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It’s time for Washington to quickly address Mexico’s cartel violence in the U.S.

It’s time for Washington to quickly address Mexico’s cartel violence in the U.S.

LatinaLista — Quiz question: What city in the world has the second most kidnappings?
If right now you're thinking that Mexico City has the unique distinction of being the #1 city in the world for kidnappings, you're right. But the city that has the second most kidnappings may surprise you — Phoenix, Arizona.

Phoenix kidnapping victim suffers torture until rescued by police.
(Source: ABC News)

Even with Sheriff Joe Arpaio prowling the streets, Phoenix had over 370 kidnappings last year alone.
According to ABC News, the kidnappings are a result of the Mexican drug cartel violence that has seeped across the border and even some local copycat criminals.
But what's really scary is that all these kidnappings were happening when the nation's new Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, was governor of Arizona.

On the one hand, now that Sec. Napolitano is in Washington, hopefully she will be able to push for a special department that deals only with Mexico and Mexican-origin crime committed in the United States as it pertains to the drug cartels.
On the other hand, that Sec. Napolitano failed to do anything against the escalating crime that occurred under her watch in her home state doesn't bode well for the nation.
News that Phoenix rivals only Mexico City in the amount of kidnappings is not just a red flag that the United States needs a special department to handle Mexican crime affairs but a whole, as they say, freakin fireworks display.
There was a reason why kidnappings were not common crimes — the punishment was harsh. Yet, Mexican criminals who find easy money and a power trip from intimidating their kidnap victims and little to worry about from their own government, are feeling empowered to bring their own brand of crime to this side of the border.
These criminals are attacking each other and innocent undocumented immigrants. In the process, the border is being breached by real criminals that are much more immediate threats than Al Queda.
While it's necessary for Obama to focus on Al Queda, unfortunately, it's also necessary to acknowledge the real threat posed by the Mexican drug cartels.
It's imperative that Obama and his team set up a separate departmental agency dealing with not only helping Mexico rid their country of these drug cartels but also firmly putting a stop to them committing crimes on this side of the border.
We've already seen where the ethics of some border law enforcement officials have been compromised by cartel bribes. New laws must be enacted to impose harsh punishments on those U.S. citizens who choose to help Mexican organized crime. The laws must be severe enough that no amount of money is worth the risk.
It will be a long and dangerous battle to regain control from these cartels but the longer the United States waits to react to this threat, the longer it will take to subdue it.

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