ATLANTA - Channel 2 Action News uncovered a report that raises questions about the U.S. Homeland Security Department's own goals for stopping the illegal flow of people into the United States along the Mexico border.
Justin Farmer traveled to Arizona to continue his investigation into the security threat along the border. He joined border agents on a night patrol near Arivaca.
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Border agents use infrared technology that can scan 10 miles in any direction. One camera spotted a group of smugglers on the move. Farmer followed the agents as they tracked the group for three hours, but the smugglers got away.
Seventy miles north in Pinal County, Sheriff Paul Babeu told Farmer heavily-armed drug cartels are operating in the desert, not far from Phoenix.
"Squad-size elements, every day and every night coming through our border. Heavily armed (groups) that out-gun and out-man my deputies."
In a recent Government Accounting Office report, the Homeland Security Department listed its performance goals for 2008-2010. Those goals include to "detect and apprehend 30 percent of major illegal activity and criminals at ports of entry."
Retired immigration agent Michael Cutler said that is unacceptable. "How would you like to get on an airplane where they tell you, you have a 30 percent chance of arriving alive at your destination?"
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano knows the border well. She served as attorney general and governor of Arizona. During recent U.S. Senate hearings, she said it is possible that terrorists could cross the southwestern U.S. border.
Napolitano also shocked many people in a CNN interview when she said, "crossing the border is not a crime per se. It is civil."
Title 1325 of the U.S. code states those who enter the United States illegally are committing a crime punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine.
A spokesman for Napolitano said she has retracted her statement.
State Sen. Russell Pearce wrote Arizona's bill 1070. It required that illegal immigration laws be enforced. He says the issue has become personal to him since his son, who is a sheriff's deputy, was wounded while serving a warrant on an illegal immigrant near Phoenix.
"Government is responsible for that," he said. "For their failure to secure our borders and enforce the law."
Previous Stories: November 2, 2010: Channel 2 Uncovers Proof Terrorists Crossed Mexican Border November 2, 2010: Channel 2 Raises Questions About Border Security October 12, 2010: Border Threat List Surprises Georgia Congressman May 26, 2010: Border Investigation Gets Worldwide Response May 21, 2010: Terrorist Threat On Border With Mexico May 21, 2010: The Cost to Detain Illegal Immigrants Examined May 21, 2010: Smuggled Drugs From Mexico Coming To Atlanta