Mr. Speaker, I want to address the third front that the United States is engaged in, and I am not talking about the war in Libya. I am talking about the border war on our southern front between the United States and Mexico, the war with the narcoterrorist gangs that are coming into the United States daily, bringing their wares into this country.
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano recently said that the border now is better than it ever has been. I take issue with that comment for a lot of reasons. One, I have been to the southern border of the United States, primarily in Texas with the border with Mexico. Been there numerous times. I just recently got back from the border at Arizona and Mexico. What I saw does not look like a secure border. Of course, she said it was better than it ever has been, but that's not the question.
The question is, is the border of the United States secure? And the answer to that question, in my opinion, is, no, it is not secure. Let's talk about this issue. This issue has been around for a long time. There seems to be a lot said about it. But as my grandfather used to say, when all is said and done, more is said than done. And the border between the United States and Mexico is not secure. I don't know that it's better than it ever has been.
There are problems on both sides of the border. In my visits to the border, it is not just the people in Mexico who live in concern and fear for their own safety about the narcoterrorists running up and down the border with automatic weapons, but it is people on the American side as well.
The National Border Patrol Council, that's the group that represents the Border Patrol agents, recently made the comment if the border was better now than it ever has been, Agent Brian Terry would not have been brutally murdered by heavily armed Mexican criminals operating over 13 miles inside the United States. That makes quite the point.
Just recently, in the last 24 hours, two Americans that live in Mexico but work in the United States and have worked in the United States for some years were legally crossing at a regular port of entry, and they were gunned down in Mexico while they were waiting to cross into the United States. Two Americans murdered. Of course, when an American is murdered in Mexico the chances of anybody in Mexico being prosecuted are almost nonexistent.
Last year, 65 Americans were murdered in Mexico. I know of no case where anybody in Mexico was held accountable for those crimes, because the crimes are out of control in Mexico. And to think that it does not affect the United States is living in never-never land.
This map here, I want to show some statistics about the border counties in Texas with Mexico. There are 14 border counties in Texas that border Mexico. Every so often I will call the sheriffs of those 14 border counties and ask them this simple question: How many people in your jail are foreign nationals? I am not asking the question how many are legally or illegally in the United States. You know, we can't ask that question in States. We can only find out if the person is in the United States from a foreign country.
So recently, 2 weeks ago, I called the sheriffs, the 14 border sheriffs in Texas, and asked them that question: How many people in your jail are foreign nationals charged with crimes? That would be a State misdemeanor or a felony crime. This does not include immigration violations. That's a whole different group of people.
So how many people are in your jail, not people charged with immigration violations, but they are just charged with cross-border crime? And the answer is 34 percent are foreign nationals, 34.5 percent to be exact. Now, think about that number. Thirty-four percent of the people in a local jail are from foreign countries. And they are not jus