Officials from Arizona told U.S. senators this week that drug and immigrant smuggling violence along the U.S.-Mexico border has worsened over the last year, the Associated Press. Criminals headed back to Mexico commit burglaries and home invasions along remote stretches of border, illegal immigrants are robbed and assaulted in their journey into the United States. Drug and immigrant smugglers are stealing from each other and kidnapping rivals in Arizona, a busy hub for transporting illegal immigrants and marijuana into the United States.
“It is worse, and it is getting worse,” Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever said. The hearing was held by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, chaired by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Ct.). Alan Bersin, commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said the Obama administration came up with a plan more than a year ago to keep violence from spilling across the border. Those efforts include trying to stop drug smugglers from sneaking guns and cash back into Mexico and having American prosecutors work with their Mexican counterparts to make sure smugglers are punished. Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a member of the committee, advocated sending National Guard troops to the border to improve border security.