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July 15, 2006
Why The Sheriff Won't Patrol The Border

Sheriff's deputies in Hidalgo County, Texas, will not patrol the border, and for apparently good reason -- they're outgunned. Responding to a 911 call about a raid and a kidnapping, the deputies soon found themselves pinned down at the Rio Grande by automatic weapons fire:

Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino said 200 to 300 shots were fired from automatic weapons Wednesday night, but no one was injured on the U.S. side, and police didn't fire back.

"This type of incident is a very good example of why I will not allow my deputies to patrol the river banks or the levees anywhere close to the river," he said. "We do have drug trafficking gangs, human trafficking gangs, that will not hesitate to fire at us."

Trevino said the shooting appeared to have started in Tamaulipas, at a riverside ranch owned by a family from Donna. He said two brothers said they were with their father at the ranch when vehicles full of armed men drove into the ranch and opened fire on the house, killing a ranch hand and taking their father hostage. ...

The brothers said they hid for several hours in their cornfield before swimming across the river, which, at that point, is only 30 to 40 yards wide. They called their mother from a cell phone, and she called 911.

The mother said someone might have been killed, and police and Border Patrol initially went to the river bank to search for a body. Once they were there, the gunfire began.

The Austin American-Statesman did not report on the fate of the kidnapped rancher, nor did they speculate on motive. Kidnappings for ransom has become a growth industry in Mexico, however, and the raid may have intended on capturing a hostage with some value.

Of course, had we built a proper wall on the border and staffed it with enough agents to secure it, these raids would not occur. The Congress has the responsibility to allocate funds to secure our borders properly, which is one of the few tasks the Constitution explicitly gives the federal government. Every day that our borders go without adequate protection reflects on the vacillation of Capitol Hill and the abdication of their primary task of keeping the nation safe. (h/t: CQ reader Gregg G)

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 15, 2006 9:45 AM

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