LatinaLista — By now, it’s a given that when the issue of immigration is brought up in any political debate, presidential or not, the pat answer is that the border must be secure first.
It’s an answer that is both disingenuous and dangerous.
When political candidates talk about securing the border first, they’re talking about keeping undocumented immigrants looking for work from entering the United States and tying “terrorists” into the equation. It’s an issue that has become more of a non-issue these days regarding illegal immigration.
And aside from federal intelligence gatherers, no one can really speak to how true or prevalent is the allegation that terrorists are streaming across the southern border. As it is, officials and security experts debate among themselves now as to the extent of any crossover violence from Mexico’s ruthless cartel battles.
Yet, when Mexican officials try to talk to the US about border security, it usually falls on deaf ears. It’s a topic that makes Mexicans bristle but not for the same reasons as for US politicians. Mexicans are angered that the United States is not taking seriously the part it plays in Mexico’s border security, and they should be.
The two main border security arguments lodged by Mexican officials deal with drugs and guns — the insatiable consumption of the US for illegal drugs and the lax gun laws in this country that allow for guns to easily find their way into cartel hands.
When any US politician defines border security threats as undocumented immigrants trespassing into US space — with the remote chance of a terrorist in the group, they’re not only ignorant about foreign affairs on our nation’s doorstep and the destabilizing role the United States is playing in it but they’re shifting attention from what the tangible threat is these days — US citizens and residents enabling the bloodiest war in Mexico either through buying drugs trafficked across the border or trafficking in guns for cartels.
That is the true and dangerous border security threat and one that threatens to undermine the democracy of both countries — not to mention, it’s an issue worthy of debate on how to solve it.