Sep 25, 2011

The Border: For U.S.-Mexico border town, September 11 brought high wall

A look at how the creation of the Homeland Securiy Department after 9/11 changed life in a remote  border town straddling the Arizona-Mexico border.

Reuters: " When news broke of the airliners striking the twin towers in New York 10 years ago, Mexican bookkeeper Jose Manuel Madrid was readying for work in his tiny hometown on the Arizona border. Watching the tragedy unfold on television, he had no inkling of how it would transform the lives of residents in the remote community of Naco straddling the international border. "Nobody imagined the repercussions ... that these events would have" for us, said Madrid, now the mayor of Naco, a dusty ranching town of 6,000 residents in Mexico's northern Sonora State.

The September 11 attacks, orchestrated by al Qaeda militants, led to the largest shake-up of the U.S. federal government since the Cold War, with the founding of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003. As part of its core mission of preventing "terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States," the new Customs and Border Protection agency has since sharply boosted security on the nation's borders

The surge more than doubled the number of Border Patrol agents to 20,000. Infrastructure added to secure the Mexico border includes nearly 700 miles of additional fences as well as lights, sensors, cameras, ground radar and even unmanned surveillance drones."

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