LatinaLista — Today the Obama administration released their idea of a comprehensive U.S.-Mexico border security package. All that can be said at this point is that if this is their idea of comprehensive, then when it comes time for the next “comprehensive” response, a.k.a. immigration reform (CIR), then we all have something to look forward to.
The U.S.-MEXICO BORDER SECURITY POLICY: A COMPREHENSIVE RESPONSE & COMMITMENT is much more in-depth than what the original Merida Initiative outlined. The U.S. response is not just about throwing money at Mexico and telling them to solve this problem but for the first time, addresses the role U.S. demand for drugs plays in this ongoing battle.
It is extremely refreshing to see a security policy come out of Washington that understands the realities of this volatile and deadly situation and is applying ideas that don’t just positively address the issues but takes the necessary responsibility and blame for the increase in cartel violence by setting up a coordinated effort among all departments of federal law enforcement on both sides of the border.
Yet, this doesn’t mean that everyone likes it.
Texas Governor Rick Perry is disappointed that President Obama isn’t going to militarize the border by sending National Guard troops, as he made the case for them in a special letter sent to the President on his behalf.
On the other hand, Mayor Salinas of Laredo, Texas, a border town that has seen its fair share of violence across the international bridge, thinks the Obama plan is on target for not going the militarization route, which would seem like a reactive versus a proactive response:
â€œLaredo is a very safe city, with violent crime rates well below the national average. Still, to be proactive in responding to the challenges our neighbors and friends in Mexico are facing is only prudent,â€ said Salinas.
As a career public safety professional, I am very happy to see the Presidentâ€™s plan focuses on cutting off the money and guns that flow to the cartels from the United States into Mexico. To me, this effort reflects a law enforcement response, not just political posturing.â€
Salinas continued by saying: â€œWe need more boots on the ground and I welcome the announcement of the increased number of DEA, ATF, Customs and Border Patrol agents that the plan calls for. It is only through sharing intelligence and a coordinated effort of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies that can we continue to protect our citizens,â€
â€œThe best long term investment the federal government can make for sustained border security is to help fund additional local police officers and support for public safety equipment such as interoperable radios and rescue craft.
However, in a morning White House press briefing Department of Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano made it known that she plans to see Gov. Perry on Thursday of this week to see just exactly what he had in mind for those troops.
To even review the highlights of the U.S.-Mexico border security policy would make this a far too lengthy post, so I will focus on highlight that wasn’t even mentioned throughout the whole press release detailing the border security policy â€” the border wall.
And it seems for good reason.
The following is an exchange between a media representative and Sec. Napolitano at this morning’s White House release of the border security plan:
Q I have a question here. Mexico has always complained that part of the reason they have this huge drug-trafficking problem is because of U.S. consumption of drugs here. So I was wondering if your plan encompasses some sort of plan to fight against consumption here.
And on the other hand, restrictionist groups in the U.S. have said that this is all the more reason why the border wall needs to be completed. Can you tell us what’s going on with the completion of the wall along the border?
SECRETARY NAPOLITANO: With respect to demand, yes, that is part and parcel and needs to be. This is a supply issue and it’s a demand issue. In the stimulus package, there was approximately $70 million for drug courts, which have been very effective in reducing recidivism among drug offenders. I look forward to working with the new head of the National Drug Control Office to see what else can be done to increase our demand-reduction programs. But that obviously has to be a part.
In terms of the wall itself, we are going to complete the sections that had already been begun and for which there already were appropriations. To the extent we request any other sections it will part and parcel of a system that includes technology and manpower.
But if you’ve ever worked on these cartel cases, as I have as prosecutor, you know that a wall is not the best way to spend our dollars to prevent these drugs from coming into the United States and to be able to apprehend and prosecute the smugglers themselves.
The administration’s public stand against further expansion of the wall shows an affirmation to using reason and analysis when confronting this very real problem. As someone told me over the weekend, who lives along the Texas-Mexico border, the wall accomplishes nothing at keeping the country secure from cartel violence because too many cartel members already live on this side of the border.
The key is to stop the flow of money, drugs and arms that financially and psychologically empowers these groups and which have been operating quite smoothly with the wall already in place. As far as the wall diverting illegal immigration into the U.S., the stats show the impact is minimal at best.
It’s time to spend money wisely and stop financing a failed ideology.