Skip to comments.Cochise County View of the Border (congressional testimony by US Army Col. (retired)
Posted on 03/11/2003 11:46:44 AM PST by madfly
March 10, 2003Sirs:My name is Ben L. Anderson Jr.; I am a retired U.S. Army Infantry Colonel. I am a resident of Cochise County, Arizona. I served my country for almost 3 decades as a soldier and officer in the U.S. Army. A significant portion of my career was spent planning for defense of and defending other nations borders. We did quite well. We won the cold war and we are the only standing superpower. We are the worlds experts at border security.I have no personal interest in illegal immigration or in U.S. drug policy except as a patriotic citizen of the United States. I am not being paid or influenced by any entity whatsoever for my testimony submitted to you this day.I wish to make three points immediately.Firstly, your letter regarding this hearing states: Substantial progress on these issues has been made since the attacks on September 11, 2001 I can assure you that we in Cochise County see no basis for such a positive statement.
In fact, Cochise County does not even have any Border Patrol checkpoints in operation. Illegal aliens of whatever ilk who get past the initial porous line of sparse Border Patrol presence are free to drive direct to Phoenix or Omaha or anywhere else in the continental U.S. Admittedly, this unique tactic surely does cut down on the number of apprehensions and improve the statistical numbers for bureaucratic reporting, but does little to solve the problem.Secondly, it is difficult to separate people smuggling from drug smuggling from terrorist smuggling. They all are intertwined and mutually supportive.Thirdly, far too little attention has been paid to the danger of exotic human and animal diseases resulting from the ingress of large masses of medically unscreened illegal aliens from most of the 3rd worlds undeveloped countries.The US/Mexico border situation in Cochise County, Arizona has been and remains out of control. Briefings by US Border Patrol senior authorities do not reflect reality and the Border Patrols credibility in this regard has been in question by the local citizenry for years. The measure of success is not how many illegal aliens the border patrol catches and re-catches. The measure is how many they missed and how many illegal aliens successfully penetrated into the interior of the United States. Currently, ranchers and other knowledgeable citizens estimate the apprehension rate has decreased from 1 in 5 to 1 in 10. On occasion is can be 0 out of 200. Thus, any apprehension statistic quoted by Border Patrol executives must be multiplied ten-fold or more to ascertain the failure rate. There is no known measurement standard that calls 10% or less a passing grade.Documentation by various US government agencies to include the GAO; numerous civilian organizations; the media - print, radio and TV; American citizens along the border and congress itself have proven without any doubt that the current and programmed INS/Border Patrol structure will not be able to contain the illegal alien invasion from Mexico. Doing a name change or a line diagram adjustment under the Department of Home Security or placing this motley crew under the Pope will not effect changes soon enough.There continue to be a series of gambits to assuage the concerns of the border citizens. The standard ploy is to ask again and again for more funding and/or new funding to offset the costs of medical care or prison incarceration costs or whatever. These quests for more money are akin to throwing oats at a dead horse. The current policy horse is dead.I shall not waste the committees time discussing whether or not we should protect or defend our sovereign borders or whether illegal aliens have any standing or justification for invading our sovereign nation. I shall not waste my time debating the parsing of their illegal status.
