News / Americas

Arizona Official Outlines Key to Stopping Human Smuggling

Cindy Saine

The House Homeland Security Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives has held a hearing on stopping human smuggling across the border between the United States and Mexico.  One of the witnesses, Arizona's top prosecutor Terry Goddard, said there is no way to improve U.S. border security without taking on Mexican drug cartels.

The Chairman of the House Homeland Security panel, Democrat Henry Cuellar of Texas, explained that for would-be illegal immigrants, crossing the U.S. border is much more difficult than it used to be because of tightened U.S. surveillance and security measures. Cuellar said more and more illegal immigrants are dependent on paying criminal smugglers to get them across the border.

"As we have done more to secure our borders, alien smuggling organizations have increasingly become more bold, violent and dangerous," said Henry Cuellar. "They are now posing new threats to our law enforcement officials, our border communities and the people they attempt to smuggle across our borders."

Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard said the only way to stop human smuggling and increase U.S. border security is to take on Mexico's increasingly violent drug cartels, in cooperation with the Mexican government.  But he said his state has had a lot of success in hurting the powerful drug cartels over the past eight years.

"My strategy has been very simple," said Terry Goddard. "It's to follow the money.  We're very money conscious in the state of Arizona.  The illegal profits from drug trade, from human smuggling have been our number one objective.  And we've been able through a number of techniques to disrupt the flow of funds illegally going out of the country and to seize assets used by smugglers."

Goddard said his officials have been able to distinguish between legitimate wire transfers to Mexico from family members, and wire transfers for the drug cartels.

The hearing took place on the same day that a U.S. federal judge is holding a hearing on the constitutionality of Arizona's controversial new immigration law.  It requires police, while enforcing other laws, to examine a person's immigration status if there is reasonable suspicion the person is in the country illegally.  

Although Thursday's hearing was not about the new immigration law, heated political debate on the issue made its way into questions asked by some lawmakers.  Republican Congressman Charles Dent of Pennsylvania inserted this comment.

"I absolutely find it incomprehensible that the [U.S.] Department of Justice could be suing the state of Arizona on this issue of enforcing federal immigration law," said Charles Dent.

And on the Democratic side, Congressman Al Green of Texas put Goddard under pressure, asking him repeatedly if he believed in the U.S. Constitution, and if he would challenge a law in his state if he believed it to be unconstitutional.

"Do you also agree that the Attorney General of the United States of America is duty-bound to challenge laws that he believes to be unconstitutional," asked Al Green.

Arizona Attorney General Goddard finally said that if U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder sincerely believes the new Arizona law is unconstitutional, he would have "no choice" but to take action.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Guatemala Congress Opens Door for Prosecution of President

With 132 of 158 lawmakers approving a measure to strip immunity, prosecutors now can file criminal charges against Perez Molina just like any other citizen
More

Rio Olympics Official: Water Will Be Clean for Games

Recent report says waters so contaminated with bacteria and viruses from human sewage that athletes could become ill
More

UN: El Nino Could Be Among Strongest on Record

Meteorologists say climate models suggest water temperatures in the tropical Pacific are likely to exceed 2 degrees Celsius above average
More

Awaiting American Avalanche, Cubans Rush to the Beach

Locals flood resorts ahead of possible end to the US travel ban that would open the gates to American tourists and bump up prices
More

At Halfway Mark, Mexican President's Approval at New Low

Enrique Pena Nieto faces struggling economy, litany of security and conflict of interest scandals that have undercut his support
More

Santos: Colombia Peace Talks Have Advanced Significantly

The government has been holding negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, since the end of 2012
More