Union head: Border is far from secure

CongressDaily July 9, 2009

The president of the union (AFGE National Border Patrol Council) representing 12,000 Border Patrol agents on Thursday disputed arguments from Obama administration officials that the U.S. and Mexican governments are gaining the upper hand in the battle against drug cartels.

"It's a serious problem and not one that's likely to be resolved anytime soon," T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, said in an interview. "You still have the infighting between the various federal agencies."

About the coordination between U.S. and Mexican border agents on the front lines, he added, "Where the rubber meets the road, the level of distrust is very high."

Stopping U.S. employers from hiring illegal workers would be the most important step the federal government could take to curb illegal immigration and human trafficking along the border, Bonner said. He said it also would allow agents to focus on cross-border smuggling of drugs and guns.