(CNSNews.com) - Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is going to Arizona on Thursday and Friday to meet with Border Patrol agents following the murder of Agent Brian Terry, press reports said.
Napolitano has called Terry’s murder – at the hands of suspected bandits -- “an unconscionable act of violence against the men and women of the Border Patrol and all those who serve and defend our country.”
She said the U.S. “will leave no stone unturned as we seek justice for the perpetrators.”
Terry,40, was one of several Border Patrol agents who spotted suspected bandits who target illegal immigrants along a smuggling corridor in the Border Patrol's Tucson sector, the busiest gateway for illegal immigrants into the United States.
As CNSNews.com has reported, half of all illegal entries into the United States and half of all of the marijuana smuggled into the United States in fiscal 2010 occurred in the Tucson Sector, which covers 262 miles of the 378-mile-long Arizona-Mexico border.
A Customs and Border Protection spokesperson told CNSNews.com that as of Sept. 30 (the last day of fiscal year 2010), the federal government believed it had achieved "effective control" of 293 miles of the Arizona-Mexico border. The remaining 85 miles of the Arizona-Mexico border that were not under "effective control" are all in the Tucson Sector.
Hours before Agent Terry was killed, Napolitano held a conference call with sheriffs and police chiefs from 30 southwestern border jurisdictions, reminding them that the Department of Homeland Security has committed "unprecedented resources" along the Southwest border over the past year.
Among the highlights touted by Napolitano in Tuesday's conference call:
-- The number of Border Patrol agents has doubled from approximately 10,000 in 2004 to more than 20,500 today;
-- ICE has begun screening 100 percent of southbound rail shipments for illegal weapons, drugs, and cash;
-- DHS has expanded the Secure Communities initiative—which uses biometric information to identify and remove criminal aliens in state prisons and local jails—from 14 jurisdictions in 2008 to more than 800 today, including all jurisdictions along the Southwest border.
-- In fiscal year 2010, ICE set a record for overall removals of illegal aliens. Half of those removed—more than 195,000—were convicted criminals.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, in a statement posted on her Web site, said Terry's murder is a shocking and saddening reminder of the danger on the nation's borders:
"Although we needed no reminder of the ever increasing dangers along our southern border, this tragedy serves as stark notice that the threats facing all who serve in protecting our state and nation are real, and are increasing on a daily basis.
“We need to pray for all those in uniform who perform duties that allow us to live in a safe and secure land. We must never become insensitive to the risks and sacrifices made by men and women who help ensure our freedom and liberty whether they serve in Iraq, Afghanistan, along our international borders, our local communities, our correctional facilities, or anywhere in which dangers and difficulties are unpredictable but real," Brewer said.