Just as the Department of Homeland Security was finally telling Americans in candid congressional testimony that al Qaeda terrorists may try to sneak into the United States across our Southern border, a Mexican-government entity was printing up fresh copies of the Mexican government’s latest guide to help illegal aliens sneak across that same border. This raises two obvious questions: 1) Will the Mexican government’s efforts to help Mexicans sneak into United States also help al Qaeda terrorists sneak into the United States? 2) Will the Bush Administration do anything at all to hold the government of Mexico accountable for helping people sneak into our country undetected? The latter question is especially timely because Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visits Mexico this week and Mexican President Vicente Fox will attend a summit in Texas with President Bush and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin on March 23. Thirty-two Republican members of the House of Representatives signed a letter to Secretary of State Rice today asking her to take up the issue of the illegal-alien travel guides with Mexican officials and “call on the government of Mexico to cease and desist from its flagrant campaign to encourage its citizens to violate the immigration laws and sovereign borders of the United States of America.” The congressmen, led by Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R.-Ariz.), provided Rice with a copy of the latest illegal-alien travel guide, which is 87 pages long and was published by the government of the Mexican state of Yucatan. Entitled Guia del Migrante Yucateco, or Guide for the Yucatecan Migrnat, the booklet is accompanied by a Spanish- and Mayan-language DVD, which gives the would-be illegal alien advice in video form on how to surreptitiously cross the U.S.-Mexican border. The cover of the guide shows a Mexican “migrante” standing in front of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. In December, the Mexican Foreign Ministry published a 32-page comic-book-style guide also advising Mexican nationals seeking to illegally enter the United States. The new guide published by Yucatan was first reported February 18 by the Arizona Republic in a dispatch from Merida, Mexico, by reporter Chris Hawley. “Yucatan, a state of 1.7 million people, says it is the first Mexican state to produce a guide tailored to its citizens,” reported Hawley. “The first batch of 1,000 was printed in May; 8,000 more were printed this month.” On February 16, about the same time those 8,000 guides were being printed, Adm. James Loy, deputy secretary of Homeland Security, was testifying in the Senate Intelligence committee that al Qaeda had concluded that the Mexican border was an excellent place to infiltrate terrorists into the United States. “Recent information from ongoing investigations, detentions, and emerging threat streams strongly suggests that al Qaeda has considered using the Southwest border to infiltrate the United States,” said Loy. “Several al Qaeda leaders believe operatives can pay their way into the country through Mexico and also believe illegal entry is more advantageous than legal entry for operational security reasons.” According to the Arizona Republic, the Guide for the Yucatecan Migrant “devotes 11 pages to U.S. visas and how to apply for them,” but also includes an “additional 21 pages about crossing the border illegally, including descriptions meant to help migrants avoid the most dangerous routes through Arizona, California and Texas.” The Arizona Republic article quotes the guide as saying: “After passing through Lukeville, you will cross through a national park where you will find water tanks. If the smuggler decides to walk beyond the park, you will travel on paths where there is no Border Patrol but in places where military exercises are conducted.” Couldn’t this be helpful information for al Qaeda terrorists as well as for illegal aliens? Rep. Hayworth’s office provided me with additional passages from the guide that the office had translated. They include the advice that Mexican illegal aliens in the United States can use the Matricula Consular card to secure U.S. drivers license. “With it,” says the guide, “in many states in the U.S. you can get a driver’s license, and public services such as light and water.” The translated passages also include the advice that Mexicans illegally in the United States can send their children to U.S. schools. “There is a U.S.-Mexico agreement, regardless of your migrating situation, to study in grade school, secondary and high school,” it says. The translations also reveal advice on a second specific illegal entry point that could be helpful to terrorists as well as to illegal jobseekers. “Many take the Sasabe route,” says the guide. “You should know that there is a Sasabe in Mexico (Sonora) and Sasabe in the United States (Arizona). To the north of Sasabe-Sonora is the Altar Valley, where you can find water and is more secure.” If President Bush changes his mind and decides to fully fund the 2,000 new Border Patrol agents authorized for fiscal 2006 (his budget only includes funding for 210 new agents) he might want to deploy some near the Altar Valley in Southern Arizaona, which Mexico apparently believes is presently “more secure” for those trying to sneak into the U.S. If it is more secure for travelers from Yucatan, of course, it is also more secure for travelers sent here by Osama bin Laden.
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