By Steve Taylor and Raul de la Cruz
Rio Grande Guardian
McALLEN, TX - The Texas Border Coalition says President Obama should have made a commitment to investing more in infrastructure at ports of entry at the nation’s southern border in his State of the Union address.
“President Obama missed an opportunity for bold action this evening by failing to sign on to a strategy that refocuses America’s border security priorities where our nation is most vulnerable: at the legal border crossings,” said Eagle Pass Mayor and TBC Chair Ramsey Cantu.
“Powerful drug cartels from Mexico continue to enjoy commercial success along the Southwestern border, smuggling more drugs than ever into the country through these legal crossings.
The TBC is a collective voice of border mayors, county judges, economic development commissions focused on issues that affect 2.5 million people along the Texas-Mexico border region and economically disadvantaged counties from El Paso to Brownsville.
The group believes the federal government needs to provide another $6 billion in funding for infrastructure and technology and an additional 6,000 customs inspection agents to protect America's borders and promote legitimate trade and tourism with Mexico. The group wants these recommendations added to Obama’s budget submission to Congress, which is due in February.
The TBC recently issued a report issued a white paper on border security, titled “Without Strategy: America’s Border Security Blunders Facilitate and Empower Mexico’s Drug Cartels.”
In the report, TBC asserts that the U.S. government has spent nearly $90 billion over the past decade to secure the Southwest border, with no better than mixed results. It says that while apprehension rates are up to 90 percent for undocumented persons seeking to cross the frontier between designated U.S.-Mexico border crossings, Mexican drug cartels continue to enjoy commercial success, smuggling more drugs than ever into the country through the nation’s legal border crossings. Click here to read the white paper.
Cantu said it is “unfortunate” Obama did not mention that powerful drug cartels from Mexico continue to enjoy commercial success along the Southwestern border, or the fact that Department of Homeland Security has yet to develop a cohesive strategy to confront them.
“A sensible approach would be to attack the drug smuggling operations where they occur and anticipate where they might move in response – a strategy that requires greater federal investment in more U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel and technology."
The only time Obama mentioned border security in his State of the Union speech was in reference to comments on immigration reform. He said there are more Border Patrol agents working on the border than ever before. Here is the passage on immigration:
Let’s also remember that hundreds of thousands of talented, hardworking students in this country face another challenge: the fact that they aren’t yet American citizens. Many were brought here as small children, are American through and through, yet they live every day with the threat of deportation. Others came more recently, to study business and science and engineering, but as soon as they get their degree, we send them home to invent new products and create new jobs somewhere else.
That doesn’t make sense…