FEBRUARY 13, 2013
As the nation’s Homeland Security Secretary toured the Mexican border area this week to promote how safe it is, the State Department quietly issued an alert warning about the region’s escalating drug-cartel violence.
Who should Americans believe? Here are the choices from two different U.S. government sources just days apart; the U.S. Consulate General in Nuevo Laredo Mexico issued a security message warning of at least eight murders, five arson attacks and three grenade explosions in the vicinity of the American consular office in the Mexican city that borders Texas. “Danger to innocent bystanders is high,” the State Department makes clear in its alert, which also predicts that “similar attacks are likely to continue in the near-term.”
The responsible parties are so-called Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCO), the government’s code phrase for drug cartels. For years they have been engaged in gun battles over who controls smuggling routes in to the U.S. and the violence has transformed the southern border into a war zone. The situation is so dire that Texas created an official web site to keep farmers and residents informed about the growing danger created by Mexican drug cartels illegally crossing into the state
The second choice in the who to believe game is Janet Napolitano, the Obama cabinet official on a public relations campaign to appease lawmakers who insist on securing the border before budging on immigration reform. In the last few years the Homeland Security Secretary has conducted highly publicized tours of the southern border region to assure that it’s “as secure as it has ever been,” even as violence escalates and overwhelmed federal agents are increasingly attacked by heavily armed drug smugglers.
This week, even as the State Department issued its latest Mexican violence alert, Napolitano visited the area to brag about increased enforcement as she pushed for Obama’s overhaul of immigration laws. “I believe the border is secure,” she told the media. “I believe the border’s a safe border. That’s not to say everything is 100 percent.”
During a different stop on this week’s Mexican border jaunt, an El Paso newspaper quoted Napolitano saying this: “It’s imperative we modernize the immigration system. Now, there’s been some insistence that an overhaul of our immigration laws must wait until the border is secure. That argument not only ignores the unprecedented gains we’ve made in border security, it suffers from a fundamental flaw.”
Days before Napolitano’s visit to the region, a U.S. senator from Texas issued a statement saying “I hope Sec. Napolitano returns to Washington and relays to the President and Senate Democrats what Texans already know: our border is not secure and the federal government has a long way to go.”
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