The sounds of gunfire that ring out after dark along the Texas-Mexico border are best described by a brave patriot on the front lines, former Texas Ranger Doyle Holdridge, it gets western after dark. I have seen this scenario first hand along our southern border, where it was required that I wear a bullet proof vest and flanked by SWAT team members to walk on American soil. And he is certainly correct, it does get western. Just this past week we heard of more violence, as shots rang out from across the border at Hildalgo County Sheriff deputies and US Border Patrol in Donna, Texas, as drug dealers tried to take over a ranch on the Mexican border. Deliberate and brazen attacks on Americans such as this will only continue to get worse as long as Washington continues to ignore the severity of the problems associated with illegal entry into America.

As a member of the House Committee on International Relations and Terrorism Subcommittee, I attended field hearings in both San Diego, California, and Laredo, Texas, last week. Members from both political parties were given an opportunity to hear from local sheriffs, border patrol, community leaders and organizations in each of the respective border cities. These hearings provided vital information to the security of our country from those on the front lines. The people along our borders that are faced with the brunt force of illegal entry deserve to be heard and have their say before Members of Congress. This is not a Republican or a Democrat issue, this is a red, white and blue issue. There is no room for partisan politics in securing our borders and safeguarding the United States against those who wish to do us harm.

Unfortunately that category of those who wish to do us harm is debatable. Law enforcement along our borders believe that narco-terrorists who are smuggling drugs and humans across our border are as big a threat to our security as al-Qeaeda terrorists because they work hand-in-hand. During testimony from Zapata County Sheriff Sigi Gonzalez, members of the committee were told of intelligence gathered that suggests terrorist cells are in Mexico, learning the Spanish language and assimilating into their culture to easily pass into the United States. Sheriff Gonzales further testified that there is a greater threat of this happening on the southern border because of the similarities in appearance to those in the Middle East. His testimony was backed up by Webb County Sheriff Rick Flores by explaining that the drug cartels in Mexico control all routes into the United States for both drugs and human smuggling. He said that securing our borders and stopping the drug dealers is an absolute must in the security of our country because it is impossible to distinguish between those that are coming here with good intentions and those that are not.

On the other side of the issue, we heard statements from Members of Congress that feel it is important to only stop those that wish to do us harm from entering our country illegally while others should be allowed to cross. It was even suggested by one Congressman that drug dealers are simply business men and they are not going to harm their American customer base. Unfortunately this is not reality, not even close. Entering our country illegally is against the law, no matter how big or small an infraction you think it is, it is a crime. We are not given the luxury to pick and choose which laws we obey in our country. It is the lawlessness on the border that breeds violence, gunfire, drug trafficking, human smuggling and is ripe for terrorists to operate and easily enter our country. It will continue to get western on our border until border security becomes a national security issue. That's just the way it is.