Texas congressman tours Arizona-Mexico border - Tucson News Now

Texas congressman tours Arizona-Mexico border

By Teresa Jun - email

DOUGLAS, AZ (KOLD) - Congressman Ted Poe, who represents the 2nd U.S. Congressional District of Texas, toured the Arizona-Mexico border Friday afternoon.

He was invited by the office of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords to see border security firsthand. The two had worked together last year, to call on President Obama to assign National Guard troops near the border.

"It's not a partisan issue, it's a bipartisan issue," Rep. Poe said. "We have the same problems in Texas as Arizona does. And we need more boots on the ground, right here at the border."

A local rancher who led Rep. Poe on the tour argues that more law enforcement officers should be assigned right along the border, instead of at stations a few miles into Arizona.

"It's amazing to me that (illegal border crossers) can get 50 miles into Arizona before they're even caught," said Gary Thrasher, who owns ranch properties near the border in Douglas. "That's why we want officers out on the border, on the fence. Right now, the Border Patrol works quite a distance from the border."

Rep. Poe heard a variety of concerns from ranchers like Thrasher. He even paid a visit to the widow of murdered rancher Robert Krentz. "It was a very emotional visit with her, coming up on the one-year anniversary of the murder," he said.

The congressman told reporters that hearing the problems of residents near the border is "heart-wrenching."

"My opinion of what they're telling me is that the situation is not getting better," Rep. Poe said. "In some ways, it's worse, especially with the drug cartels moving drugs and tearing up the ranches."

Rep. Poe plans to work with Rep. Giffords' office to craft legislation that would improve communications technology in rural areas along the border.

"Congresswoman Giffords and I are working on legislation to come up with some answers so that people who live out here can communicate," Rep. Poe said. "Also so that law enforcement agencies can communicate with each other. There are problems with the different agencies sometimes passing each other, and not even being able to communicate with each other."

Copyright 2011 KOLD. All rights reserved.

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