MARCH 25, 2011
Violence along the Mexican border is merely a mistaken “perception” because the area is better now than it ever has been thanks to the Obama Administration’s commitment to “fostering a secure and prosperous” region.So says Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano who is beginning to sound like a desperate salesperson pushing a cheap product no one believes in. Napolitano’s latest pitch came this week at a port of entry in El Paso called theBridge of the Americas. Joined by a group of local business leaders and politicians, Napolitano jubilantly declared that the area is safe and “open for business.”Unfortunately, “misinformation about safety” is negatively impacting border communities by driving visitors away and hurting local businesses, Napolitano says. None of this is true, according to Madame Secretary who assures that “some ofAmerica’s safest communities are in the Southwest border region…” In fact, border city crime rates have remained steady or dropped over the past decade, Napolitano points out.The reality is that Mexican drug-cartel violence has reached epic proportions and routinely spills into the very towns Napolitano promotes as “America’s safest communities.” Federal agents have come under siege by heavily armed drug smugglers and local media has exposed record levels in crimes associated with illicit narcotics operations. In fact, more than 13,000 people were murdered across Mexicolast year in disturbing and cruel ways not previously seen.Ironically, Mexico’s most violent region (Ciudad Juarez) borders El Paso, the very place Napolitano chose to deliver this week’s rosy assessment. Last fall a myriad of bullets fired into El Paso, striking City Hall and a public university building. The local sheriff says the gun battles are breaking out everywhere but his hands are tied because he’s legally forbidden from intervening in another country’s war. The disturbing incident inspired Texas’s Attorney General to send President Obama aletter saying his state is under constant assault from illegal activity threatening a porous border.About a month later, amid escalating violence, Napolitano declared that the Mexican border “is as secure as it has ever been.” The famous words, ridiculed in the press worldwide, came days after U.S. Border Patrol agents engaged in a violent gunshot battle with Mexican drug smugglers along the Rio Grande in Texas. The federal officers came under siege during a bust that netted half a ton of U.S.-bound marijuana.
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