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Security Demands Lions as Leaders on US-Mexico Border
email this pageprint this pageemail usJerry Brewer -
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November 01, 2010

The geographically complex border between the U.S. and Mexico continues to befuddle lawmakers as to a sensible set of priorities. Securing communities along the border should be of paramount concern. Although immigration enforcement is a valid topic that requires constant attention, enforcement operational plans and operational strategies must understand that a border cannot be sealed.

Police leaders within the border communities are the first to cry out for a unified and team effort among federal, state, tribal, and local law enforcement authorities. They need and want a common agenda.
The border is not safe as many government officials tend to rationalize. Touting the “record levels” of border enforcement in arrests/apprehensions of illegals, as well as the numbers of Border Patrol and ICE agents assigned to border areas, fails to intricately define the real battlefield.

Politicians often appear to be more concerned in defining the problem and the enemy than engaging him or her strategically. Unconventional enemies of the state that do not hesitate to confront police and other government officials demand a 21st century enforcement model of laws, containment, and fluid interdiction.

Let’s be clear — it should be no secret to anyone that laws to enforce national immigration have failed miserably.

Prioritizing the apprehension of criminal offender aliens and career criminals is a more acute focus on problem-oriented policing concepts and utilizing resources in a more cost-efficient manner than chasing the masses through the desert. “Secure Community” initiatives by local law enforcement jurisdictions can take up the slack of rapidly identifying those illegals that pose an immediate threat to citizens. Too, they can sort out those illegals that are seeking a better life and channel them to immigration officials for the appropriate disposition.

There are those that simply can’t differentiate between imminent or viable threats and benign acts, including illegal border encroachment, thus losing the proper concept of homeland security. Enforcement efforts and priorities can therefore be clouded and unclear. The true mission of homeland security is to protect against actual and potential attacks upon national sovereignty, and to defend persons and their property.

Police leaders within the border communities are the first to cry out for a unified and team effort among federal, state, tribal, and local law enforcement authorities. They need and want a common agenda. The challenges for local law enforcement on the frontlines are enormous and overwhelming. They are intimately aware of the massive murder and carnage, in some areas, just across a fence. Those threats involving fragmentation grenades, assault weapons, and other military-style weaponry and tactics.

Border law enforcement officials have expressed much frustration in being ignored by lawmakers, and feel they “have value to add in finding solutions to problems identified” through what they have faced for quite some time, as well as their challenges and needs for the future. Their concerns have been relayed often in an attempt to get the attention of the federal government to acknowledge their wisdom gained from being on the frontlines and clearly in the line of fire.

The safety of the public in communities along the southwestern border of the United States must be a top priority of government officials, and appropriate resources must be allocated to protect lives and property.

The enormous flow of drugs, money and firearms between the United States and Mexico, in many if not most cases, is in the backyards of border area residents and authorities. And law enforcement officials especially face threats of violence from organized crime organizations, knowing full well that this is more than simply drug trafficking organizations battling drug trafficking organizations. They see the lists of innocent victims lost on both sides of the border, and they know the criminal groups have no fear of enforcement officials who they are willing to confront head-on with superior firepower.

Realists on the border and elsewhere also know that the border represents much more than a dividing line between good and evil; nor is it a boundary that can simply be remedied with walls and fences and be done with it. The border represents business travelers, foreign tourists, employers, employees, all routinely traversing both directions. The solutions rest in sound strategies inherent on coordinated efforts of enforcement officials in confronting the complexities on a daily basis along the border. Much of this includes sound intelligence sharing and much improved communication amongst the entire homeland security network.

The U.S. government must stay focused on the serious national security issue that the southwestern border represents. Those issues that should be a top priority are the enormous flow of drugs coming out of Mexico into the United States, and the reverse flow of money and firearms back into Mexico from the U.S.

Jerry Brewer is C.E.O. of Criminal Justice International Associates, a global threat mitigation firm headquartered in northern Virginia. His website is located at

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