Cross-posted by Gary Fouse
As much as has been written about the situation in Mexico, at this point, it appears that the crisis is reaching critical mass. The cartel drug wars along the Mexico-US border have escalated dramatically and are spilling over across the border. Phoenix is now the kidnapping capital of the US as Mexican drug gangs kidnap other Mexicans-mostly over unpaid drug debts. Over 6,000 people have been murdered in Mexico in the past year, either by shooting or in some cases, by beheading. Some voices are even saying the country is in danger of collapsing. Police officials are also being gunned down in northern Mexican cities. As I write this, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Mexico City conferring with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who, to his credit, has sent the Mexican Army north to fight the cartels along the border. Clinton is pledging more financial aid to Mexico and laying much of the blame on the US for furnishing weapons in cross-border smuggling as well as our insatiable drug habit. She is correct in both those respects (though Mexico has always been awash in weapons), but both countries now have reached the point where drastic action is necessary. As a retired DEA agent, here is what I think needs to be done.
First of all, I don't think more money is the answer. We have pumped billions into Mexico in trying to help them fight the drug war. Much of it has been wasted due to corruption. Yes, we should step up our efforts to stop the weapon smuggling. Yes, we should try to decrease our demand for drugs-an effort that has failed to now to our national embarrassment.
What Mexico must do-in its own defense-is make the drug traffickers disappear, and I don't much care how they do it. At the point when any segment of society is threatened with death if they stand up to the traffickers-as the police are-then I say let them do what they have to do and ignore the human rights crowd. At the same time, they need to be told that the US will no longer be a safety valve for their impoverished citizens to find a way to make a living. Mexico needs to clean up its corruption and provide a decent education and employment opportunities for their citizens or they can face the wrath of their own people.
What we must do is:
First, the State Department has to take the (for them) drastic step of issuing a full-scale travel advisory. Travel to Mexico is dangerous to your health. Don't go.
Then we must:
Secure the border-and the interior. This is way beyond the question of illegal immigration. As I have said before, we can't possibly round up and deport 12-15 million persons, and there are valid arguments for treating them in a humane manner. We can, however, go after the criminal element among them. That means that the federal government has to make it clear to sanctuary cities that their federal funding will be cut off if they persist in not cooperating with ICE. If we don't now have the laws to prosecute local officials who ignore federal immigration laws, then we need to pass laws and start locking up these officials. City and state police must work with ICE-in the jails, on the streets and in their file rooms to exchange information, identify criminal illegal aliens and go get them. Once they are in custody, they should be quickly deported and turned over to their own governments (I am talking specifically about Mexico and El Salvador.) It may take some changes in immigration laws or policies, but there is no constitutional protection for another citizen to be in this country illegally.
When I say secure the border, I am not talking about sending another 500 agents to the border along with more technology. Certainly, the government in Washington needs to stop treating the Border Patrol like bastard step-children and start supporting them. But that is not sufficient. What is needed is a double fence and a large military presence along the whole 2,000 mile border with Mexico. We could start by using the National Guard troops from the four border states. By doing that, we can put a serious crimp in the number of illegal aliens getting across the border as well as drugs. It could also help cut down on the weapons smuggling-though what may be needed is expanded Customs export search authority-which many nations have. We use it to enforce laws against smuggling of currency out of the country; we can use it for weapons as well. We can also tell all these banks that the Government wants to dictate to that they must stop giving mortgages to people who present nothing more than a Matricular Consular card (furnished by Mexican consulates) as ID.
The US-Mexican border is now probably the biggest crime area in the world. From Matamoros to Tijuana, people are dying every day. What is happening to the decent population of Mexico is an atrocity. We cannot allow this to continue to spill over onto our side. By allowing this situation to continue we do no favor to the Mexican people. It is a national security issue for both countries at this point. It should be treated as such.