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House committee members concerned about border violence

by Candice Miller on March 18, 2011

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line staff writer
Multiple members of a congressional subcommittee voiced serious concerns Tuesday regarding the violent drug wars along the border, even as the White House prepares to open the U.S. border to long haul Mexican trucks.
In the past two weeks, the White House has moved closer to opening the U.S.-Mexico border to long-haul trucks from Mexico.
During Tuesday’s hearing in DC, the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security was scheduled to examine the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to secure the border. During the hearing, several congressional representatives strongly communicated their concerns about growing violence from Mexico’s drug wars spilling into the United States.
U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-MI, subcommittee chairman, noted the rapid changes occurring at the nation’s southern border. While previous problems may have centered on illegal immigrants, “now you have the spillover from drug cartels, and … it does seem to be almost a war zone situation in some areas.”
“Along the southern border, it seems to me that the complexion and dynamics are changing, and have changed rather dramatically, particularly during the last several years,” Miller said.
Others concurred.
“I think frankly, we are at the worst point we have ever seen,” Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-TX, said. “I think it has been steadily deteriorating. … My question, then, as you answer the questions about $500 million in cuts is: Are we ever going to get control? How much more can our friends in Mexico do? Violence is out of control.”
U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-TX, said he was concerned about estimates that the border security program won’t fully be in place until at least 2021.
“If I have to go home and tell my constituents that the border won’t be secure until 2026, they’re not going to accept that – and I don’t think they should accept that,” McCall said. “You are talking 10 to 15 years. It took us a decade to put a man on the moon.”
The increased violence and heightened wars between Mexican cartels came up during Tuesday’s U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security hearing.
U.S. Rep. Al Green, D-TX, worried about American guardsmen and border patrol workers.
“I’m concerned about the border. That’s of paramount importance,” Green said. “But I’m also concerned about the safety of the men and women who work along the border, as well as those who work on the other side of the border. My concern is whether our personnel on the other side of the border – whether they are secure enough to work in that environment and be able to protect themselves with proper armaments.”

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