Madam Speaker, America lost a great lawman last Thursday near Campo, California. United States Border Patrol Agent Robert Rosas was brutally murdered on July 23 by thugs illegally crossing into the United States. Agent Rosas was shot and killed at approximately 9:15 p.m. while following a group of people who had crossed the border illegally. Agent Rosas was by himself, like a lot of our agents nowadays. He radioed for backup. The group Agent Rosas was following split up before backup agents arrived to help him.

Agent Rosas was following one of the groups; but when fellow officers arrived, they found Agent Rosas outside his Border Patrol vehicle. He had been shot several times in the head and other places in the body. Agent Rosas had served with the Border Patrol for 3 years. He was only 30 years of age. He was married and had a 2-year-old son and an 11-month-old daughter. A suspect, Ernesto Parra-Valenzuela, is in Federal custody in Baja, California. He had a standard Border Patrol-issued 9 millimeter pistol tucked in his clothes when he was arrested. Four other Mexican nationals were also arrested. They were part of a violent smuggling ring, and one of the other men arrested is wanted for two homicides and a rape. Also detained were 21 illegals.

Shooting at Border Patrol agents is a drug cartel way of life. T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, said that around 50 border agents a year are shot at. Others are run down by vehicles. For example, in January 2008 United States Border Patrol Agent Luis Aguilar was run down and killed by a drug smuggler in a Humvee 15 miles north of the border in California. When agents spotted a drug-laden Hummer trying to flee back to Mexico, Agent Aguilar threw down a spike strip to stop the vehicle. Witnesses said the driver of the Humvee swerved to intentionally hit Agent Aguilar, and the vehicle was traveling over 55 miles per hour. Agent Aguilar was killed. He was a 6-year veteran of the Border Patrol. He was 32 years of age, and he left behind a wife and two kids. The Humvee driver, the drug smuggler, escaped back into Mexico.

There are others who were killed by smugglers. In August of 2002, United States Park Ranger Kris Eggle was shot and killed in the line of duty at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona. The area has become a haven for drug and alien smuggling. The area is known as Cocaine Alley. A drug cartel hit squad fled into the United States after committing a string of murders in Mexico. Out-manned and outgunned, Ranger Eggle never had a chance. He was 28.

Agent Rosas is the first Border Patrol agent to be shot since Ricardo Salinas and Susan Rodriguez were slain in Texas in July of 1998. The Cameron County, Texas, Sheriff's Department was investigating a report of shots fired in Rio Hondo, Texas. That's in the Rio Grande Valley. Deputies found a woman, Margarita Flores, and one of her daughters, Delia Morin, dead at their home. Her son was also shot and seriously wounded. The killer, Ernest Moore, was seen fleeing in a pickup truck; and with the help of the Border Patrol, sheriff's deputies spotted the vehicle in a driveway of a San Benito house Moore shared with his father.

The deputies and the agents were searching the home and the nearby cornfields when they heard rifle shots. Border Patrol Officers Ricardo Salinas and Susan Rodriguez were both found shot and killed. The perpetrator was also killed.

Madam Speaker, the border regions in this country have become the most lawless areas in the United States. Drug cartel thugs roam the border frontier, transporting drugs, weapons, cash, illegals and victims of sex trafficking across the border at will. The noble Border Patrol agents are out-manned, outgunned and out-financed by the drug cartels; and these outlawed drug cartels need to be captured and brought to justice.

In the meanwhile, our Border Patrol protectors need our support. We owe the brave men and women who guard the border more than gratitude for the sacrifices they make. We owe them the proper funding, manpower and support to guard not just our border but their safety as well. These agents are the first line of defense between the illegal drug smuggling cartels and the American people.

And that's just the way it is.