Jerry Seper, Washington Times, Feb. 13, 2006
The U.S. government has sent more than $376 million to Mexico in the past decade for that country’s military and police to help stop alien and drug smugglers, guard against terrorists and protect America’s southern border, including $50 million due this year.
The money, quietly authorized through State and Defense department programs, has been used to train and equip the Mexican military and police, drawing disagreement on whether those institutions are part of the solution for U.S. border security, or are part of the problem.
Rep. Rick Renzi, Arizona Republican and a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said the program has had “great success” and helped put narcoterrorists and smugglers “on the defense.”
“While Mexico does have too much corruption, there are elements within the Mexican government on the front lines of the war against terrorists and smugglers willing to fight and die to bring back honor and integrity,” he said. “The United States and Mexico must stay engaged, so we both can be successful in this battle.”
But T.J. Bonner, a veteran U.S. Border Patrol agent who heads the 10,000-member National Border Patrol Council, described the program as “appalling,” saying it amounted to the U.S. government funding attacks on U.S. law-enforcement personnel along the border by rogue Mexican military troops.
“This funding program should cease immediately, and the Mexican government needs to be placed on notice that any further incursions by its military or police will not be tolerated,” he said, referring to recent incidents on the border in which men in Mexican military uniforms confronted U.S. law-enforcement officers in this country.
“If they have this kind of money to give away, there are better ways to spend it,” Mr. Bonner said. “Mexico cannot control its own military, and it makes no sense to give them better weapons and equipment they can use to attack and threaten our own law-enforcement officers,” he said.
(Posted on February 13, 2006)