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At first blush it may not seem like it, but the Department of Homeland Security is having some success protecting our borders.

Earlier this week deputies from the Hudspeth County, Texas Sheriff’s Department were in pursuit of three vehicles racing for the border that officers suspected were being used in a drug-smuggling operation. Before the vehicles they reached the Rio Grande river, which serves as the border there, deputies seized one vehicle and found it contained over 1,000 pounds of marijuana. A second vehicle made it across the border to Mexico, but the third vehicle became stuck in the river.

At that point men dressed in military uniforms appeared on the scene with what deputies said was a military-style Humvee with a mounted 50-caliber machine gun. The Mexican military proceeded to remove what officers say was likely a shipment of drugs from the stalled vehicle before setting it on fire.

This week’s incident was preceded by several others like it. In fact armed Mexican military units have made at least five incursions into the U.S. in the first quarter of this year. Mexican military or police units have made more than 230 incursions into the United States over the past decade, according to Border Patrol records reviewed by the Los Angeles Times.

So how does frequent border incursions by heavily armed foreign police and military qualify as success by our homeland defense and security agencies? Just this: If it was still as easy to penetrate the U.S. southwest border as it has been in recent years, drug- and human smugglers would not need such formidable armed support. The fact that they now do means U.S. agents must be doing a better job at making it more difficult for our borders to be breached.

But this kind of success has obviously come with a price: increased danger for outgunned U.S. law enforcement personnel, as well as American (and Mexican) civilians living in border regions. As such, there is no longer any reason – legally or morally – why President Bush must refrain from deploying the U.S. military in support of federal and local law enforcement officials.

I could see this coming a few years ago. In researching my book, “Illegals: The Imminent Threat Posed by Our Unsecured U.S.-Mexico Border,” I wrote:

By March 2000, Border Patrol and Immigration and Naturalization Service [INS] agents began to voice what many believed were legitimate concerns about ‘armed incursions’ into the United States from Mexico-based assailants. They reported that heavily armed Mexican army units and federal police, called federales, had infiltrated U.S. territory and fired upon them, in some cases because – federal agents would later discover – Mexican drug lords had put prices on the heads of American law enforcement agents strung out along the border.

Does this sound familiar?

Look, this isn’t about Democrats or Republicans. It’s not about cheap foreign labor or votes or the “rights of minorities.”

It is about a clear and present danger to the national security of our country. And our leaders are obligated, under the Constitution of these United States, to defend our borders from armed incursion by a foreign power. Any one of them who refuses should be impeached immediately. Period.

I applaud the bravery and dedication of local and federal law enforcement authorities who have made enough progress in securing our borders to warrant our narco-terrorist enemies to feel the need to recruit more firepower. As dangerous as this escalation is, it says a lot about the effectiveness and ability of America to enhance its border security when we are serious about the task.

That said, there is no more clear mandate for the military than the sanctity of our own physical borders. In fact, one of the reasons why the Pentagon created the U.S. Northern Command was “to preserve the nation’s security by defending the American people where they live and work, and support civilian authorities as needed,” according to Gen. Ralph Eberhart, the first USNORTHCOM commander.

So why isn’t President Bush cutting deployment orders right now? Is he waiting for “diplomacy” to work? Here’s all the diplomacy that is necessary: Warn the Mexican government once more either they stop these incursions or we will.

We can get the forces we need from Asia; let’s bring home the 38,000 troops protecting South Korea’s border and station them along our border. Then, when Mexican military units armed with Browning 50-caliber machine guns breach our borders, they will be met by the superior firepower of the U.S. Army.

Mexican army Humvees are no match for American M1A1 Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles.

Mexican infantry is no match for U.S. Army and Marine Corps veterans.

Well-armed, battle-hardened U.S. combat troops should pretty much end incursions into our country.

If anyone needs to be “arrested,” the Border Patrol can do that. If the ACLU is still not OK with that, to hell with them. This is about as “national security” as it gets.

I voted for President Bush – twice – but if he doesn’t act now, when he has clear authority and a mandate to do so, he is not fit to be commander in chief.

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