A Mexican border town has “declared war” on the United States, vowing
to clog the U.S. court system with illegal immigrants, because, city
officials say, the U.S. Border Patrol is dumping in their town Mexican
nationals caught crossing the border illegally.

Officials from Agua Prieta, a Mexican city of about 130,000, are also
claiming that the U.S. government has repeatedly neglected to inform
them about new waves of immigrants before they are routed there from
points in the U.S. after capture.

Consequently, Agua Prieta leaders are teaching Mexican nationals how
to cross into the U.S. and stay there, by instructing them to
request a court hearing — a tactic sure to clog the judicial system
with possibly thousands of illegal immigrants who want their day in

Every day, Mexican officials complain, U.S. Border Patrol officials
round up thousands of illegals who have crossed the border, then send
them right back home, through gates opening into Agua Prieta. In fact,
an estimated 2 million Mexicans jumped the fence and entered the U.S.
illegally at Agua Pietra in the past two years, according to a Fox News
report yesterday.

Ironically, city officials from Agua Prieta complain that the horde
of illegals is causing inordinate amounts of crime, drug abuse and
homelessness — complaints also lodged by U.S. landowners and ranchers
who live on the U.S. side of the border, where illegals are attempting
to gain access to the states.

The difference, say U.S. residents, is that the illegal aliens don’t
belong in the United States — they belong to Mexico, if they have not
entered by legal means.

Nevertheless, Agua Prieta officials are advertising offers of free
legal advice on radio and in newspapers to help those that get caught
remain in the U.S.

“Our plan is to let people know the rights they have,” Agua Prieta
Mayor Daniel Noriega told Fox.

Experts say that if only a small portion of illegal immigrants
request court appearances, the system could be hopelessly clogged and
the Border Patrol similarly overwhelmed.

Mexico’s counterpart to the U.S. Border Patrol, Patrulla
Fronteriza officers are seen here interdicting illegal aliens on the
Mexican side of the border.

The Mexican government, however, appears to be making an effort to
complement U.S. Border Patrol efforts to stem the tide of illegal aliens
flowing across the border. A new Mexico-based counterpart to the U.S.
Border Patrol, called Patrulla Fronteriza, has been formed to interdict
Mexican nationals on Mexico’s side of the border, before they cross into
the U.S.

This latest development comes on the heels of other incidents that
have seen increasing tensions between Washington and Mexico City in
regards to how best to deal with the problem of increasing illegal

Earlier last month, Mexican government officials

came to
Washington to complain
about “vigilantism” being practiced by U.S. landowners who own property along the vast southwestern border.

Mexican Foreign Minister Rosario Green complained to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and other U.S. officials that some illegal immigrants had received poor treatment while traversing private land. She alleged that the detention of illegals by private U.S. ranchers — mostly in Arizona — had resulted in two deaths and seven injuries since January 1999.

“The issue of the Mexicans and the Arizona ranchers is seen, without a doubt, as a red alert that could generate a relatively tense situation,” Green said in Mexico City.

Meanwhile — against a sinister backdrop of possible bounty hunting by Mexican soldiers — U.S. Border Patrol officials

say they are
increasingly worried about “armed incursions”
into U.S. territory by heavily armed Mexican army units. Officials cited a recent incident in which Mexican soldiers chased — then fired shots at — Border Patrol agents.

On Mar. 14, shortly after 10 p.m. local time, “two Mexican army Humvees carrying about 16 armed soldiers drove across the international boundary and into the United States near Santa Teresa, New Mexico,” said officials with the

National Border Patrol Council,
a nationwide union that represents all 8,250 non-supervisory Border Patrol employees.

The Mexican troops pursued a Border Patrol vehicle, which was “outfitted with decals and emergency lights (that were activated for much of the pursuit) over a mile into the United States.”

Mexican anti-drug police and specialized anti-narcotic army troops make routine “incursions” into U.S. territory, the council said.

Related stories:

Border accident or bounty hunting?

Mexico cries ‘Red Alert’

The shooting war on the Mexican border

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