Obama was merely repeating falsehoods earlier uttered by his Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, whose repeated insistence that the border is secure was, again, proven false by a more competent authority.
The bottom line on the matter is that either Obama and his cabinet Secretary are woefully ignorant of the real conditions on the border, or they are simply lying to keep the media spotlight off the violence that plagues American citizens who live near Mexico. Doing so will help Democrats keep the border open for illegal aliens to, someday, join the ranks of Democrat voters.
What Obama Said
Obama's remarks in El Paso were shown to be flatly ludicrous in light of what the three Texas law enforcement authorities offered in their testimony. The President declared, "we have strengthened border security beyond what many believed was possible. They wanted more agents at the border. Well, we now have more boots on the ground on the southwest border than at any time in our history." He continued thusly:
The Border Patrol has 20,000 agents — more than twice as many as there were in 2004. It’s a build-up that began under President Bush and that we’ve continued, and I had a chance to meet some of these outstanding agents, and actually saw some of them on horseback who looked pretty tough. So we put the agents here.
Then they wanted a fence.… The fence is now basically complete. ...
So, here’s the point. I want everybody to listen carefully to this. We have gone above and beyond what was requested by the very Republicans who said they supported broader reform as long as we got serious about enforcement. All the stuff they asked for, we’ve done.
Napolitano made similar claims before a leftist confabulation in Washington, D.C. not a week after an expert for the Government Accountability Office said the border is totally out of control. She asserted much the same thing in testimony before the Senate.
The Real Story
On May 11, the day after Obama spoke in El Paso, U.S. Rep. Mike McCaul (pictured above), the Republican representing the 10th district of Texas, held a hearing of his subcommittee on Homeland Security Oversight, Investigations, and Management. McCaul invited three top lawmen from border communities to testify: McAllen, Texas Police Chief Victor Rodriguez, Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzales, Jr., and Col. Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
None of them shared the administration's rosy view of the border as a peaceful place.
Chief Rodriguez described to the committee the savage brutality Mexicans face every day, noting that it has reached unprecedented levels. "Horrific acts of violence, gruesome killings, mass murder and countless atrocities typify the violence in Mexico today," he said.
Whereas we tend to believe that this lawlessness occurs only in the border region of Mexico, there appears to be no part of Mexico that has been spared by such violence. ...
Whereas we tend to believe that the reach of the drug trafficking cartels' activities, whether such be drug trafficking or drug related violence, is limited to our border communities, there is no corner of our country that has been immune from the effects of that reach.
We know that people in Mexico live in constant fear, not just for their safety, but for their lives, the lives of their children and for their personal property.
Their stories are pure HORROR. [Emphasis in original.]
Rodriguez said his department and other law enforcement agencies "seize thousands and thousands of tons of drugs."
Every ounce of those drugs was unlawfully introduced into our country. In every case, [d]rug [t]rafficking [o]rganizations trampled on our borders.
Today, multi-ton seizures are not uncommon.
There are landowners today that fear working their lands because of these constant incursions.
To this end, we have built walls, virtual fences and added thousands of boots on the ground. It is obvious that doing less on this front is not acceptable.
The violence in Mexico does affect us. There are acts of crime that reach beyond Mexico.
Sheriff Gonzalez detailed the danger to American citizens living near the border. Three examples from his testimony show how dangerous the border has become.
"In Zapata County, Texas, during one operation," he testified, "deputy sheriffs seized several rounds of .50 caliber cartridges during a traffic stop. The ammunition was seized from individuals that were working for the Zeta Cartel. On December 16, 2010, a reported gang member was arrested in Zapata County after 30 hand grenades were discovered hidden under the spare tire of the vehicle he was driving."
As well, "some of the threats law enforcement and residents along the border deal with on an almost daily basis include, but are not limited to," the following crimes:
• home invasions,
• shooting from Mexico at U.S. law enforcement officers, local, state, and federal,
• armed individuals escorting drug and human loads into the United States,
• members of Mexican [drug trafficking organizations] visiting the homes of U.S. officers to threaten them and their families,
• drug/prison/gang members working for Mexican DTO’s,
• undocumented/deported criminals re-entering the United States, including murderers and child sex molesters, and,
• auto theft (vehicles are used for smuggling of humans and drugs).
McCraw offered detailed crime data. "Over the last 18 months, six of the seven Mexican Cartels have established command and control networks in Texas cities," he testified. As well:
Within the last year the number of Texas prison gangs who work directly with the Mexican Cartels [has] increased from four to twelve. This is significant because 62% of prison gang members are incarcerated for violent crimes in Texas and as much as 60% of the criminal activity in some Texas communities is carried out by gangs.
Since January 2010, DPS has identified in Texas 22 murders, 24 assaults, 15 shootings and five kidnappings directly related to the Mexican Cartels.
The cartels, he testified, are recruiting school children and American law enforcement officials to support their operations, and they traffic in human beings as well. Even worse, "[T]he FBI in San Antonio reported that there have been 266 kidnappings since 2004, 14 reported in 2004, and 58 in 2009. Kidnappings include Americans kidnapped in Mexico, victims abducted in Texas and taken to Mexico and victims kidnapped in Texas by subjects from Mexico."
Authorities have seized about $8 billion in drugs since 2006.
All three men flatly told McCaul's committee that the border is not as secure as the President claimed. “We have incursions every day. We have people that are afraid to go out on their property,” Rodriguez testified.
“It’s not more secure than it’s ever been,” Gonzales told the committee. “It’s more violent.” Testified McCraw, "The bottom line is that it’s not secure. There’s been a proliferation of organized crime in Texas.” The data McCraw offered the committee “only prove that the border is not secure,” he said.
During his speech the previous day, Obama had ridiculed Republicans worried about border security, wondering whether, after everything his administration had done, they would ask for a moat filled with alligators.