Hispanic Americans did not come to this great land to replicate the conditions of Latin America—particularly the violence and corruption that plague our former homelands. Recent intense violence in Mexico serves as an ominous reminder of the dangers that lurk nearby and the necessity of gaining operational control of our border. This upheaval also presents an opportunity for President Trump to remind the electorate why his election was so vital: for decades, American elites have willingly surrendered our national sovereignty and jeopardized the national and economic security of our country.
American elites have willingly surrendered our national sovereignty and jeopardized the national and economic security of our country.
Two events last week encapsulated the systemic violence that has embroiled our southern neighbor in recent years. First, thirteen Mexican policeman were killed in a brutal roadside ambush in Michoacán when dozens of gunmen, using high-caliber weapons, attacked from “presumably armored” vehicles. The brazen gangsters even left posters on the charred police cars signed with the initials of their Jalisco cartel.
Then, last Thursday, an all-out street battle erupted in the upscale neighborhood of Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa state. Government forces briefly captured two sons of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the drug kingpin now imprisoned in the United States. One son was quickly freed from custody by his own armed security, after which he launched a massive and coordinated assault to free his brother, Ovidio. The normally quiet neighborhood became a war zone, resembling scenes from Syria: burning cars, billowing black smoke, and heavily-armed combatants. Amid the crackle of gunfire, the cartel methodically blockaded roads, took military members hostage, freed inmates, and took control of the city. The Mexican authorities relented and released El Chapo’s son to prevent further conflagration.
Such a capitulation may well mark a turning point in the already-bloody battles of cartel violence that beset our southern neighbor. Mexico will likely set a grisly all-time record for homicides this year, with almost twice as many total murders as the United States, despite having 200 million fewer people.
The increasingly powerful cartels that inflict much of this misery not only control the flow of narcotics, but also of people. As former ICE Acting Director Tom Homan said recently on a panel discussion at the National Press Club: “Nothing happens on that northern [Mexican] border without the blessing and paying off of the drug cartels.” On the same panel, Sheriff Andy Louderback of Jackson County, Texas added that “the penetration of the cartels is profound” in the border regions.
For too long, American elites willingly ignored the dangers of de-facto open borders and largely unfettered illegal migration.
For too long, American elites willingly ignored the dangers of de facto open borders and largely unfettered illegal migration. On the GOP side, big business welcomed a steady stream of cheap labor. Across the aisle, the Democrats embraced the potential of huge new voting constituencies via amnesties and the offspring of illegal immigrants.
But these awful recent events in Mexico should awaken Americans to the realities of these proximate dangers and spur action to vastly improve control over our borders. While a complete border wall would not solve every problem at the border, it would clearly be a massive boon to law enforcement. New prohibitive barriers already deter trespassers and smugglers in places like San Diego, CA. The chief patrol agent for that sector, Douglas Harrison described the utility of freshly-installed steel bollard fencing: “it’s an intimidating barrier. I’m an old Army guy, I was in the 101st Airborne and I would not try to cross that.”
In addition to the wall, we need to reform our antiquated asylum laws. Far too many economic migrants exploit these laws for entry into our country. Further, we must harness technology to better track visa overstays where legal temporary entries become illegal permanent residents.
Not all the news from south of the border is bad. Mexico has become a good neighbor, at last cooperating in deterring mass caravans of illegal crossers into America. Economic growth continues in Mexico, and President Trump’s tough trade stance toward China augurs well for increased commerce within the Americas. But we cannot close our eyes to the stark realities and foreboding dangers afflicting Mexico.
President Trump should use his position and platform to warn the American people of the dire situation within Mexico, making the case that porous US border only enhances the power of these deadly cartels. Further escalation in Mexico will likely bring carnage into our own country. As a corollary, consider the recent barbaric crimes in the United States committed by MS-13 and other transnational gangs which germinated in Central America.
With persuasive messaging, the good sense of the American people will surely prevail, and see the President to a 2020 re-election, along with other federal candidates who support strenuous border protection and enhanced migration controls.
For centuries, America has been blessed by millions of Latin Americans, like my father, who brought their culture, faith, and dreams to America. They also have no interest in seeing the problems of Latin America—especially socialism, corruption, and violence—imported to the United States.