Tombstone  Tumbleweed
The following report by Border Patrol officials tells the story in the most graphic way:
U.S. Border Patrol apprehensions in the Tucson Sector increased last month. They are up 28 percent compared with January 2003, when 26,823 illegal immigrants were taken into custody, said Andy Adame, a Border Patrol spokesman.
Nearly half of January’s 34,342 illegal immigrant arrests were made by agents in the Tucson Sector, which covers 281 miles of the Arizona-Mexico border. Over half of the apprehensions were in Cochise County, where 16,579 illegal immigrants were apprehended, he said.
I am wondering if Bush’s amnesty program has resulted in this 28% increase of illegal aliens invading our country!  Nah!
Another news story reported that $1.7 Million worth of marijuana was found in a bust in a South Side (Tucson) stash house.        
Police found 3,040 pounds of pot contained in 187 bales stacked floor to ceiling.  
One of the three men arrested was expected to be released from the Pima County jail.  Another man was from Hermosillo, Sonora and the other was from Nogales, Sonora.  These two are also being held on immigration violations.  But of course, President Bush has invited people from all around the globe to come to America (illegally). Why should we arrest them? After all these poor illegal aliens were only looking for work -(selling drugs).
Lou Dobbs of CNN ran a great story about how mothers in the Hereford/Palominas area now walk their children to the school bus stop armed.
I find it a bit amusing (yet am gratified) that Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever is calling on citizens to volunteer for patrols of the bus stops. Will he get on board and go ahead with organizing citizen patrols of the border to stop the madness. He has the power and ability to raise a posse (militia) and tell President Bush to...well you know what he can do.
Sunday CHD volunteers again encountered the para-military soldiers on the border; they must be charging all the illegals an entrance fee for entering the United States illegally.  Hey, sounds like a good idea; could be a great way to make up the money lost because of all the cowardly merchants who won’t take out ads in my paper.
Expansion Office of Air and Marine
Eyes, ears’ of U.S. face  challenge
Busy agency must watch vulnerable airspace, borders
By Frank James
Washington Bureau February 1, 2004
WASHINGTON — President Bush informed the nation in his recent State of the Union address that the Homeland Security Department was “patrolling our coasts and borders” and “protecting America.”
  But the reality is that there is very little in place to stop a terrorist from flying a small plane or piloting a boat past much of the nation’s 12,380 miles of coastal shoreline and 7,478 miles of shared border with Canada and Mexico.
  The federal government created a military command solely to protect the U.S. in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. And the Coast Guard and Border Patrol, both part of the Homeland Security Department, have stepped up their vigilance.
  But much of the responsibility for monitoring the nation’s borders and airspace falls to another, smaller Homeland Security agency, the Office of Air and Marine Operations, which on its Web site calls itself the nation’s “eyes and ears.”
  According to a report issued late last year by the House and Senate appropriations committees, which oversee homeland security funding, the lack of appropriate technology in the operation has led to “significant surveillance gaps affecting the northern border and the western U.S.”
  In fact, the agency was greatly challenged in its pre-Sept. 11 role, mainly stopping drug runners. Now its job has been expanded to include homeland security.
  Not only has Air and Marine Operations been assigned to watch the borders, it also is responsible for monitoring the airspace over the nation’s capital and any major events the administration designates for added security, including Sunday’s Super Bowl in Houston.
Blind Spots
    Lawmakers on the appropriations committees were briefed last year about a shortage of powerful computer servers needed at the unit’s operations center in Riverside, California, as well as an aging surveillance aircraft fleet that has led to vast stretches of the northern border in particular being virtually unpatrolled blind spots.
   That has raised concerns among lawmakers that while the nation has begun closing some doors to terrorists through tougher screening at official border crossings and airports, others still are wide open.
   “Many experts believe that air and marine interdiction operations should be a high priority for improving the security of that border,” Reps. David Obey (D-Wis.) and Martin Olav Sabo (D-Minn.) said in a joint statement last fall.
  The congressmen, members of the House Appropriations Committee, argued last year for $200 million more than was approved by Congress for such border monitoring.
   Obey and Sabo pointed to a disturbing discovery last year during a short time window just before and during the invasion of Iraq, when the Homeland Security Department increased patrols of the northern border.
  “During Operation Liberty Shield, when the northern border was patrolled by air for 30 days, 10 aircraft came across the border without clearance,” they said. “Any one of these could have been carrying weapons of mass destruction.”
  Concerned about such vulnerabilities, lawmakers sought the Homeland Security Department’s plans to modernize the air and marine operation and blend it with the Coast Guard and Border Patrol. In September they directed the department to deliver those plans to Congress by Nov. 14. Asked if the department had done so, a congressional staff member who asked not to be identified said last week, “Not yet.”
  Another congressional staff member who also did not want to be named suggested that Congress had some sympathy for the new department because there were so many holes to close in the border security.
  “It’s possible to cross the border because coverage is so spotty, [but] all 19 of the [Sept. 11] hijackers came through ports of entry,” the staff member said, which explains why Homeland Security has made aviation security and immigration controls a priority.
Much to Do
  The department is “trying to do everything at once,” the staffer said.
Marc Raimondi, a Homeland Security Department spokesman, said officials who could address why the response that Congress requested was late and other questions were not available.
   But Raimondi said the Air and Marine Operations can do things the military cannot because of laws that generally bar the armed forces from civilian law-enforcement activities.
   “We can run the tail numbers and the names of the pilots,” he said. “We just have a wealth of information at our disposal being a law-enforcement agency that the military does not.”
Thursday, February 5, 2004
Border 006.wmf
Border 006.wmf
Border Patrol busts illegals in front of school bus loaded with