Thursday, February 09, 2006
US lawmaker sees border 'war' with renegade Mexican troops
WASHINGTON (AFP) -
A Colorado lawmaker said there was a "war" under way along the US-Mexico border and urged President George W. Bush to deploy troops there, alleging drug trafficking by the Mexican military.
Republican Representative Tom Tancredo said the United States was facing "a war" with renegade Mexican troops over the long, porous border.
"We have a war. We are facing a military on the other side of the border," Tancredo told demonstrators protesting illegal immigration outside the US Congress.
"In other places, in other times, that would be an active war," he added, reiterating an accusation that Mexican troops had covered up a drug trafficking operation two weeks ago near the Texas border city of El Paso.
The Mexican government and the US Border Patrol have denied that Mexican troops participated in the January 23 incident.
But Tancredo insisted that Mexican troops were a part of it and repeated his call for Bush to send troops into the border area. "I want my government to protect our borders," he said.
"The Mexican military is facilitating the drug trafficking. They are part of the drug cartels," Tancredo said.
"They (officials) do not want to say the obvious -- that the Mexican government does not even have control of its own military," he said, drawing applause from some 50 demonstrators.
The demonstration was organized to protest a Bush proposal to create a program which offers temporary worker status for foreign workers in order to combat illegal immigration. The Senate is expected to debate the plan soon.
One of the speakers at the demonstration, Jim Gilchrist, the founder of a civilian volunteer group that patrols the border for illegal immigrants, warned senators they would be ousted if they back the guest worker proposal.
"Dear Senate of the United States of America, I'm putting you on notice that ... if we cannot change you with our rhetoric and we cannot move you with our rhetoric, ... we will remove you out from office with our vote," Gilchrist told the demonstrators.
Tancredo sharply criticized the Bush proposal.
"He keeps saying the only way that we'll get any border security is when we get a guest worker program. Those two things have nothing to do with each other.
"You cannot have a guest worker program at any time as long as you have porous borders," he added.
A counter-demonstration of a dozen protesters held up signs reading in Spanish "no one is illegal", and "change your name, you're still the KKK (Ku Klux Klan)", referring to the American white racist group.