For our monthly meeting of Republican women, we were privileged to hear a talk given by Joan Neuhaus Schaan, Fellow in Homeland Security and Terrorism at the James A. Baker Institute for Public Policy. She is also the Executive Director for Houston-Harris County Regional Homeland Security Advisory Council.
Joan is an expert with unquestionable credentials. She was mobilized to active duty for Operation Noble Eagle/Enduring Freedom and deployed to Northern Command's 24 Operational Intelligence Watch in Cheyenne Mountain. At the conclusion of her tour, she was awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and authorized to wear the Joint Chiefs of Staff insignia.
Her topic was border security along the Mexican border. Here are some points made during her talk to us:
Mexico is rapidly becoming a Narco State - organized crime rules. It is the rule of lead (guns) and the rule of gold.
Approximately 6,000 deaths in Mexico just in the last year - compared to the deaths of U.S. troops in Iraq since 2003 totalling 4222.
The Mexican culture is one of accepting money for favors.
219 municipalities in Mexico have political campaigns funded by illegal trafficking monies.
62% of law enforcement are on the payroll of drug cartels.
The press is silenced by the murder of journalists.
Yesterday, a story appeared on Reuters.com with the headline: U.S. Napolitano: Mexico border violence reduced. So, I emailed it to Joan and she replied that while the level may have declined, the reports out of Mexico indicate the levels remain above that of last year.
An article appeared in a Mexican newspaper on a joint operation between the Mexican Army and Federal Police in Chihuahua which states there have been 57 murders in the month of April 2009 which was higher than the total for April 2008. Napolitano was testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee and stated,"Yes we have seen a reduction in violence" due to the Mexican troops sent to Juarez. Even she admitted there is no way to know how long any reduction would last.
Homeland Security efforts along the Mexican border are woefully understaffed and under financed. While it is easy for the naysayers to claim it is racism to want secure borders, it goes to the corrupt and failing Mexican efforts to govern their own country. Mexican law enforcement officers and Chiefs of Police are fleeing to the U.S. border towns to escape death threats and kidnapping efforts on their families. It continues to spiral out of control.
Drug cartels are smuggling their goods by ever increasing sophistication. They build mock semi trailer trucks that sport the logos of American grocers and delivery services. The border is patrolled by thugs outfitted in military uniforms. Weapons are transported across the border for use by the drug cartels.
Environmental groups are suing along the border fence sections, claiming damage to native wildlife and terrain. Yet, statistics show that illegal immigration along the border at San Diego, for example, has been cut by more than 90%.
Border security is much more than simply keeping human beings out of our country. The transportation of drugs and weapons is much more destructive.