Violence along the Arizona-Mexico border has increased dramatically over the past 20 years despite adding thousands of Border Patrol agents and spending millions of dollars in federal funds for security, witnesses are telling a U.S. Senate panel today, reports the Arizona Republic. The hearing, headed by Sens. Jon Kyl (R-Az.) and John Cornyn, (R-Tx.) comes as the Senate prepares to begin debate tomorrow on sweeping border security and immigration legislation. The two Republicans are co-sponsors of a proposal to increase personnel and technology along the border to curtail illegal immigration and other crimes.
The members of large cartels that smuggle drugs and people are more likely than in the past to shoot at Border Patrol agents, abuse migrants and commit crimes to ensure delivery of their cargo, witnesses will tell the subcommittees. Officials say the violence is increasing because crackdowns on smuggling have made it harder to get people or drugs into the U.S. Critics say the government has only pushed smugglers to new routes. The Border Patrol has added 8,000 agents in 20 years, but about 500,000 undocumented immigrants still make it into in the U.S. every year.