Dead on arrival

By Rebecca Hagelin

Their decomposing, swollen bodies were so disfigured and rotten that authorities couldn’t even tell how many corpses were stuffed into the locked railroad car. Eleven? Nine? Hard to know. The stench of the putrid flesh made stomachs churn and sickened even the most seasoned of law enforcement officials. Yet, there they were – victims of a failed border-inspection process that currently allows thousands of unsearched railroad cars to enter the United States every day.

According to an Associated Press story, Jerry Heinauer, district director of the Immigration and Naturalization Service for Nebraska and Iowa, said that the victims boarded railroad cars in Mexico, probably as long as four months ago in an effort to make illegal entry into the United States. But somewhere, somehow, something went wrong and the door of the railroad car was bolted from the outside turning their quest for a better life into a nightmarish journey to hell.

“They were probably subjected to temperatures equivalent to those inside a locked car during the heat of summer,” Corinne Stern, chief medical examiner in El Paso County, Texas, told Mike Wilson of the Associated Press. There was no evidence that food or water had ever been provided to the stealth travelers. All involved in the case agree that the victims died slowly, and in great pain from severe overheating.

It’s quite amazing that the press has largely been silent about this most recent evidence of the government’s failure to secure our nation’s borders. As I have written in earlier columns, America’s railway systems are extremely vulnerable to terrorist attack and are most likely being used as we speak to transport illegal drugs, arms and even terrorists into the heartland of America.

John Carman, former decorated U.S. Customs agent-turned-whistleblower estimates that there are thousands of uninspected railcars that are still entering the U.S. from south of the border every single day:

Customs management does not want railcars inspected. They don’t have the manpower, there isn’t proper training for searches, and they are more concerned with cutting costs than with focusing on issues of national security. The U.S. Customs office and government officials are lying to protect themselves. Although they know about the smuggling, they lie to the American public about their failures.

The stark reality is that less than 1 percent of everything that comes into the country – including boats, trains, containers, etc. – is checked at all. If the American public knew this, the U.S. Customs service would probably be disbanded overnight and replaced with a system that works. For the past several administrations, politicians have allowed this lax security in an effort to support trade.

All Americans should be concerned with the failures of the government to secure our nation’s borders. After all, it’s been a full 13 months since terrorists succeeded in the single largest terrorist attack in U.S. history and the U.S. Customs department still hasn’t figured out how – or refuses – to inspect entering rail cars.

The latest gruesome evidence that railcars containing illegals can gain easy entry into the U.S. was made on Oct. 14 near Denison, Iowa, about 60 miles northwest of Omaha. Little is known about the victims – nationalities, ages and sexes are still being determined. What we do know is that they are someone’s brothers, daughters, sons, fathers and mothers. And, although these particular illegal immigrants were probably seeking a new life, they easily could have been well-trained terrorists on a mission to kill Americans.

We also know that the car they were on departed from Matamoros, Mexico, sometime in June, and went undetected for weeks as it entered Oklahoma, where it was parked before eventually turning up in Denison. While the nation and officials have been focused on the larger metropolitan cities as potential terrorist targets, it’s important to understand that the heartland of America is equally at risk due to the vulnerability of the myriad railway tracks and spurs that criss-cross the entire country and are all interconnected.

As Darlene Catalan, also a former decorated U.S. Customs agent-turned-whistleblower has pointed out, the drug cartels in Mexico have for years had strong ties to Middle East drug suppliers, and have used the railway systems efficiently and effectively to ship their illegal wares into the United States. Illegal drug crops have always largely funded terrorism, and it’s no stretch to come to the conclusion that these same people are using our railway entry points – both north and south of our borders – to ship whatever or whomever they wish into every corner of the United States.

Maybe our government doesn’t care enough about the lives of impoverished Mexicans – who foolishly pay smugglers so they can board railcars in their quest for opportunity – to tighten up our borders. Like most Americans, I don’t want to support illegal immigrants who flood into our country by the thousands. But I don’t want them to be found stuffed into railroad cars like rotten, maggot-infested avocados either. Nor do I want railroad cars to be filled with terrorists, foaming-at-the-mouth to obliterate us the first chance they get. Only the U.S. Customs office has the power to prevent illegal entry for any reason via trains. It’s time we demand that they do better.