LatinaLista — The U.S.-Mexico border has become synonymous with the issue of national security — but for two different reasons. On the one hand, immigration restrictionists still cite a "porous" border being the reason for the arrival of undocumented immigrants. On the other hand, residents along the U.S. side of the border cite the region's proximity to Mexican cartel violence and the witnessing of that violence striking too close to home.
Between the two reasons, it's the issue of cartel violence spilling over onto the US side proving to be the bigger threat to national security.
With cartels using sophisticated weapons, corrupting public officials, and even law enforcement officers, along the US-Mexico border region so they can transport drugs and conduct human trafficking into the United States, the threat to the nation's national security by cartel violence is very real — and has already arrived.
The problem is politicians from both parties are framing the issue of national security in such a way that it ignores the real threat that exists, or the real solutions that would put the minds of border residents at ease.
Of all the border states, Texas shares the longest border with Mexico. For that reason, it makes sense that more Texas residents would encounter cartel violence on this side of the border — and they have. The rate of spillover violence has become so disturbing to state officials that the state's Department of Agriculture launched a new 16-part video series titled “Texas Traffic – True Stories of Drug and Human Smuggling.”
According to a letter posted by the Texas Secretary of Agriculture Todd Staples on the Protect Your Texas Border website:
America’s war on terrorism has sent thousands of troops overseas, but the reality is, there is a growing threat here at home. At an increasingly alarming rate, violent Mexican drug cartels are illegally crossing our border, invading Texas farms and ranches, threatening the lives of our fellow citizens and jeopardizing our nation’s food supply.
With ProtectYourTexasBorder.com, the Texas Department of Agriculture documents the true stories of those who supply our food under the constant danger of criminals who have crossed our border illegally. Through this website, I implore the federal government to enforce our laws and secure our nation’s borders. We are at war and our federal government must answer its call of duty to protect its citizens and our national security.
Until Washington stands beside us, Texas is prepared to take matters into its own hands to the fullest extent possible. Texas will fight and protect to the best of our ability, but a successful campaign to stop border violence will require Washington to acknowledge this threat as a national security issue and assign the appropriate resources to combat and defeat our enemies. I can assure you a threat to our citizens and food supply is a threat to our national security…
In addition to the videos, the site presents links to the latest news articles covering the border region, hosts a library of documents about border issues, and photographs of the region. The site also solicits stories from border residents who have witnessed cartel violence.
The kind of violence that is happening along the Texas-Mexico border is real and it is crossing into the United States. It is unfortunate that the Texas Dept. of Agriculture chooses to dilute their message by mixing grainy images of real cartel violence alongside images of immigrants illegally entering the country by swimming across the river. From the interviews posted, it's clear the border residents know who is posing the real danger to their communities. As Othal Brand, a life-long resident of south Texas and a Hidalgo County Water District supervisor, said, this issue isn't a social or political (issue) but an issue of endangerment of "property and life."
Cartel violence is a separate entity from undocumented immigration and for real progress to be made on keeping the nation safe politicians can do us all a favor by not politicizing or distorting an already bad situation.