Mr. Speaker, our border is being held hostage by the lawless that roam the murky river banks of the Rio Grande.

Just last week along the Texas-Mexico border, about 50 miles east of El Paso, Texas lawmen faced off with outlaws dressed as Mexican army soldiers. These criminals attempted to flee Texas State authorities. U.S. law enforcement authorities were met with camouflaged military-style Humvees with .50-caliber machine guns, forcing an armed standoff along these dangerous banks of the rugged Rio Grande. The Mexican government has claimed that these so-called soldiers were actually drug smugglers. Fortunately, whoever they were, their criminal intent was foiled because U.S. border officials, even though they were outgunned, tracked the smugglers and the outlaws until they quickly fled back into Mexico after the initial standoff. These outlaws left behind nearly a ton of marijuana after they set one of their own vehicles ablaze. Mexican officials are denying that these men were members of the Mexican army, claiming it is quite easy to buy Mexican military uniforms in local stores. But, of course, Mr. Speaker, we do not know the truth about that statement.

This incident is not the first either. In November the U.S. border patrol chased criminals in a dump truck full of marijuana in the same area until it got stuck in the Rio Grande River on its way back to Mexico. As Border Patrol agents sought to unload the three tons of marijuana from the truck, the driver, who had initially fled, returned with an army of heavily armed men wearing, yes, that is correct, Mexican military uniforms carrying military-style weapons. The army of thugs backed the agents away and then bulldozed their own truck back into Mexico, this safe haven for drug dealers.

And the war for the border is not just taking place above ground. This month in California officials have stumbled upon four underground tunnels that lead from Mexico into the United States. Just last Thursday authorities spent the day removing an estimated two tons of marijuana from a tunnel that began inside a warehouse in Tijuana, Mexico near their airport and ended up in a vacant industrial building on the American side. The 2,400-foot tunnel was about 5 feet wide and high enough for an adult to stand. The floor was cement and there was electricity and ventilation. Customs officials have described the tunnel as longer and much more massive than the other smuggling tunnels discovered since September 11, 2001.

Mr. Speaker, this is an issue of national security. If these drug cartels are so boldly bringing drugs across our borders through these tunnels, what is to prevent them from using these same tunnels to smuggle terrorists and humans as well? We cannot ignore this issue.

In early January, Customs and Border Protection border patrol agents of Brewster County, Texas seized over $2 million worth of cocaine from three Mexican nationals carrying the drugs in backpacks into the United States. These narcoterrorists make money because of the lack of border security in the United States. And, Mr. Speaker, these drug dealers are serious. Federal officials have recently warned U.S. border patrol agents that they could be the targets of assassins hired by immigrant smugglers. According to a memo from Homeland Security, ``Unidentified Mexican alien smugglers are angry about the border security along the U.S.-Mexico border and have agreed that the best way to deal with U.S. border patrol agents is to hire a group of contract killers.'' Well, it is time for us to get angry as well and come up with the best way to deal with them.

We are fighting a serious insurgency along our borders, and we must stop this lawless out-of-control invasion. Our border is critically and visibly vulnerable. What is it going to take for us to figure this out? It is chilling to think what may be next. Will it be a shootout on the Rio Grande River?

We must win this battle for our borders. We must win the battle for American sovereignty. We must win the battle against the lawlessness that has invaded our country before Americans pay for this lawless behavior of others. That is just the way it is.