I was contacted by Fox News Latino for my perspectives on the wounding of a woman this past Tuesday, February 21st who was pushing a stroller in downtown El Paso, Texas when she was struck by a bullet that had apparently been fired in Mexico during a gunfight. My Op-Ed concerning that incident is attached below.
That report began with the following excerpt:
El Paso, Texas – Cross-border violence has taken on a whole new meaning.
On Tuesday, a woman who was shopping in El Paso, Texas became the
first person to be struck by bullets that flew across the border from
Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
The woman, who is 48 and was pushing a stroller on a busy downtown EL
Paso street when the bullets flew over, was hit in the calf and
wounded, authorities said.
Her name has not been released.
Gregg Allen, El Paso’s chief of police, said the wound was caused by a
“full metal jacket hard-nosed bullet” like those used in assault
rifles. She was struck at the same time Juarez police were battling
alleged carjackers a few hundred feet from the U.S. border. Allen said
reports indicate up to 50 shots were fired in that gunfight.
The victim was taken to a nearby hospital, where she was treated and released.
Michael W. Cutler: Border Spillover Violence is a National Reality
Published February 23, 2012
Fox News Latino
Headlines were made Tuesday, February 21st when a 48 year old
woman pushing her baby’s stroller in downtown El Paso, Texas was struck
in the leg by a bullet that was apparently fired in Ciudad Juárez,
arguably one of the most violent cities in the Western Hemisphere. Some
described this random occurrence as the first time violence has flowed
across our border.
But this is not the first time a bullet has flown across the border
into El Paso. On June 30, 2010 the El Paso Times published a news report
that was entitled, “Shots apparently fired from Juárez pelt City Hall, enter office.”
The issue of violence spilling across our nation’s borders is far greater than either of these two isolated incidents, however.
In recent years Phoenix, Arizona has witnessed a surge in the number
of kidnappings and home invasions, primarily within the immigrant
community that have been, for the most part, linked to the Mexican drug
trade and to human smuggling. Such crimes prompted state officials to
promulgate their own immigration laws, including SB 1070, that resulted
in a lawsuit being filed by the United States Department of Justice in
an effort to prevent law enforcement officials in Arizona from enforcing
immigration laws that the federal government has failed to enforce on
the national level.
For years a myth has been propagated that America only has four border states: California, New Mexico,
Arizona and Texas. In fact, during one of the early GOP Presidential
debate of the current campaign, former Utah Governor and then candidate Jon Huntsman
answered a question about immigration by beginning his response by
saying, that as President, he would meet with the governors of the four
What is almost always ignored is that the U.S. shares its northern border with Canada
that is nearly twice as long as is our southern border. Additionally,
our nation has an estimated 95,000 miles of coastal region with numerous
bustling seaports and numerous international airports through which
millions of people, including foreign nationals (aliens) enter our
country each year, along with a wide variety of cargo from virtually
every country on this planet.
Any state that has a seaport or an international airport must be considered a border state.
It is estimated that there are more than 5 million people currently
present illegally in the United States who did not run our nation’s
borders but were admitted into the United States through ports of entry,
including international airports, and who have overstayed their
authorized period of admission or otherwise violated the terms of their
admission into our country. In point of fact, the terrorists who so
savagely attacked our nation on September 11, 2001 entered the United
States through international airports.
Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano,
who often repeats the mantra that our borders are secure, was quoted on
Tuesday, February 21st as saying that the United States does not suffer
from “spillover violence” from Mexico. Yet on previous occasions, she
has stated that members of the extremely violent Mexican drug cartels
are present in cities across this vast nation, while additional
transnational gangs from the four corners of our planet have also
established a significant presence.
Many crimes in the United States is directly or indirectly linked to
drug trafficking and drug use. Most of the illicit drugs are smuggled
into the U.S. Narcotics certainly flow into our country across the
Mexican border- but tons of narcotics also enter our nation each and
every day on board ships and in the cargo holds of airliners, bringing
with it the destruction of the lives of those addicted to those poisons
and the destruction of the lives of those who fall victim to the crimes
associated with the trafficking and use of those drugs.
I would love to know Ms. Napolitano’s definition of the term “Secure!”
In the late 1980’s to early 1990’s, when I was assigned to the
Unified Intelligence Division of the New York Field Office of the DEA in
NYC, I conducted an analysis of the individuals who were being arrested
by the DEA and the DEA Task Force in NYC and found that some 60% of the
defendants who were arrested for drug-related crimes were identified as
“foreign born.” For decades, our nation has been suffering from a
flood of foreign criminals and narcotics that inundate our nation every
day. The proceeds from the drug trade enrich the coffers of drug
trafficking organizations and terrorist organizations to the tune of
tens of billions of dollars each and every year.
It is extremely fortunate that the woman who was struck by that
bullet on Tuesday did not suffer a serious injury- but she was hardly
the first person in the United States to suffer from violence in Mexico
and tragically, she won’t be the last.
Michael W. Cutler, Senior Special Agent, INS (Ret.) Mr. Cutler’s
career spanned some 30 years. He provided testimony to the 9/11
Commission and has testified before some 15 Congressional hearings as
well as numerous state legislative hearings on the nexus between
immigration and national security and other critical challenges
confronting our nation.
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