The Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center, in its 2010 drug threat assessment report, called the cartels “the single greatest drug trafficking threat to the United States.” It said Mexican gangs had established operations in every area of the United States and were expanding into rural and suburban areas. It said assaults against U.S. law enforcement officers along the southwestern border were on the increase - up 46 percent against Border Patrol agents alone.
At the same time, the Justice Department brought a lawsuit to stop a new immigration enforcement law in Arizona, saying it violated the Constitution by trying to supersede federal law and by impairing illegal immigrants’ right to travel and conduct interstate commerce.
Mr. Cutler said it was “outrageous” for the BLM to direct travelers to dial 911 to report suspicious activities since the calls do not go to the federal government but to state and local police. He said the signs are telling Americans to call state and local law enforcement authorities to deal with border lawlessness while at the same time telling Arizona that only the federal government can write and enforce immigration laws.
“You can’t make this stuff up,” he said.
Mr. Godfrey said that just because the signs direct travelers who witness illegal activity to call 911, “that does not mean that only a local agency will respond.”
“The idea is that people will get help as quickly as they can,” he said.
Sheriff Babeu has dealt firsthand with the rising violence in his county since his 2008 election. One of his deputies, Louie Puroll, was shot and critically wounded in April after he spotted five men he suspected of transporting drugs along a remote span of desert near Interstate 8 and Arizona 84.
He said his experience makes him see the issue differently from the administration in Washington.
“The president is only looking at this from a political perspective,” he said. “Everything is not fine. Everything is not OK.”
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