34 EUPHEMISMS FOR ILLEGAL ALIENS:"undocumented," "undocumented workers," "undocumented immigrants," "undocumented Mexicans," "immigrants," "illegal immigrants," "illegal residents," "foreign-born," "foreign-born workers," "foreign-born inmate," "foreign-born newcomers," "lower-wage illegal workers," "migrant workers," "alien absconders," "guest workers," "border crossers," "foreign nationals," "Mexicans," "Mexican nationals," "Mexican-born expatriates," "Hispanic immigrants," "Spanish speakers," "Hispanics," "under-banked, under-served population," "newcomers," "illegal newcomers," "poor immigrants," "entrants," "Hispanic Community citizens," "border jumpers," "visitor," "Latinos," "people without papers", "people."More euphemisms are invented daily. They are legally defined as illegal aliens.It is not money that is needed to fight this synergistic and symbiotic business of crime and corruption; it is the military. Only the military can close the border to the illegal entry of those who would do our nation and its economy harm. Trying to buy off the problem with other taxpayers money is rather insulting to all of us who live in Cochise County. We dont want other taxpayers money - we want the problem stopped. We want the military. Further, any attempts to regularize (code for amnesty) or institute some guestworker program, so as to appease those who profit from cheap slave labor, are mere political gambits.It is most disturbing that a young U.S. Border Patrol Agent, stationed in Naco can have been murdered south of the border and yet hear no cry of outrage from any of our elected officials at any level. It is as if the young 23 year old agent, married and a father had been run over by a truck or some other innocuous accident. He was murdered by a known drug trafficker recently released by our authorities in a business as usual fashion.Equally, disturbing was the murder of Kris Eggle of the National Park Service by similar thugs from Mexico.If a U.S Border Patrol Agent and a U.S. Park Service Ranger can be murdered with such a muted uproar what message has been sent to the illegal alien smugglers and drug traffickers and to the Mexican government? And what measure of safety does any lone rancher or property owner feel?Both incidents bring to question Just what does Congress think is going on here on the border? And what does it take to make an impact? This is admittedly the seventh field hearing held by the Subcommittee along the nations borders to address the situation. How many more will it take? And does this all not sound like the United Nations contemplating its navel with regard to Saddam Hussein and Iraq?There have already been six of these hearings, yet no progress in the eyes the American citizens who live along the border in Cochise County. In fact, matters worsen daily. Since the last such session that I am aware of back on February 22, 2002 in Sierra Vista, not only has there been absolutely no progress, but now various citizen groups have formed to take the matter into their own hands to defend the border and deter the invasion of illegal aliens, drug traffickers and potential terrorists. Three that come to mind are The Ranch Rescue group out of Texas, the American Border Patrol formed in Hereford, (just south of Sierra Vista) and the Citizen Homeland Defense Corps formed in Tombstone. I have received correspondence that another out of state group also wishes for form up for the same purpose. Each group operates independently according to its own agenda and methodology.These citizen groups have been assailed by various open-borders activist groups as being vigilantes and as militias for doing what they feel they must do to fill the void left by the inaction of government at all levels charged with protecting the general public. We can expect that there will be more groups. I also expect that given the continued failure of agencies at all levels to properly address the problem, the situation will devolve into even more tragic events.The general mantra by agencies at all levels is the lack of funding and much finger pointing. Everyone wants more funding and all blame the federal government. No one takes any responsibility at any level. Caught in the middle is are the ranchers, property owners and families who live along the border. The bureaucratic non-action is of little solace to American parents who must escort their children to the local rural bus stop or mail box a catch a school bus because illegal aliens are hiding in the undergrowth while they await their rides to Phoenix and other distant destinations. Ranchers and property owners continue to find drug stashes on their property awaiting pickup by drug traffickers. They fear that they can be charged as drug traffickers themselves.The people and drug smuggling is not just limited to Cochise County. Two Peoria elementary schools in Phoenix were placed in lockdown recently as police searched a home suspected of being a haven for dozens of illegal immigrants. Officers later surrounded a house, and at least 45 people stepped outside and surrendered to federal immigration officials. An estimated 20 others remained inside, refusing to surrender, as the operation continued into the evening. At least six of the 45 were suspected "coyotes," or immigrant smugglers. During the initial stages of the probe, Santa Fe Elementary and Ira