Madam Speaker, it was about midnight when gunfire erupted in a remote area of Rio Rico, Arizona, a city near the border of Mexico and the United States. Border Patrol agents and unknown gunmen exchanged shots in the dark, and one shot proved to be deadly, claiming a life in this war zone, our southern border, the third front.
Radio chatter alerted dispatch of the incident, and a call for assistance was received this Tuesday night about 11 p.m. Border Patrol agents were making rounds in a very isolated and rugged area just north of the border town of Nogales.
They were trying to catch bandits, the kind that target undocumented immigrants. They rob and steal and pillage those immigrants, and our Border Patrol agents protect those immigrants. Banditos have long traveled border districts, robbing these individuals.
But while on patrol Tuesday night, United States Border Agent Brian Terry, and this is his photograph, Madam Speaker. Brian Terry and team members encountered a group of armed gunmen. Upon seeing Agent Terry and three other Border Patrol agents, they opened fire on Agent Terry and his comrades with automatic weapons. Border Patrol Agent Terry was shot in the back with an AK-47. He died en route to a hospital.
Four suspects have been arrested for this dastardly crime. One individual is still at large and on the run. Justice is deserved and needed for these murderers. Border Patrol Agent Terry is irreplaceable, yet another American life claimed by the violent border battle on the third front.
Agent Terry was 40. He was a brother and a son. His family called him a tough, big guy who committed his life to public service. Terry was headed home today to Michigan to see his family for Christmas. He had purchased his plane ticket earlier this week.
He was an agent for 3 years, but he had a military background. Right out of high school, he joined the United States Marine Corps, and he served 3 years. Part of that time he was in the combat zone in Iraq. He later became a police officer and he joined the Border Patrol in 2007. His life was dedicated to public service and the protection of the American people. He had been a member of the elite Border Patrol Tactical Team, and according to his family, he loved that job. He would call home before going on a mission, and he would call when he got back in. The excitement of protecting this nation fueled his passion in the workplace, and he put his life on the line to protect our security and sovereignty as a nation. And he paid for it by giving his life.
Madam Speaker, going back to the year 2004, I have a chart that shows assaults that have occurred on our Border Patrol agents. In 2004, about 400 assaults occurred. All of the way to 2009 and even this year, there are over a thousand assaults committed against our Border Patrol agents by undocumented immigrants arrogantly coming into the United States. Mainly those assaults are by rocks being thrown at those Border Patrol agents and causing injuries. You don't hear too much about the assaults against our border protectors. But the media sure tells us a lot about how important it is that we let people who are here in this country illegally stick around and make the rest of us pay for it.
Agent Terry's fatal shooting is not the first murder of a Border Patrol agent. Border Patrol Agent Robert Rosas of Campo, California, was assassinated in 2009 while responding to criminal activity in a notorious alien and drug smuggling area. The men and women on the border are under constant assault. They are the iron gatekeepers to a violent battle that reveals each day and every night uncontained authority.
Because you see, Madam Speaker, whether we want to admit it or not, there are portions of the Texas-Mexico border, the U.S.-Mexico border, that are under the operational control of the drug cartels. The United States does not have control, Mexico does not have control. Not in all areas, but some areas; and that is where this ruthless third front is taking place. The border war is a bloody battlefield between the law and the outlaws. Once a Texas Ranger told me: "Congressman Poe, after dark it gets western on the border". He said "we are out-manned, out-gunned, and out-financed by the enemy".
Madam Speaker, we need the moral resolve as a nation to secure the dignity of our borders and to protect the people who are protecting us, our Border Patrol agents. They are doing the job that we asked them to do, so it is long overdue that we protect the border of this country like we protect the borders of other nations so that no more Border Patrol agents will be murdered by those who sneak into our country.
And that's just the way it is.