Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Today, President Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin and Mexican President Vicente Fox will meet in Crawford, Texas, for a summit that is not expected to deal with immigration. That is disappointing, especially since Mr. Fox in recent days downplayed the possibility that al Qaeda terrorists could cross into the United States from Mexico, ridiculed the San Diego border fence to curb illegal crossings and vowed to stamp out Arizona’s Project Minuteman. Most troublesome was Mr. Fox’s dismissal of worries about al Qaeda crossing the border.

“We don’t have any evidence or any indication either that terrorists from al Qaeda or any other part of the world are coming into Mexico [and] going into the United States,” he told reporters in Mexico City. “If there is any of that evidence, we will like to have it.”

Well, here it is. As Jerry Seper reported in September in The Washington Times, a top al Qaeda leader met with a violent Salvadoran gang with branches in Mexico and the United States to discuss plans to cross the U.S.-Mexico border. The leader, Adnan G. El Shukrijumah, was spotted in Honduras with figures from the Mara Salvatrucha gang, a notorious trafficker of humans, weapons and drugs into the United States. Al Qaeda is known to be watching the U.S.-Mexico frontier. U.S. authorities have repeatedly stated worries that al Qaeda could exploit the porous border.

As for the fence in San Diego, the House voted last month to complete a fence along the last 3.5 miles of the border between Mexico and United States. Mr. Fox offered this about the fence: “No country that is proud of itself should build walls … We are convinced that walls don’t work.” The fence should be razed, he said.

The Mexican president also had choice scolding about Project Minuteman, the civilian border-surveillance group that expects to begin operations in April in Arizona. The Minutemen have vowed to avoid confrontation, as they should, and notify the Border Patrol when they see illegal immigrants crossing the border. This annoys Mr. Fox, who said: “We will use the law, international law and even U.S. law to make sure that these types of groups … will not have any opportunity to progress.”

Republican Sen. Jon Kyl, whose state, Arizona, ranks fifth in attracting illegal immigrants, called Mr. Fox’s remarks “downright insulting.” We agree. Mr. Kyl suggested that Mr. Fox “demonstrate perhaps a little less disdain for the rule of law north of the border.” Well said, Senator.

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