National, local figures react to death of Border Patrol agent
From Tucson to Washington, they're offering condolences and, in some case, pointing fingers.Photo: Video by kgun9.com
CREATED Oct. 2, 2012
Reporter: Kevin Keen
BISBEE, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - A Border Patrol agent has died and another is injured after an overnight shooting near Bisbee. The case has political leaders, candidates for office and other officials from Tucson to Washington offering condolences and, in some case, pointing fingers.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) didn't mince words, writing in a statement:
“…This ought not only be a day of tears. There should be anger, too. Righteous anger--at the kind of evil that causes sorrow this deep, and at the federal failure and political stalemate that has left our border unsecured and our Border Patrol in harm's way. Four fallen agents in less than two years is the result.
“It has been 558 days since the Obama administration declared the security of the U.S.-Mexico border 'better now than it has ever been.' I'll remember that statement today."
U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake, running for U.S. Senate, shared the outrage. The Republican wrote on his Facebook wall: "What will it take for the Obama Administration to commit more resources in the Tucson sector? All we hear from the Department of Homeland Security is that "the border is safer than ever." Does this sound safer than ever? If this isn't a call to action, what is???"
Flake's opponent, Richard Carmona, urged caution to those placing blame in this case. Wait for the results of the investigation, the Democrat said, acknowledging the border clearly isn't secure.
“It's an on-going issue,” Carmona told 9 On Your Side. “It's not an issue that, ‘OK, as of any single day, the border is secure.’ It's relatively secure every day, but we have to work at it every single day.”
Democratic Rep. Raúl Grijalva, running for re-election, said the country can learn from what happened near Bisbee.
“We need to beef up our port of entries, and we need beef up the concerted effort to bust these organizations because that's the cause,” Grijalva said. “When it's all said in done, that's the way to stop them.”
Grijalva's opponent, Republican Gabriela Saucedo Mercer, argued the country has long needed more agents along the border.
“It angers me,” Mercer told 9 On Your Side. “We keep hearing from Washington that the borders are secure. 'They're more secure than ever.' That is a lie. This is another proof that our borders are not secure.”
Also talking with 9 On Your Side: Democratic U.S. Rep. Ron Barber and his Republican opponent, Martha McSally. The newly drawn Congressional District 2 will stretch from Tucson to Naco and beyond.
“I know that every single day, the agents who go out into the southwest desert put their lives on the line,” Barber told 9 On Your Side. “Unfortunately, it's what they do. It's a very dangerous job. I really think we all need to remember how dangerous this job is that they do for us.”
“This is just a reminder to all of us that there's a war going on here, and it's right in our neighborhoods,” McSally said. ”We just need to be, right now, focusing on the families of those who have lost a loved one.”