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Mexican troops defiant: 'Border? What border?'
Military 'crosses into America 216 times during past 9 years'
The Mexican military has little regard for the border as troops have entered the United States 216 times over nine years, according to a Department of Homeland Security document and a map of incursions.
California's Inland Valley Daily Bulletin says U.S. officials claim the border-crossings are designed to help foreign drug and human smugglers gain safe access into American territory.
While the White House refused comment, a spokeswoman for the DHS said her department is in ongoing discussions with the Mexican government about the incursions.
"We – the Department of Homeland Security and the CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) – are determined to gain control of the border and will continue to collaborate with our partners on the border,'' Kristi Clemens told the paper.
The document indicates since 1996, Mexican military personnel made their way into the U.S. at the following Border Patrol sectors:
San Diego County, 17 times
El Centro, 58
Yuma, Ariz., 24
Tucson, Ariz., 39
El Paso, Texas, 33
Marfa, Texas, 8
Del Rio, Texas, 3
Laredo, Texas, 6
Rio Grande Valley, Texas, 28.
"That number [of 216] is 20 times larger than even the Minuteman project organizers are aware of,'' said Jim Gilchrist, co-founder of the Minuteman Project, a civilian group concerned with border security. "But I'm not surprised at that number. There are significant drug and human cargo cartels involving Mexican military threatening Americans at the border. But our Congress has turned a blind eye to it because what the American people don't know won't bother them – that's how our representatives think.''
One border agent speaking on condition of anonymity told the Bulletin: "We've had armed showdowns with the Mexican army. ... These aren't just ex-military guys. These are Mexican army officials assisting drug smugglers.''
Officials with Mexico's government dispute the findings, claiming not a single crossing has been made by its troops.
"I strongly deny any incursion by the Mexican military on United States soil,'' said Rafael Laveaga, spokesman for the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C. "When it comes to Mexican military on the southern side, I have no reports of them crossing into the United States. That would mean that the patrol got lost or lack of expertise and orientation. This could be smugglers with fake uniforms as a tactic to confuse the authorities.''
U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., said the high numbers of incursions show suggestions for increasing Border Patrol resources or building a border fence won't be enough to secure the boundary between the U.S. and Mexico.
"It is a military problem,'' said Tancredo. "We should commit the military to the border – tomorrow. I mean, with armor and weapons.''
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