Victims' Rights Caucus

Speeches

Blazing Guns

Jul 17 2006

Mr. Speaker, news from the second front: The border war continues. It sounds like a scene from Lonesome Dove or some other western movie. Hundreds of shots were ringing out over the Rio Grande River, piercing the night for a period of minutes. But movie villains, this was not. These are real outlaws that are shrouded in darkness and shooting at Americans, just like in the old days.

The gunfire belongs to the border, the U.S.-Mexican border. Just last week, in the moonlight, was a scene of machine gun madness. It could have been a fatal barrage of bullets.

Last Wednesday night, Border Patrol and Hidalgo County, Texas, sheriff's deputies patrolling the Rio Grande River, the international border between Mexico and the United States, stumbled upon two boys from Mexico that were running from outlaws on the Mexican side. They had just raided their ranch and kidnapped their father and killed a ranch hand, so they were fleeing these criminals.

They were swimming to the safety of the United States. They were hiding in the cornfields of Mexico for several hours while machine gun carrying killers were looking for them.

But violence did not end on the Mexican side of the river where it started. The victims swam across the river to their escape into the hands of U.S. law enforcement officers. Seconds after stumbling on the boys, law enforcement officers on the border and sheriff's deputies were engulfed in a barrage of bullets.

The bad guys on the Mexican side of the border, these thugs who were lying in wait, would wait no more, and they decided to fire on American peace officers from their side of the river. As many as 10 men with machine guns turned their guns to fire 200 to 300 rounds of ammunition at law enforcement officers on the American side of the river.

Luckily, the Americans had built a levee on the American side, just like a fortress, and they were protected from these kidnappers who would shoot their automatic weapons as if they were on the Israeli-Lebanon border. Their bullets ricocheted off this dirt wall. The deputies dove behind it, but they never returned fire to the Mexican side.

This gang-style rural warfare you hear about on battlefields is in our own American backyard. In just the last year and a half, this is the fifth time Border Patrol has been shot at.

Former Texas Ranger Doyle Holdrige put it best. He said, ``After dark on the Texas-Mexican border, it gets western.''

You won't even normally find Hidalgo County deputies in that area of the border. Their sheriff doesn't allow them to go there. He said it is too dangerous to patrol that portion of the river. Instead, the sheriff only reacts to calls for help, spending the rest of the time trying to make their presence known in neighborhoods that are in fear living on the border.

Sheriff Lupe Trevino says the Federal Government has left the gate wide open, allowing thugs, plain criminals, to do damage on the American side of the border. He says drastic cuts have washed away homeland security funding and drained funds from community policing from this border area in South Texas.

Sheriff Trevino says a lack of enforcement, lack of funding and lack of Federal support has left local authorities to stand by, while guerillas fire machine guns at them, invaders take over their neighborhoods and leave local law enforcement in harm's way while on border patrol.

Mr. Speaker, this shootout of 200 to 300 rounds barely made the news last week. We hear all about the border shootings on the Israeli-Lebanon border, but, Mr. Speaker, our government should be as concerned about the gunfire on our border as we are about blazing guns in the Middle East.

And that's just the way it is