Porous U.S. Border A 'War Zone'

Slain Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Ranger Kris Eggle, shown in this undated handout photo, was shot and killed in the line of duty near the border on Aug. 9, 2002 AP

When it comes to securing our national borders in problem areas like Arizona's Organ Pipe Cactus National Park along the Mexican border, nobody has a more profound interest than Robert Eggle.

"It's a national problem that we have to deal with now," he says.

Eggle was invited to come along with a congressional delegation investigating border security at the national park, on the Mexican border.

His son, Kris, was a park ranger, gunned down last year by a fugitive fleeing Mexico -- a tragic testimonial to how porous the borders remain.

Scenes captured by infrared surveillance cameras reveal how easily fences can be breached. Anyone, including terrorists, can walk right into the U.S.

When his son worked here, Eggle was so worried about his safety, he used to volunteer to come and replace broken fencing, only to have it torn down again.

"They've taken our fence and they've moved it 25 feet into Mexico," says the Republican U.S. Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan. "The farmer over there took it, took a half-mile of U.S. border fence and moved it where he wanted it."

On this day, the delegation visits the place where Kris was murdered.

"Kris had his shotgun with him; he brought his shotgun up," says park ranger Dale Thompson. "One round hit Kris' radio and entered 90-degrees just underneath his body armor ... He probably didn't live more than five to ten minutes.

"This is very much a combat zone," says Eggle. "This scenario right here is every bit as dangerous an element of combat as anything that I faced in Vietnam."

"This is a war zone," says U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado. The Republican representative supports putting troops on the borders.

"And that's the question we have to ask ourselves as a nation: Is that what we want? Do we want to secure our borders?" he says.

Kris Eggle was recently honored in a ceremony outside Washington, D.C. But what his parents and sister, who is also a park ranger, really want is serious border security. It's the only thing they say will give meaning to Kris' sacrifice.
  • Jaime Holguin

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