LatinaLista — While doubts still linger over whether or not Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano is the right choice to lead the Department of Homeland Security, one fact that was made abundantly clear in today's confirmation hearing of her nomination was that she will have her hands full.
Homeland Security Secretary-designate Janet Napolitano, left, is greeted on Capitol Hill by Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Sen. Joseph Lieberman, right, and the committee's ranking Republican Sen. Susan Collins, prior to testifying before the committee's hearing on her nomination.
(Source: Kevin Wolf/Associated Press)
From worrying about where to house Katrina evacuees whose trailer housing comes due in March to thwarting any national cyber attacks to being on the lookout for terrorists at the nation's airports to preventing any biological weapons from being launched on the public to, of course, enforcing immigration laws and overseeing border security.
Yet, given the deteriorating conditions in Mexico, it's time that a separate department dealing only with Mexico and the United States be formed before what's happening south of the border finds its way into this country on a more prevalent scale.
There's no doubt that Governor Napolitano knows what she's in for. Her opening remarks today revealed that she is aware of the scope of the position.
But given the fact that she has been so busy preparing for this hearing and getting things settled in Arizona before she leaves and finding a place to live in DC, she may not be aware of just how much the situation is spiraling out of control in Mexico.
It's so bad that citizen vigilante groups are springing up in Juarez, Mexico. Claiming to be funded by local businesspeople fed up with the violence, they vow to kill a criminal every 24 hours.
Things are seen to be so bad in Mexico that a "Joint Operating Environment" (JOE 2008) report issued by the U.S. Joint Forces Command on global security threats predicted that if the level of violence continues in Mexico and the amount of corruption is allowed to increase and pervade all branches of the government and law enforcement, the end result could be that the state of Mexico has a "rapid and sudden collapse."
The Mexican possibility may seem less likely, but the government, its politicians, police, and judicial infrastructure are all under sustained assault and pressure by criminal gangs and drug cartels. How that internal conflict turns out over the next several years will have a major impact on the stability of the Mexican state. Any descent by Mexico into chaos would demand an American response based on the serious implications for homeland security alone.
Most people agree with the findings of the U.S. Joint Forces Command. A poll conducted on the El Paso Times website asking people if they thought Mexico could collapse in 2009 had 63 percent of the respondents agreeing with the statement that the drug lords were taking over the country.
Unless something major happens in Mexico to get a handle on this violence, it is reasonable to assume that it will continue on its course and probably fulfill the predictions made about it. That Mexico won't be able to contain the violence within its own borders is also a reasonable assumption.
For that reason, it's imperative now that the Obama administration create a separate department, outside of the Department of Homeland Security, to address only the issue of Mexico and how to help their government combat the escalating violence.
It is that important and has the potential to directly impact the safety of Americans that it goes beyond what is being done to prevent terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.
If Governor Napolitano really understood the implications of what is happening in Mexico, she would make it a priority to recommend to the President-elect that he create this special department.
Time is not on our side.