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Posted: 2/1/2006 6:44:48 AM EDT
Border law enforcement officials and others were notified this week to appear before a U.S. House committee on Tuesday to give testimony regarding Mexican military incursions into the United States.

Homeland Security will be heading to El Paso, Texas, on Friday as part of a fact-finding mission to collect additional information.

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Investigations, is leading the group and will be in discussions throughout the day with local law enforcement officials in the area.

"We are going down there to find out what happened," McCaul said Tuesday. "The reports I have received are very disturbing, and we cannot allow and cannot tolerate armed Mexican drug dealers to cross our borders and endanger the lives of our law enforcement officers and citizens.

"Between this fact-finding mission and the hearing I am conducting next week, we can begin to understand what happened and address this dangerous crime."

Hudspeth County Sheriff Arvin West, whose law enforcement officers had an armed standoff with men dressed in Mexican military uniforms last week, said he is pleased congressional leaders are finally calling for an investigation.

West said he has been told to appear before the investigations subcommittee meeting Tuesday.
"There is no doubt in our minds that we confronted Mexican military personnel on the border," West said. "I'm not gratified that we had to back (the Congress) into a corner and carry video equipment instead of our guns to the operation."

West, who was at the scene of the Jan. 23 standoff 50 miles east of El Paso, said deputies were in pursuit of three sport utility vehicles scrambling to get back over the Rio Grande into Mexico. West said deputies were in a chase with speeds reaching 110 miles per hour.

Men who had Mexican military uniforms, vehicles and weapons were assisting those in civilian clothes, West added.

"This isn't the first time we've encountered the military," he said.

T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, which represents nearly 6,500 border agents, said he also received a notice to testify in Washington.

"There's been some frustration on our part for years now just to get someone to listen," Bonner said. "We certainly welcome the hearings and hope the hearings bring to light the very illegal activities going on at our international border. Sadly there seems to be a sense that (Mexico) is not willing to take on the same responsibility."

On Friday, members of the committee sent letters to top U.S. and Mexican officials requesting information regarding such incursions. Mexican soldiers have crossed into the United States more than 200 times in the past decade, according to Department of Homeland Security documents obtained by the Daily Bulletin.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, could not be reached for comment, but released a statement saying he also had requested that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff conduct an investigation.A letter also went to Mexican ambassador to the United States, Carlos de Icaza, seeking answers about the reported incursions.

"This is yet another example of the clear security problems we face along our southwest border," King said.

Committee member Mike Rogers, R-Ala., also commented in the statement. "Reports of incursions and armed confrontations by Mexican military personnel make a mockery of our border security efforts," he said. "We need to know why this is happening and we need to know now."

Mexican officials did not comment Monday on the recent call for hearings, but held firm to their original statement that Mexican soldiers are not involved in the incursions. Rather, Mexican officials suggest that drug smugglers or U.S. soldiers working for drug smugglers are to blame.

Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez, chairman of the Texas Sheriff's Border Coalition, said that sheriffs from all 16 counties that the organization represents were called to testify before the committee.

El Paso County Sheriff Leo Samaniego said he has been in talks with congressional representatives and Mexican diplomats about the ongoing situation at the border and is very concerned about the lives of his deputies.

"Most of the people who live on the border, who see what is going on, they think it's the Mexican Army," Samaniego said. "Every time they see Mexican military personnel, a load of drugs is pushed through in those vehicles."

Residents along the Texas border are afraid, Samaniego said.
"Many times the cartels have threatened residents living on the border, forcing them to keep their gates open at night and confronting them in the yards," he said.

"There needs to be a congressional hearing. Our borders our wide open, and it is a national security concern."
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 6:32:56 PM EDT
Soooo...........the citizenry in mexico has acess to .50s mounted on humvees?
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 6:34:29 PM EDT
Racists
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 6:40:58 PM EDT
"There needs to be a congressional hearing. Our borders our wide open, and it is a national security concern."


The time for friggin' hearings is over numbskulls! Since when do we need hearings to determine that a foreign force (be it a government or not) is invading our sovereignty? Criminee!

Put up the damnable wall from the Pacific Ocean to the damn Gulf and be done with it.

Link Posted: 2/1/2006 6:57:06 PM EDT
I don't know.......Why don't we shoot a few of them and find out who they are when we identify the bodies?

Drug runners, military, lets find out.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 7:02:29 PM EDT
Definitely need to capture some of them
Definitely need OUR Military there to do it
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