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In our opinion: Border patrol death raises questions about border security

Published: Thursday, Oct. 4 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

The death of a border patrol agent in what appears to be an ambush by drug smugglers is a tragic loss for his family and the community at large, and a sad reminder of the treacherous duty facing those assigned to keep the border secure.

Agent Nicholas J. Ivie, who grew up in Provo, leaves a widow and two young daughters. He is remembered as a man dedicated to his family, stalwart in his duty to the border patrol, a leader in his church, a man who had many friends, and at the age of 30, a full life ahead of him.

His loss will lead to another assessment of immigration policy and the effectiveness of efforts to secure the border with Mexico. The exact nature of the attack that caused his death remains under investigation, and few details have thus far been revealed. From what we know, Agent Ivie is the victim of a lawlessness that has permeated a culture contaminated with the evils of drug trafficking.

The issue of illegal immigration is not relevant in the context of Agent Ivie's death. It is about the rule of law on this side of the border, where we have been and should remain vigilant against the import of narcotics from the Mexican cartels.

As such, his death comes much like the loss of military personnel in foreign deployments. He is a casualty of a war against a pernicious disease that has unleashed a plague of anarchy in many parts of a bordering nation.

This latest incident is a horrible affirmation of the scope of that problem. Early news reports indicate Mexican authorities are holding or pursuing suspects. It is important that those responsible be brought to justice, but the sad reality is that because of a culture of corruption, we cannot be confident that Agent Ivie's killers will be dealt with in Mexico the way they would be in this country.

And that is precisely why our border policy must include vigorous and ongoing condemnation of the situation in Mexico that has allowed drug syndicates to amass power and wreak terror on much of the populace.

The terror can cross the border, as it did this week. Agent Nicholas J. Ivie stood with thousands of others assigned to protect against the infiltration of that culture.

As his family and community mourn his loss, it is important that we put aside our differences on how best to deal with illegal immigration in general and focus on the continuing necessity to make sure our border frontiers are safe from those who would cross them in violence and with criminal intent.

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