As Violence Grows Along Border, Congress Debates Funding for Fighting Mexican Drug Cartels

As Violence Grows Along Border, Congress Debates Funding for Fighting Mexican Drug Cartels

CIUDAD JUÁREZ, Mexico - Despite a number of significant steps to increase security along the U.S.-Mexican border in recent years, violence along the frontier is growing as Mexican drug cartels increase their involvement in human and drug smuggling into the United States. Meanwhile, a Bush administration initiative to provide significant law enforcement aid to Mexico is stalled in Congress amid old questions about the best way to fight the drug war.

Since 2001, the Bush administration has increased the number of border patrol agents from 9,000 to 15,000, with another 3,000 to be added by the time Bush leaves office. Funding for border security initiatives have increased under Bush from $4.8 billion in 2001 to $12.3 billion this year, and plans call for having 670 miles of enhanced border fence in place by the end of Bush's presidency.

It is difficult to gauge with hard statistics just how well these measures have worked. But local and federal law enforcement officials in Arizona and Texas, academics, activists and migrants themselves all agree that, in recent years, it is much harder to get into the United States illegally from Mexico.

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