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Madam Speaker, I bring you news from the third front, and that's the war for this nation's national security on our southern border with Mexico.
We are engaged in three conflicts, three wars: the one in Afghanistan, the one in Iraq, and the border war on our southern border.
The $40 billion a year illicit drug trade in Mexico has resulted in a vicious wave of violence in northern Mexico. Over 18,000 Mexican nationals have been killed in recent years by the criminal drug cartels, most of those, innocent civilians; but also many of them are the competition among the drug cartels. And they're fighting for control of the routes that lead into the United States where those drug cartels can sell their wares.
Just a few days ago there was a bombing at the United States Embassy in Nuevo Laredo, just on the border. Recently, a pregnant U.S. Embassy employee and her husband were murdered in Juarez, Mexico, right in front of their young daughter and other witnesses.
And in 2008 there were 1,500 murders in Juarez, Mexico alone; and this year, over 500 people have been killed. To put it in perspective, in 2008 there were only 300 murders in all of Houston, a city that dwarfs the size of Juarez, Mexico. And the violence is escalating.
Good people are abandoning the border cities in Mexico and fleeing further into the interior, and some are fleeing to the United States to stay with relatives, all because of the violence on the U.S.-Mexico border.
And people in this country who say that the violence on the border won't come into the United States live in blissful ignorance of reality. It's already here.
In the El Paso sector of the Border Patrol in Texas, our agents are being targeted by the Azteca hitmen for the Juarez drug cartel. The Azteca gang is a group of individuals who work for the drug cartel, the Juarez drug cartel, and their primary mission is to enforce the ability to bring drugs into the United States. And now we understand our Border Patrol agents in the El Paso sector are being targeted to be shot and kidnapped and murdered by these hitmen. They're after our Border Patrol agents.
And recently, as recently as today, we've learned that there is a $250,000 bounty on our Border Patrol agents for their murder and for their kidnapping. The drug cartels are putting out these hits on our Border Patrol agents because they are enforcing the rule of law and keeping the drug cartels out of this country to the best of their ability.
This is serious. This is violence. And it's being perpetrated by the drug cartels against Americans, both in Mexico, Mexicans in Mexico, and Americans in the United States.
Unfortunately, too many people in Washington, D.C. are closing their eyes to reality. They don't see that the violence has already spread into the United States.
Madam Speaker, there are 14 counties in Texas that border Mexico. And recently I called each of those 14 sheriffs and asked them this question: How many people in your county jail are foreign nationals charged with crimes in the United States, other than immigration violations? How many are charged with felonies, misdemeanors, crimes of violence? And they told me that 37 percent of the people in the border county jails in Texas are foreign nationals charged with crimes, not immigration violations. So we see that the crime in Mexico on the border is coming into the United States and affecting our border counties.
And these counties are not rich, wealthy counties. They don't have the money to try, prosecute and house these individuals.
We shouldn't wait till something tragic happens before we do something about it. There are border incursions every day by these criminal drug cartels, and now there are reports that the drug cartels are cloning Border Patrol vehicles so that they can bring drugs into the United States. Recently, there were two incursions by Mexican military helicopters across the Texas-Mexico border into the United States, and their intentions are still unknown.
So it's important, Madam Speaker, that we do what is necessary to protect the dignity of our nation. The first duty of government is the national security to protect the people.
The Texas Governor and other Governors asked for the National Guard to go to the border to help secure and protect the dignity of our Nation. I think we should send the National Guard to the border. We need to do what is necessary because it is the duty of government to protect the people. And that protection starts at the border. And it's time we wake up to the reality of the way the world is, that the drug cartels are serious about being violent and about being criminals.
And that's just the way it is.
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