Obama and the Drug Cartels
The Obama administration is once again throwing curveballs to the American public on their policy for dealing with the Mexican drug cartels. They are constantly stating that the border is safe and secure. This July there were new directives issued that would supposedly help curtail the drugs coming into America from Mexico.
One of these new directives requires gun dealers in the Southwestern border states, California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, to file a report with ATF when a person buys two or more semiautomatic rifles within five days. The administration sees this as an attempt to disrupt the weapon trafficking networks that divert firearms to the gun cartels.
Also, in July Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske, and US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin came up with a new strategy to deal with the drug runners coming across the border into America. This strategy only focuses on drug prevention and gives little attention to the unsecured border. Napolitano stated at this meeting that "we have been devoting really unprecedented efforts to making sure that the border is safe and secure," which is why she felt that the school programs were emphasized.
Everyone interviewed strongly felt that Napolitano's statement was completely false and the administration needs to make the border secure and safe. Although education and prevention are a component, demand will always be a factor and the immediate problem is not going to be solved by school anti-drug programs. Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne cited the fact that last year, just in the Tucson sector, there were 400,000 who crossed the border. Leo Banks, an Arizona journalist, stressed that there are fewer workers coming across, but there are more corridors that are out of control, with more drug traffickers "who are a nasty bunch, bolder, more violent, more sophisticated, and unafraid." There are isolated incidents spilling over into the US from kidnappings and murders, to bullets flying across the border. In Arizona Horne told of incidents of drug cartel violence: a beheading in Chandler, a policeman and one of his investigators shot, and a rancher killed.
Lucy Nashed, Deputy Press Secretary to Texas Governor Rick Perry, commented that the drug traffickers have become "increasingly confrontational in protecting their lucrative criminal enterprises ... It is an affront to suggest our border is secure as innocent lives on both sides continue to be threatened due to ongoing drug cartel violence. This administration's comments prove that they either don't understand or don't care about the turmoil occurring along our border."
Arizona Assemblyman John Kavanagh was of the same opinion as Sheriff Larry Dever who warns that the "the tentacles of the drug cartels reach far beyond the border. They have a network throughout the entire country. Every community throughout the US is at risk. Those of us on the border fight the battle every day. These communities will be the first to state when they feel safe and their livelihood is protected." The drugs do not stay on the border as evidenced by Arizona Assemblywoman Peggy Judd's statistics: "Drugs coming across the border are worth $9/lb., in Tucson they are worth $400/lb., in Phoenix $600/lb., and in Washington DC $1000/lb."
It is a fact that drugs and illegals come north and the money goes south. But do guns go south as well -- and will President Obama's new directive help? The ATF Fast and Furious fiasco did not try to stop gun dealers from selling to suspicious characters, but rather asked gun dealers to sell to them. According to Arizona State Senator Gail Griffin "the President did not apply his directive to his own ATF. He needs to clean up his own backyard before imposing regulations on the general public."
David Greenberg, an Arizona gun shop owner, commented to American Thinker that on three different occasions he was told to sell guns to suspicious characters, inform both ATF and ICE, and they will apprehend criminals before getting to the border. The one problem with that, according to Greenberg, is that his shop is approximately only three miles from the border. The Obama directive offends him. He considers himself a responsible American who will not sell to someone who he regards as suspicious or who wants to buy a multitude of semi-automatic weapons. Besides, he never received an official word about this new regulation. Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the oversight committee, in a conference call concurred to American Thinker that "The firearms dealers are on our side. That is the way this country works, law-abiding citizens work with law enforcement and we catch the bad guys."
Congressman Brian Bilbray (R-CA) regards this new regulation as ridiculous since "the bad guys will know how to get around these rules. Doesn't the President think that the bad guys would just move outside the line since there are 46 other states they can buy from? This is a PR move to cover for the Fast and Furious fiasco. They are trying to move the agenda away from them. Doesn't the President understand that the greatest source of Mexican guns comes from outside the US and that the US is used as a transport, specifically the Pacific ports?"
Law enforcement officials interviewed: Arizona Police Chief Alberto Melis and Sheriff Dever, a Border Patrol Agent, and ATF agent Jay Dobyns, explained that the majority of firearms, especially the heavy armaments, used by the cartels, comes from Europe, Central America, and Mexican army defectors, and that the directive is simply window dressing which will have no effect. Chairman Issa also pointed out that it is the Mexicans who claim the guns are coming from the US, although they will not allow the stockpile of weapons to ever be seen by US officials.
Since the Obama administration seems clueless in how to deal with this ongoing problem, do the experts have any solutions? ATF Agent Dobyns and Sherriff Dever want less rhetoric from the administration and more boots on the ground directly at the border. Assemblyman Kavanagh and Assemblywoman Judd agree with Senator Griffin that the fence needs to be completed and that inspections going into Mexico should not be superficial. Congressman Bilbray wants to require banks to ensure non-citizens have viable documentation before opening a bank account in this country.
Sherriff Melis wants Americans to understand that "it is about the money, stupid." Congresswoman Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) and Congressman Bilbray did just that last year when they introduced a bipartisan bill to deprive the cartels of their money base, through curbing the flow of drug money across U.S. borders, by closing a loophole that lets money in "stored value cards" (prepaid cards) go undeclared. Giffords explained at that time that her goal was "to tighten the screws and make it significantly more difficult for them to operate since the narco-terrorists and their drug cartels are wreaking havoc on communities all across Arizona and the nation."
The American public should wake up and realize how badly this problem is out of control. If it wants to address the problem effectively, the Obama administration needs to realize that superficial directives will not stop the cartels and that the federal government needs to make the border safe and secure to ensure America's sovereignty.