Whether one favors blanket amnesty for undocumented workers, mass deportation of illegal aliens, or something in between, all Americans should worry about what is happening on our southern border. The situation has devolved into bedlam, and grows more lethal daily. Pacifying the frontier has nothing to do with anti-Hispanic racism and everything to do with national security.
The U.S media have snored, as if under sombreros, right through the events in El Paso on June 29. At about 4:50 p.m., city workers were performing their duties at El Paso City Hall. Suddenly, a bullet pierced a window and traversed an interior wall before it was stopped by a picture frame. Another bullet smacked an exterior wall but did not penetrate it; the bullet was recovered and proved to be from an AK-47. In total, seven bullets hit El Paso City Hall that day.
Police say these bullets most likely came from across the Rio Grande, echoing Pancho Villa’s cross-border gunfire in the same area in 1919. At the same time that El Paso City Hall came under fire, six Mexican federales were battling a gun-wielding gang outside a Smart Supermarket on Bernardo Norzagaray Boulevard in Juárez, Mexico, about half a mile away. Chihuahua State Police say they found 40 spent shells from an AK-47 and other weapons at that spot. Mexican Federal Police officer Domingo Hernández Espinoza was killed in the confrontation, and two other people were wounded, one fatally. Amid all the crossfire, bullets ignored the border (a common regional attitude) and struck the seat of El Paso’s municipal government.
“Any time somebody takes a shot at City Hall, it’s of great concern to us,” Mayor John Cook told the El Paso Times. “It’s OK if people take political shots at us, but this is unacceptable.”
“Fortunately no one was injured or killed,” Texas attorney general Greg Abbott wrote President Obama on June 30. “But that good fortune was not the result of effective border control — it was mere luck that the bullets struck buildings rather than bodies.” Abbott added: “Luck and good fortune are not effective border enforcement policies. The shocking reality of cross-border gunfire proves the cold reality: American lives are at risk.”
Jan Brewer, the Republican governor of Arizona, generated attention with a reelection campaign commercial in which she stands in front of a large sign in southern Arizona. Rather than facing south and urging potential visitors to the U.S. to enter only if they have proper documents, this sign and others posted at intervals on taxpayer-owned federal property face north and warn Americans to avoid the area because it is too hazardous.
“DANGER — PUBLIC WARNING — TRAVEL NOT RECOMMENDED,” the sign screams. After the more specific warnings that we see above, the sign goes on to state that the Bureau of Land Management “Encourages Visitors to Use Public Lands North of Interstate 8.”