There is an escalating conflict on our border with Mexico, and not many people seem to be aware of it’s dire implications.
In the past three years, more than 10,000 people have been killed in what many pundits are now calling an authentic civil war in northern Mexico.
In 2008 alone, more people died in Mexico as a result of drug-related violence than in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. These battles are being waged between the highly aggressive and well-financed Mexican drug cartels and the poorly organized and unstable Mexican government.
Cocaine, heroine and methamphetamine produced in Central and South American countries – most notoriously Colombia – make their way to the United States through Mexico via drug trafficking cartels, which battle each other for control of the most lucrative routes.
Since the Mexican government, under pressure from the United States, began actively cracking down on the cartels, violence along the border has exploded.
The Mexican government has since found itself overwhelmed in combat against cartels which defend its operations with smuggled military-grade weaponry.
Simply put, the government seriously underestimated the great difficulty it would encounter.
Not only will the violence exasperate the flood of illegal aliens crossing the border, but we as a nation are seriously risking the movement of the conflict itself into our territory.
Reuters reports that Mexican drug cartels are operating in at least 230 U.S. cities.
Kidnappings, disappearances and even murders are already being reported in areas near the Mexico-U.S. Border.
In fact, states such as Texas and Arizona are now seeking federal funding to enhance their own border security and protection.
Both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama have displayed inexcusable hesitation in handling this situation.
This week, Obama pledged to deploy more than 500 additional agents to patrol the southern border. A fine first step, but we have yet to see a clear policy on the matter.
On Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Mexican President Felipe Calderon, to whom she apologized for America’s “insatiable demand for illegal drugs,” which she blamed for the violence, while ignoring Mexico’s complete failure to crack down on the corruption on its own soil.
Despite this contradictory nature of the Obama administration, there are good signs coming from Congress.
This week, Sen. Joe Lieberman proposed a much more significant expansion of border enforcement operations, including adding 1,600 agents to the payroll.
If we are to be serious about the security of our southern border, then we ought to consider more drastic measures.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is requesting 1,000 National Guard troops to supplement existing border enforcement agents. His worries that the violence will spill over are shared by other border state governors.
More drastic still, some are proposing the construction of an authentic wall between the United States and Mexico, and I find this option most appealing.
There are two main arguments against such a wall.
The first is that a border wall won’t work.
But what is “work” defined as?
Will a wall prevent 100 percent of all attempts to cross our border? Probably not, but to suggest that it wouldn’t have a remarkable impact on the flow of illegals into the country is laughable at best.
The Berlin Wall successfully reduced East-to-West border crossings between the two Germanys to an almost non-existent level.
The second argument is that it is inhumane to build such a wall.
Persons holding this opinion often point to the Berlin Wall as a disgraceful barrier imprisoning East Germans in their own country.
The problem with this argument is that, while the Berlin Wall was built to keep people in against their will, the U.S.-Mexico border wall would be built to keep people out against their will.
Large-scale border walls and barriers have gotten a pretty bad rap throughout history.
But instead of wastefully spending indeterminate amounts of money on ineffectively protecting our borders by other means, we should perhaps reexamine this age-tested and proven method of preventing human movement. Like the picket fence around your front yard, it may be the most effective and substantial method of keeping undesirable problems from entering your land.
Dan Palka is a senior advertising major from Palos Hills. He is the Scout ad graphics and Web editor.
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