While law enforcement officers working the southern border with Mexico face hand grenades, 50 caliber machine guns and violent cartel members with no respect for authority, President Obama says the border is as secure as it has ever been.
“Despite a lot of breathless reports that have tagged places like El Paso as dangerous, violent crime in southwest border counties has dropped by a third. El Paso and other cities and towns along this border are consistently among the safest in the nation.” –President Obama May 10, 2011
The FBI Uniform Crime Report, data used by the Administration as a crime gauge, excludes documentation of kidnapping, extortion, home invasion and cartel on cartel violence. The Justice Department doesn’t have a definition of spill over violence and therefore cannot track violence occurring outside of documented crimes. Homeland Security has a similar problem.
“I don’t have exact stats on violence between cartel members,” Homeland Security Director of Counter Narcotics Enforcement Grayling Williams said during a hearing about drug cartel violence on Capitol Hill last week.
Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Oversight, Investigations and Management Subcommittee, doesn’t believe that Americans are getting a clear picture of what the rate of crime along the southern border really is, considering the types of crimes excluded under the definitions of crime in the FBI Uniform Crime Report. The Obama Administration and officials in Homeland Security can conveniently cite border cities as some of the safest in the world because the report is used to declare violence is not in the United States, just in Mexico.
“If you’re excluding all of these crimes, how can these statements be correct that there isn’t spill over violence in the United States,” Rep. McCaul asked during the hearing. “I just want an accurate assessment of the level of crime.”
Williams claimed that resources allocated to enforce the border through Homeland Security are working, but law enforcement officials on the ground aren’t seeing results while fighting ruthless cartels who use violence as a method of intimidation.
“While I am pleased we have added more resources to the border it is not secure. It has never been more violent than today,” McCaul said.
Zapata County Texas Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzales reiterated McCaul’s statement, saying he sees spill over violence everyday.
“We see almost on a daily basis spill over violence,” Gonzales said. “Politicians will disagree with me about spill over violence, but we have spill over violence.”
|Katie Pavlich is the News Editor at Townhall.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiepavlich. She is also the author of Fast and Furious: Barack Obama's Bloodiest Scandal and the Shameless Cover-Up.
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Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography