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March 25, 2009
Border fence can’t hide growing challenges in Mexico

A fence at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Over the last year, Mexico has been swept up in a tidal wave of drug violence. Things have gotten so bad that, according to a recent Pentagon report, the country risks a “sudden collapse.” For more, listen to our online radio show on Mexico’s war on drugs.

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Mexico for a series of high level talks. Not only does the Pentagon assessment have Mexican officials bristling, there are lingering resentments over other issues too — there’s a growing trade dispute and ill will over the construction of that giant border fence.

Worldfocus editorial consultant Peter Eisner, the former deputy foreign editor of the Washington Post, writes about engaging with Mexico and its troubles rather than building fences.

“Show me a 50-foot fence, and I’ll show you a 51-foot ladder.”

That quote from Janet Napolitano when she was governor of Arizona makes more sense every day. Napolitano, now the Secretary of Homeland Security, was referring to the multibillion dollar, 700-mile long fence being built along the U.S.-Mexican border.

The idea of the controversial fence was to stop illegal immigration and drug trafficking across the border. Many people — including most people in the Mexican government — agree with Napolitano that the fence was a bad idea.

For many, the fence has come to symbolize arrogance and disinterest in dealing with real issues, such as poverty that fuels immigration, and consumer demand that supports the multibillion dollar cocaine, marijuana and heroin trade out of Mexico.

And if anybody in the United States still thinks the fence can hide the uncomfortable reality across the Rio Grande, they’re deceived.

The wave of drug violence in Mexico is bleeding over into the United States, and U.S. military officials fear a worse scenario: One Pentagon study says that Mexico, like Pakistan, faces the prospect of being unable to deal with the violence and could become a failed state.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is diving right into talks about drug cooperation, trade and other issues today and tomorrow in Mexico City and Monterrey. And President Obama is scheduled to go to Mexico in less than a month.

The administration has an opportunity to come up with answers that would include engagement with the Mexican government rather than building barriers. The answers will probably be costly, but there is rising sentiment in Washington that Mexico can’t be left, as one analyst recently said, to “muddle through somehow” on its own.

– Peter Eisner

Photo courtesy of Flickr user jcarter under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments

4 comments

#4

If Mexico and other Latin American countries would cease their infantile behaviour and concentrate on leading, then their nations might move forward. Rather, they behave as a spoiled child than heads of state. My sympathies are with President Obama, since he is the only mature person and has to deal with immaturity. Handing our president a book on the poor little latin americans versus the big bad US is a study in nonsense 101. Did that book have any chapter on the destruction of the Mayan, Axtec and Incan empires, or the fact that these countries have exported their crime and drugs around the world? I am sure it did not. Oh, I forgot. America is the only country who frequents the Latin American drug stores. If that were true, then our society would be as disastrous as those south of the border are. And still they come here, illegally.

#3

still not welcoming the messiah ,2,000 years later!!!

#2

American Border Patrol has information that shows that when properly installed the border fence reduces illegal immigration and drug smuggling significantly. The American people deserve a full, open discussion of the fence and the results it has achieved. DHS has all the data necessary to do this.

#1

STOP THE INVASION BY ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS!!

In the last 22 years, since the 1986, Reagan, one-time amnesty, over 26 million illegals have been apprehended, after they crossed the border into our United States.

UNITED STATES BORDER APPREHENSIONS (Source DHS/CBP)
1987–1,190,488——1995–1,394,554——2003—-931,557
1988–1,008,145——1996–1,649,986——2004–1,160,395
1989—-954,243——1997–1,412,953——2005–1,189,075
1990–1,169,939——1998–1,555,776——2006–1,089,902
1991–1,197,875——1999–1,579,010——2007—-876,704
1992–1,258,482——2000–1,676,438——2008—-723,825
1993–1,327,259——2001–1,266,213——2009—-
1994–1,094,717——2002—-955,310

However, less than 1, out of 4, illegals, crossing into our United States, are estimated to have been apprehended.

According to the U.S. Immigration Service another 6 million illegals in our country are visa overstays.

Lack of E-verify in the Stimulus Bill only entices even more illegals to enter our country!!

Peter Eisner is an editorial consultant with Worldfocus and a 30-year veteran of international news. He has been an editor and foreign correspondent at The Washington Post, Newsday and The Associated Press. He co-authored “The Italian Letter,” which details fraudulent intelligence leading up to the Iraq War. He was founder and president of Newscom, an international online news service, and speaks Spanish and Portuguese.

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