Arizona Congressman Ron Barber and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson toured the border in Southern Arizona on Wednesday. It was Johnson’s first trip to the border, coming here at Barber’s invitation.
Just last week, the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by the Douglas Port of Entry regarding a gun fight that broke out in Agua Prieta, Sonora, south of the US/Mexico border, where several fatalities occurred in two separate incidents. As a proactive and precautionary measure, the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office placed personnel on a heightened state of alert. Sheriff Dannels said that while it was an internal fight within the confines of the country of Mexico, his office would “remain vigilant in our duty to protect our citizens at all costs. If in fact there are criminal factions that intend to bring their issues to the United States, we want to assure them that we are working closely with local, state, and federal agencies to be prepared as necessary and be successful in our mission to stop any violence from occurring in our county.”
Barber said he was “glad that Secretary Johnson has accepted my invitation to come to Southern Arizona on his first trip since being sworn in last month as head of the Department of Homeland Security,” Barber said. “By hearing firsthand from the men and women who live and work along the border, the secretary will gain a better understanding of the issues we face here in Southern Arizona.”
The issues residents face is the reality of cartel violence, which has spilled into the country, and many of the ranchers, who live along the border, now live in mortal fear, while the federal government seems to ignore the needs of the Border Patrol agents and citizens.
Barber is a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security and one of only nine members of the House, who represents a district on the U.S. Mexico border.
Barber has pressed the Department of Homeland Security to become more transparent and accountable. While he says he has asked for specific metrics for measuring the security of the U.S. Mexico border, he has not demanded that the fence be completed or that the border be completely secure.