A crackdown along the
U.S.-Mexico border to prevent terrorists from entering the United States has
instead resulted in long delays of commercial trucks and other traffic at
various border locations – and no known militant has been stopped from entering
the United States, according to an Associated
Instead, the tightening net
of Border Patrol and Immigration agents has slowed trade, snarled traffic and
cost American taxpayers millions, perhaps billions, of dollars, while hundreds
of migrants have died trying to evade the growing army of border authorities.
Despite the crackdown, an AP investigation involving interviews
with dozens of officials, immigration activists and migrants in Mexico,
California, Arizona and Washington, turned up no evidence that any suspected
terrorist has been prevented from coming to America.
Mauricio Juarez, a spokesman
for the Mexican government's National Migration Institute, told The AP Mexico hasn't arrested a single
terrorist suspect headed north. And he said the United States hasn't informed
Mexico of any arrested on the U.S. side – something it presumably would do.
Spokesmen for the U.S. Border
Patrol, the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement say national security
guidelines prevent them from saying whether any suspected terrorists have been
arrested trying to cross the border from Mexico.
Robert Bonner, commissioner
of the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, said "hundreds of people per
year from ... high-interest countries, such as Pakistan" are turned back
at legal border crossings from Mexico, but he didn't give any indication
whether any of them were terrorists.
However, trade has slowed
with stricter checks for trucks carrying merchandise across the border,
especially when the U.S. terror alert is raised to orange. That has happened
four times since the terror-alert system was introduced in March 2002.
the level is raised above yellow, it is much slower. They stop every car, every
truck. It becomes a hurdle for business," said Maria Luisa O'Connell,
general director of the nonprofit, Phoenix-based Border Trade Alliance.