Violence against government agents working along the U.S.-Mexican border is escalating in response to government efforts to crack down on illegal drug and human smuggling rings, Homeland Security officials say. Since 2004, the number of assaults has more than doubled, from 384 that year to 987 in fiscal 2007. And this fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, is set to significantly outpace the last one: 409 to 275, reports USA Today.
Most of the assaults involve so-called “rockings,” in which drug and human smugglers throw rocks, bricks and other objects at agents. But Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said more serious incidents have been reported. “The levels have consistently increased,” he said. The escalation is the result of stepped-up enforcement. Since the 9/11 attacks raised fears of terrorists slipping into the USA across its land borders, Homeland Security has nearly doubled the size of the Border Patrol.