Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano touted her supposed accomplishments in border security on Thursday. Her photo-op on the Mexican border was overshadowed by the one-year anniversary of the violent murder of an Arizona rancher.
Straddling the Bridge of the Americas over the Rio Grande separating El Paso, Texas, from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Ms. Napolitano announced, “There is a perception that the border is worse now than it ever has been. That is wrong. The border is better now than it ever has been.” The clueless cabinet secretary should tell that to the family of rancher Robert Krentz, who was shot to death on his own property near the border by someone authorities believe to be a smuggler.
The Krentz murder put a face on the growing problem of crime perpetrated by illegal immigrants and compelled Arizonans to say enough is enough. Within three weeks of the crime, the Grand Canyon State legislature passed a tough illegal immigration law. “Rob Krentz was killed by a bad person with a bad agenda, and our porous borders continue to contribute to the potential for another event,” Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever told the Arizona Daily Star.
Ms. Napolitano claims Mexican drug violence isn’t overwhelming border security. Still, she’s promised to deploy 250 additional agents, with another 300 to follow if the agency’s fiscal 2012 budget is approved. That’s not enough. There were 229 execution killings in Ciudad Juarez in February alone, making the city more dangerous than Afghanistan. With the December murder of agent Brian Terry still fresh, the Border Patrol union was quick to dispute the secretary’s whitewash. “U.S. citizens are being kidnapped and killed while our Border Patrol agents fight a war at home that no one will allow them to win,” the National Border Patrol Council stated Friday.
Homeland Security’s plans for a few more agents hardly offset a proposed June pullback of the 1,200 National Guardsmen deployed after the Krentz murder. “When the secretary of Homeland Security withdraws the National Guard from the border after they’ve been doing such a good job, we don’t know if they are really serious about securing our border,” Republican Sen. John McCain warned at a Tucson press conference.
Mr. McCain and fellow Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl are proposing 3,000 National Guard troops for patrolling our southern border. Instead of phony posturing, the Obama administration should get behind this stronger security plan before more Americans are killed by illegal border crossers.