"Flow of migrants puts border's agents on alert"
MCALLEN [Texas] - A late-night tip led U.S. Border Patrol agents to five rooms at the Matador Motor Inn, where human smugglers had abandoned 22 men from China.
Although the Chinese nationals were economic migrants, their discovery Aug. 16 in downtown McAllen left many with an uneasy feeling. If a large group of men seeking work could be moved across the Rio Grande undetected, why not a squad of terrorists?
...Gloria Chavez, a representative at Border Patrol headquarters in Washington said the agency has responded to reports that terrorists will infiltrate the Southwest border, reportedly part of an effort to disrupt the national elections in November with other terror attacks.
''We have been preparing for the possibility and are taking appropriate action to better secure our border against the terrorists, such as increased personnel, technology, infrastructure and equipment," Chavez said...
But critics contend little has changed on the border since the 2001 terror attacks.
T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, the union that represents 6,500 agents, said the government needs to bring additional personnel, equipment and training on line to secure the vast border region. The union official claimed no agents have been hired since March, and next year's budget cuts $19 million from the agency and moves $75 million from operations to technology.
''It's only a matter of time before we are attacked again because, incredibly, nothing has changed. We are doing business on the border as usual," said Bonner, a Border Patrol agent who is stationed near San Diego, Calif.
Agency officials denied the budget was reduced, and said 50 agents are in training at the agency's academy...
...[Democratic U.S. Rep. Solomon Ortiz], who fears terrorists can mingle with economic migrants, has demanded the government halt [releases of Other-Than-Mexicans] but he acknowledged it will add ''billions " to the detention budget. He said the [illegal alien detention] camp contained undocumented migrants from Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan, India, Panama and Sri Lanka.