A. Murphy Elementary schools were placed in lockdown as officers targeted a home, later identified as the "safe house," across the street from the school playground. SWAT teams were employed. Illegals reported that as many as 100 illegal aliens were kept in the safe houses. Peoria is in Phoenix.Ranching families are sick and tired of having to have their high school boys and girls go about their ranch chores armed and carrying radios at all times. I stress again that American high school children are forced to carry weapons to be safe on their own ranches in the United States. Some of these children have already been threatened and attacked by illegals over 30 miles north of the border.Communities are sick and tired of having their youth co-opted into being drivers and suppliers for coyotes and drug traffickers. The lure of enormous amounts of cash for little effort is overwhelming. These youths become high school dropouts and may never be recovered to a proper way of life.The environmental and economic costs to the ranching communities have been overwhelming, yet have never been addressed. As a result, many Arizona ranching families have been forced into bankruptcy; many others are on the verge of bankruptcy. Land values have plummeted. The cause is the lack of border security. Currently, gun dealers in Cochise County report that they are unable to keep up with the surge in demand for both guns and ammunition. Citizens are arming themselves. They feel that bloodshed is on the horizon.Just last week Ft. Huachuca reports that nearly 90 illegal aliens were apprehended on the military reservation. Some were apprehended walking in the housing areas of the senior officers. Ft. Huachuca is the U.S. Armys Intelligence Center. Over 180 have been apprehended on the post from Oct thru December. The total is unknown from January to now. Ft. Huachuca is a closed military installation. When I drive on to post I must show a picture military ID card.
Environmental concerns to include the valuation of wildlife freedom of movement that compromises border security or safety is simply unethical and immoral. To suggest any form of fencing that compromises the war on drugs or illegal aliens or potential terrorists for environmental concerns is similarly repugnant.While nature abhors a vacuum, so too does the lack of border security and general lawlessness. We all fear that it will take a major bloodletting to get Congress off the dime.It is not business as usual solved by simple funding increases. We have a border war going on under the radar. Neither the U.S. Border Patrol, nor surely the U.S. Park Service was ever expected to face this type of situation.We simply are not taking this invasion of our nation seriously; certainly, not seriously enough.
No amount of funding or manpower increases can fix the Border Patrol structure, organization or operational shortfalls in a timely manner. The Border Patrol was simply never envisioned to face such a daunting threat. It cannot be "grown" to the task in any reasonable timeframe.However, the mission of protecting US national border sovereignty remains and the mission cannot be compromised given the threat to the national security, the economy and Americas culture and values. The chaotic border situation reflects a significant weak link in national security at a time in history when uncontrolled access to the American Homeland by terrorists, illegal aliens and drug traffickers can have demonstrated horrific repercussions as witnessed in the WTC and Pentagon attacks.
Our nation remains on constant terrorist alert, yet a multi-thousand mile border with Mexico -- a 3rd world country noted for corruption at all levels in most of its agencies, drug trafficking, general lawlessness and mistreatment of its own underclass -- remains like a sieve. It is a moral imperative that appropriate measures are taken to seal the border and contain this invasion. It must be repeatedly stressed that the mission is one of national security and not law enforcement.
The United States Military is well structured, manned, funded, trained and capable of quickly accomplishing the mission. There is no need to tell our nation's superb military how to do anything. The command structure, when given the task, will quickly be able to task organize its assets in an efficient and cost-effective manner. The US Military has accepted many a new, difficult, distant and often non-traditional task with alacrity and succeeded. Desert Storm and the Afghanistan mission are but examples. The mission in Iraq will be another. There will be more.
It is not the military that needs instruction on how to do any of its tasks. It is the congress that needs to educate itself as to the feasibility of the mission. Regrettably there are members of congress who are not versed in border denial operations or basic military matters, and who, in their ignorance, do a disservice to the nation by refusing to consider the military option.
Our military has decades of experience in border security missions - from 1945 till the collapse of the Soviet Union in Europe, from the end of open hostilities in Korea and continuing in to this day, and Bosnia and Kosovo, etc. In fact, the American military is the world's expert at protecting other nation's borders. It is time that unique experience is used at home where it is sorely needed.
