Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What to do About Mexico

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.


  1. Or 50 megatons should do the trick nicely.

  2. Findalis - I used to respect your opinions but your comment has seriously undermined that trust.

    Firstly, much of what is reported on Mexico is hysterical hyperbole. I live in the south of the country and feel much safer here than I do when visiting many US cities. There are parts of the country which are no-go areas, I admit, but then there are similar areas in the US and no-one is suggesting that they should be nuked (attractive as the elimination of Detroit, Chicago, Harlem etc. might be).

    Secondly, there is only one way to win the war on drugs and that is to recognise every individual´s right to destroy his own life, if desired, and legalise them. Until that happens nothing will improve.

  3. The southern part of Mexico is safe, but Americans don't travel there. Now for your northern border, it is starting to resemble Beirut on a Saturday night.

    Recently it was suggested that all of Mexico's problems are the fault of the US. Sorry, but we didn't install your corrupt governments (we have our own thank you). We didn't ask your people to climb over our border and illegally work in this country. Stop blaming the US!

    If Mexico had actually developed a real nation, and not a banana republic, then none of this would be happening.

    Yes Americans are angry. We are angry at people who break our laws by coming here illegally, forcing our schools to educate their children in Spanish, receiving free health care (something no citizen can get), free money in the form of welfare, and demand more.

  4. Findalis -

    Cancun is in the south. I don´t know how many Americans visit it every year but if Spring Break is anything to go by it´s in the millions.

    Secondly, yes, parts of the north are in a terrible state. I never denied it, merely stated that the same is true of parts of Chicago and New York and Detroit. I understand that per capita more of your young men are killed in the southside of Chicago than in Afghanistan or Iraq, for example. Another stat I saw suggested that there are more murders in the US each year than in Mexico. i know that this figure is misleading on a per capita basis, but it still means you´re more likely to be murdered there than in this country. Let´s start nuking, shall we?

    Thirdly, anyone who has blamed all of Mexico´ s problems on the US is clearly an idiot. But who was this mystery person? To invoke such a stupid statement as part of your defence and claim it as somehow representative of the opinions of all Mexicans, then fail to provide a source, is not just intellectually lazy but verges on the dishonest.

    Similarly, you go on about Mexico being a banana republic and Americans being angry, etc. and I don´t blame you. I´d be mad as hell - but that has nothing to do with the arguments about drugs. 1930s America was not a banana republic and they had a massive crime wave over the legality and supply of alcohol - all I stated is that there will be no winner as long as the prohibitionist laws we now have exist. Try addressing the topic and maybe we will get somewhere.

  5. Sorry to tell you but the so-called crimewave of Prohibition was in the 1920's and wasn't nearly at the level that we are seeing today. The crimes of the robber gangsters of the 1930's (such as Bonnie and Clyde, Pretty Boy Floyd, etc..), were not as numerous as Hollywood has made out.

    The person who has stated that the US is responsible for Mexico's problems was Vicente Fox.

    Oh and the US has never been a Banana Republic.

  6. OK, so I stand corrected on the dates of prohibition, although it did carry on into the 1930s, so you´re really just splitting hairs. As for the scale of the crime wave that followed its introduction, I think it´s fair to say it was ´massive´given the context of the times, and that the repercussions are still with us 80 years later. We are, after all, talking about the Mafia here, not the Girl Scouts, and Prohibition was their big break.

    As for the Fox quote, I can´t find it in Google, nor did wiki have any reference, despite having a section on his more controversial comments (including such minor upsets as the mispronounciation of a poet´s name) so I think it´s fair to say you still have work to do. Besides, while I´m sure he´s been critical of the US on many occasions I strongly doubt he ever blamed them for ALL Mexico´s problems, which is, after all, what you originally claimed and which I originally disputed.

    Last but not least, I made no claim that the USA was ever a banana republic so there seems little point in reprimanding me for saying so. Perhaps you misread the entry.

    Two things seem to be going on here, Findalis. The first is you think I´m part of the hate-America-crowd - I´m not, as other comments on this website will testify. I think the world of America and am eternally grateful for its existence and for the assistance it has given its poorer neighbours over the centuries.

    Secondly, you seem to have an aversion to addressing the point, other than to suggest nuking Mexico. What then? Nuke the Caribbean? Nuke South America? Nuke Africa, China, Europe and the Middle East? All because they´ll happily step into the void and provide your freeborn citizens with the products they so apparently crave. Get real. Prohibition leads to higher prices. Higher prices lead to increased profits. Increased profits lead to increased interest from criminals. Increased interest from criminals leads to corruption. Increased corruption leads to higher crime rates ... etc etc ... There is only one way to put an end to the vicious cycle of violence and that is to legalise the bloody things, the same way they legalised alcohol back in the 30s. I don´t hear of too many cases of Coors salesmen gunning down Miller salesmen these days. Do you?