our government as a non-elitist?

Fancy is your definition of "Elitist" my FRiend.

22 posted on 02/05/2006 11:04:12 AM PST by EGPWS
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To: EGPWS
You are a true believer in a half empty glass my FRiend when a half full glass is more appealing.

You're apparently a believer in obtuse metaphors as a way of avoiding the issue.

23 posted on 02/05/2006 11:07:39 AM PST by inquest (If you favor any legal status for illegal aliens, then do not claim to be in favor of secure borders)
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To: EGPWS
Why, when the likes of SC33 are available to run our government as a non-elitist? Fancy is your definition of "Elitist" my FRiend.

Carrying out the views of 75-80% of the population is elitist?

24 posted on 02/05/2006 11:09:23 AM PST by inquest (If you favor any legal status for illegal aliens, then do not claim to be in favor of secure borders)
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To: inquest
I agree it must be a stressful job constantly trying to find ways to convince an increasingly skeptical public that he really does want secure borders despite constantly pushing his not-an-amnesty amnesty.

If GWB were to place 100% focus on one issue, then he would be nothing more than a liberal in sheep's clothing.

GWB has the mindset to be multifaceted and at the same time to maintain a prosperous country with an attitude of aggression where aggression is needed.

25 posted on 02/05/2006 11:09:52 AM PST by EGPWS
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To: inquest
Carrying out the views of 75-80% of the population is elitist?

No, one to carry out the interests of our sovereign nation in total without focus on polls as dictated as a political agenda.

26 posted on 02/05/2006 11:12:14 AM PST by EGPWS
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To: inquest
You're apparently a believer in obtuse metaphors as a way of avoiding the issue.

Yea, I'm a lost soul for inquest tells me so....

27 posted on 02/05/2006 11:13:54 AM PST by EGPWS
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To: NormsRevenge


28 posted on 02/05/2006 11:24:06 AM PST by joesnuffy (A camel once bit our sister..but we knew just what to do...we gathered rocks and squashed her!)
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To: NormsRevenge

Chairman Sensenbrenner was pushing to make the illegal invasion of American in wartime a felony...but the powers that be pressured him to back down...

He did...saying he had to re-think the measure due to it's overall costs..

It's the old Washington two step...as RD used to say...
While you're watching out for # 1...be sure not to step in #2


29 posted on 02/05/2006 11:28:53 AM PST by joesnuffy (A camel once bit our sister..but we knew just what to do...we gathered rocks and squashed her!)
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To: EGPWS
GWB has the mindset to be multifaceted and at the same time to maintain a prosperous country with an attitude of aggression where aggression is needed.

He's certainly been plenty aggressive about pushing his amnesty proposals, I'll give you that. But few would argue that it's necessary for him to do so.

30 posted on 02/05/2006 1:04:19 PM PST by inquest (If you favor any legal status for illegal aliens, then do not claim to be in favor of secure borders)
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To: EGPWS
[Carrying out the views of 75-80% of the population is elitist?]

No, one to carry out the interests of our sovereign nation in total without focus on polls as dictated as a political agenda.

It may not be elitist to be focused exclusively on the polls, but to display such contempt for what the vast majority of the people clearly want, is just about the definition of elitism.

31 posted on 02/05/2006 1:09:16 PM PST by inquest (If you favor any legal status for illegal aliens, then do not claim to be in favor of secure borders)
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To: inquest
s/b, "...to NOT be focused exclusively..."
32 posted on 02/05/2006 1:10:49 PM PST by inquest (If you favor any legal status for illegal aliens, then do not claim to be in favor of secure borders)
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To: inquest
He's certainly been plenty aggressive about pushing his amnesty proposals, I'll give you that. But few would argue that it's necessary for him to do so.

I'll give you that he has performed admirably with his title as POTUS and CIC and has placed "amnesty" on the back burner as he has been hounded by liberals in the meanwhile for less concerning issues.

33 posted on 02/05/2006 1:11:41 PM PST by EGPWS
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To: EGPWS
has placed "amnesty" on the back burner

He's wasting his ammo by putting it on any burner. In addition, he's wasting it on something that makes the country less safe. And he's doing it despite the clear views of the vast majority of Americans.

By the way, if he's placing it on the "back burner", then what was the point of your comment at #13?

34 posted on 02/05/2006 1:49:39 PM PST by inquest (If you favor any legal status for illegal aliens, then do not claim to be in favor of secure borders)
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To: EGPWS
So he truly understands the day by day concerns of our President?

Probably as well as some Party stooge in Minnesota does. One thing Sheriff West is doing is trying to enforce our laws and defend our borders. What are you doing?

35 posted on 02/05/2006 5:32:27 PM PST by Pelham ("Borders? We don' need no stinking borders!")
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To: arasina
But the sheriffs of the Rio Grande Valley vowed they will not back down.

I know that area well. My late uncle used to be a Sheriff of Hudspeth County. He was one tough, fearless man, the sort that John Wayne made a career out of pretending to be. I suspect the current crop are cut from the same cloth.

36 posted on 02/05/2006 5:51:05 PM PST by Pelham ("Borders? We don' need no stinking borders!")
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To: NormsRevenge
I think it's time we started to get down with buisness.
37 posted on 02/05/2006 6:25:52 PM PST by Lancer_N3502A
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