Illegals Set Fire to Border
Coronado National Forest employees could call it a war zone. Some illegal aliens, particularly human and drug traffickers, are resorting to extreme measures to cross the border between Mexico and the remote southern Arizona forest.
Border Patrol agents in the region face the highest rate of illegal border crossings in the nation—nearly half a million illegals crossed here in 2006. Agents also confiscated 100,000 pounds of marijuana that was being smuggled through the forest last year.
The Washington Times reported that in May, the Border Patrol caught over 300 aliens and 600 pounds of marijuana in a 3-mile stretch over 10 days (June 19). In response to the agency’s activities within the operation, illegals set at least five fires in an attempt to burn agents out of an observation post. These fires were not the only ones that have been set by Mexican smugglers. Forest Service firefighters have seen armed smugglers walk right through their ranks as they were trying to battle fires. Now, law enforcement officers must accompany firefighters when they are sent to put out the flames.
The fires correspond with a 100 percent rise in attacks on Border Patrol agents. Illegals have targeted agents with Molotov cocktails and grapefruit-sized rocks wrapped in gasoline-soaked rags and set on fire. Agents have been shot at, and some patrol vehicles have been rammed.
Besides threatening the lives of border agents, firefighters, law enforcement officers, and the users of the forest system—and spoiling acres of wilderness—the increasingly violent and still-unchecked problem of illegal immigration has far-reaching ramifications. For more, read our December 2005 feature, “The Trouble With Immigration.”