There is no need for large military units, or heavy equipment or tracked vehicles such as tanks, artillery or armored personnel carriers; or heavy weapons or any equipment that might be ecologically destructive. Light forces with rapid airmobile (helicopter) mobility can cover large remote border areas with minimal assets while freeing up limited Border Patrol assets to concentrate on congested urban areas or where their particular expertise is needed.
In southeastern Arizona, where the main concentration of illegal alien and drug traffic exists, (upwards of 1.5 million illegal aliens per year successfully cross into the United States through Cochise County alone), the stationing structure already exists for rapid deployment. Ft. Huachuca provides a perfect location for border operations of any needed military units.
Military engineer units from the active and reserve components can rapidly emplace requisite fencing in areas where needed. Units (active and reserve) can be rotated to maintain the operational tempo of other Department of Defense missions. The task is simple and requires very limited training, if any at all. Standard "rules of engagement" suffice.
Concurrently, INS and Border Patrol forces can take on their mandated task of searching out illegal aliens within the county and repatriating them to their country of origin.
Finally, the military would be genuinely welcomed by the local citizenry who are frustrated at the unsatisfactory state and national response to the problem.
It is a wining situation for the military, for the local citizenry, the state and the nation.
Frankly, the refusal to defend our borders with our own well trained military seems very similar to the games being played out by the United Nations in refusing to face up to the reality of Sadam Hussein. The difference is that the UN asks for more time; whereas with regard to the assault on our borders there remain those politicos who would ask always for more funding to appease the monster hoping to buy their way out of the problem with taxpayers money. Yet, all indications support the undeniable fact that matters are getting worse, far worse.In light of the current and programmed INS/Border Patrol structures inability to contain the illegal alien invasion from Mexico - I urge strong consideration of a military option in southeastern Arizona, if not across the entirety of the US/Mexico international border.Any attempts to deny protection of the United States sovereign borders on the basis of any Posse Comitatus nonsense is trumped by Article IV, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution. The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; .. Again, it must be stressed that the mission is one of national security and not law enforcement.I also stress that the solution is not more taxpayer funding, but rather military presence.
Ben L. Anderson Jr.
Colonel, USA (Infantry) (Retired)
Military on the border:The solution is doable
1. Put the military on the border to release the INS and Border Patrol to go apprehend the illegal aliens current running amok in the United States and return them to their countries of origin.
2. The fix of the INS and Border Patrol will be a major undertaking that will take many years - at least a decade. A review of U.S. Military structure, career patterns, schooling and training is highly recommended.
3. Back off the military from the border when the INS and Border Patrol have grown into their jobs. This will take several years.Basic suggested concepts include, but are not limited to -
The security of the U.S. border should be accomplished with a combination of Border Patrol, selected regular Military, National Guard & Reserve and a little innovation.
The Border Patrol should apprehend, process and repatriate illegal aliens in accordance with their mission.
The National Guard & Reserves assume those logistic and maintenance functions (transportation truck and bus driving, vehicle maintenance, communications and administrative tasks, house keeping tasks, etc.) to free up Border Patrol personnel to concentrate on their basic mission.
The regular military provides high tech reconnaissance, surveillance & scouting with manned aircraft and UAVs, monitoring of remote areas, air-lift, and selected units to secure remote areas of the border. The border mission will provide an excellent training opportunity. Most importantly, the border mission is a national security mission.
Some more innovative concepts include -1. Ultra-light aircraft. Ultra-light aircraft would be appropriate for daytime missions. Ultra-lights are inexpensive (cost less than current Border Patrol SUVs), low maintenance, require only limited training (do not require an FAA pilots license), and fly low & slow allowing for excellent tracking of illegal activity. They can be either single or double occupant and would allow for a dedicated pilot and tracker. They are available for purchase in Arizona.2. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). UAVs that are in the current inventory provide the nighttime continuation of the daytime mission, yet with advanced high-tech all-weather and limited visibility sensors to acquire and track infiltrating illegal movement.Both ultra-lights and UAVs can complement each other with reverse cycle maintenance: Ultra-light maintenance at night and UAV maintenance during the day. All UAVs would be stationed and operate from Ft. Huachuca. Ultra-lights would be ground transported to the area of use. State of the art light-weight high-tech communications and position locating systems can be easily installed in proposed ultra-light.
