The 11,000 men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol are overwhelmed, reports USA Today. Despite an influx of technology like underground sensors and cameras that pan the desert, agents catch only about one-third of the estimated 3 million people who enter the U.S. illegally every year. Most illegals are poor Mexican laborers looking for work. A growing number hail from Central and South America, Asia, even Mideast countries such as Syria and Iran. In 2003, the Border Patrol arrested 39,215 “other-than-Mexicans” along the Southwest border. In 2004, the number jumped to 65,814.
James Loy, deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, says that, “Several al Qaeda leaders believe operatives can pay their way into the country through Mexico and also believe illegal entry is more advantageous than legal entry for operational security reasons.” T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, cites “reliable intelligence that there are terrorists living in South America, assimilating the culture and learning the language” to blend in with Mexicans crossing the border. President Bush’s proposed 2006 budget calls for more high-tech gear, including $125 million for more radiation detectors and $51 million to improve sensors and video equipment.