The ‘Invisible War:’ Armed Border Bandits Targeting Illegal Immigrants

Up to three bandits were killed and one illegal immigrant was seriously injured during a recent series of shootouts and ambushes. The incidents, which happened in a mountainous area just south of the California/Mexico border, occurred over a two-day period. They are now being investigated by law enforcement.

According to Border Patrol, the violent encounters started on February 16 when two armed men wearing masks robbed a group of five illegal immigrants who were traveling through mountains near the California border. It was not long, however, before a separate group of armed men approached the group and tried to rob both the masked men and the immigrants being held hostage. The masked men fought back and a gunfight soon broke out. 

As the two groups of armed men shot at each other, the illegal immigrants were able to sneak away. They subsequently entered the United States and were arrested by Border Patrol agents. 

The immigrants alleged that one bandit was killed during the gun fight, but Mexican authorities were not able to find a body when they arrived at the scene. 

Only one day later, a second gunfight broke out in the same area. This time, gunmen ambushed a group of eight illegal immigrants and attempted to hold them hostage. After several hours, however, the immigrants attempted to break free. Before they were able to successfully flee the scene, one immigrant was shot in the face and two gunmen were killed. The immigrants subsequently crossed the border, called 9-11, and the injured man was flown to a Palm Springs, California hospital for treatment. He is now in stable condition. 

Fabian Morales, a Border Patrol spokesman, said the bandits involved in both incidents will likely never be found and held accountable for their actions. He said, "We just want to make sure that people realize the dangers of crossing through the desert, especially through areas that are remote like that. People need to understand."

Sylvia Longmire, Breitbart Texas’ contributing editor and border security expert alleged that deadly ambushes along the Mexican border are not uncommon. "This is a great example of the 'invisible border war' that's happening right under our noses," she said. "We never hear about it in the mainstream media. These confrontations between armed 'border bandits' and drug smugglers, or unarmed illegal immigrants, happen all the time on both sides of the border... These incredibly violent incidents are happening here in the United States, and not just in California like in this story. It happens in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, but the bandits are rarely caught."

Unfortunately, many cases of border violence are largely ignored by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Such crimes are oftentimes logged as homicides in the FBI's uniform crime reports, called "Uniform Crime Reporting." This system does not classify criminal acts as being related to the U.S.-Mexican border or illegal immigration. The DHS may then plausibly report that border violence is not a critical issue facing the U.S., as they are able to deny knowledge of such crimes. 

Longmire said, "More Americans need to know that these armed attacks by foreign nationals on US soil are happening more frequently, and worse yet, that our government doesn't seem to want us to know about them."

Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate


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