3. Native American Border Patrol Augmentation. A dedicated Native American Border Patrol augmentation would be an excellent way of capitalizing the unique and honored traditional skills of our Native American citizens. Their time honored skills at tracking and outdoor skills can be tapped to the nations advantage. They should be employed as trackers working in conjunction with US military, Border Patrol, ultra-lights and UAVs. A military occupation specialty (MOS) type training program could provide structure to the concept. Entrusting them with our national borders would be a compliment to their heritage along the line of the Code Talkers of WW II. A name for consideration would be Border Stalkers. It might be that this new opportunity would provide a needed and well-deserved niche for the Native American community beyond what is currently available. Currently such a concept is in place with the Shadow Wolves of the U.S. Customs Service on the Tohono O'Odham Reservation in southern Arizona.
The Shadow Wolves unit is composed solely of Native Americans of Blackfoot, Cheyenne and Pima tribes who are known for their uncanny ability to track aliens and the drugs they may carry.
See: http://www.tucsonweekly.com/tw/2001-09-27/feat.html and http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,70147,00.html
I know Ben Anderson and he knows what he's talking about. He and I have our disagreements, but he is dead on accurate in his testimony here.
When Rep. Tancredo came down here last month, it was Ben Anderson who showed him around.
You really should ping the list with this one.
Anyone wanting ON or OFF my border ping list, please just hit "private reply" at the end of this message to instantly freepmail me.
To comment or receive his email newsletter, contact him at
Col. Ben Anderson (bio)
Col. Anderson believes that the out-of-control illegal immigration situation this country is currently experiencing constitutes a threat to our national security and that U.S. Military should be used on our borders to stop it.
In addition to making a convincing case on that issue, he addresses a wide range of geopolitical issues from the middle east to China. Col. Anderson brings a wealth of experience to a very interesting conversation.
To list just a few of his qualifications, Col. Anderson retired in 1993 after almost three-decades of Army service, which included assignments in Europe; Far East, including Vietnam; Central and South America; Caribbean; and North Africa.
Among the retired Infantry Colonels military decorations are 2 Silver Stars, 2 Purple Hearts, 2 Legions of Merit, The Defense Superior Service Medal and 3 Meritorious Service Medals. He also wears the Combat Infantry Badge, Aviator Wings, Ranger Tab, Pathfinder Designation, Senior Paratrooper Wings, Scuba Badge and both German and Paraguayan Paratrooper Wings.
Anderson graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1966 (BS, Engineering). He holds three masters degrees: (German Linguistics), Georgetown University, Wash. D.C.; MA (International Relations), Salve Regina College, Newport, RI; and MA (National Security & Strategic Studies), Naval War College.
He also taught on the faculty at the United States Military Academy, West Point (1974-76).
Not only did he identify the problem but he gave concrete solutions which could go a long way toward fixing this mess.
He is right. This problem is way beyond being solved by more money thown at an overwhemed Border Partrol and incompetent bureaucracy. The military should be part of the solution. As he says, we have guarded everybody elses' borders for a half century. It is time to start guarding our own.
I especially liked his idea of using ultra-lites and Indian trackers. Some of this could be volunteer work, and using the Indians could give them needed employment with a real purpose. I'm sure volunteers could be used for other things too.
I hope somebody is listening, but I won't hold my breath. Here in North Carolina the ranks of the illegals swell day by day. It is noticeable. We are a long way from any border.
--picks up mega-phone:
"I CAN'T HEAR YOU..."