Where's The Outrage Now?: It was less than two years ago outrage spread through U.S. cities on the pretext illegal immigrants from Mexico were taking jobs from Americans. Today, the Mexican drug cartels are killing more people on an average day than in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and in the recent Mumbai terrorist attacks. Nary a whimper in protest is heard. The Mexican drug wars are more than bad guys killing bad guys. They could topple the Mexican government which, despite its corruption, is as effective as firing bee bees against tanks. In Juarez, across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, telephone messages and banners threatened teachers that if they failed to pay protection money to cartels, their students would suffer brutal consequences. Local authorities responded by assigning 350 teenage police cadets to the city's 900 schools. In Ciudad Juarez, a man was beheaded. His bloody corpse was suspended on an overpass. No one had the courage to remove the body until dark. While Mexican citizens live in fear, U.S. officials remain numb. The cartels' henchmen so far have not killed or held ransom innocent U.S. tourists or businessmen. Consequently, our citizens north of the border are looking the other way. Big mistake.
Workers No, Drugs Si: Mexico is the U.S.'s second largest trading partner and U.S. tourism is Mexico's second largest industry. With the U.S. in full economic recession, hundreds of thousands of the estimated 10 million undocumented Latino workers are returning home. Money these people earned in the U.S. and sent home to families is down 20% in 2008. Illegal immigration -- the only border issue that seems to stir the masses -- was avoided like the plague in the recent U.S. presidential primaries and debates. While the economic meltdown slackened the illegal immigrant debate, recent drug interdiction along the U.S. border stuffs the drug cartels' coffers. What hasn't slackened is America's thirst for these drugs. Illicit drug prices are at an all-time high on U.S. streets. In 37 states the price of cocaine has gone up by as much as 24%, while the average purity has dropped by 11%. In a power bid for dominance a year ago, the two largest crime groups, the Sinaloa and Gulf cartels, murdered 250 people by February 2008. By April the toll spiked to 900. Under President Felipe Calderon, Mexico has spent about $7 billion purging the federal, state and municipal police from corruption. The U.S. Congress has authorized $1.6 billion to interdict drug trafficking. Partial construction of a 2,000-mile border fence between the U.S. and Mexico hasn't worked. The illegals find new gaps for passage. The drug cartels fly over or sail around the wall. U.S.-Mexican forces have seized 270 airplanes and at least one submarine carrying 500 pounds of cocaine operated by the syndicates.
Root Cause Ignored: Multiple researchers propose focusing on prevention, treatment and education programs to curb demand rather than the continued support of combating the supply of drugs. Studies show that military interdiction efforts fail because they ignore the root cause of the problem: U.S. demand. The Bush administration proposed cutting spending on drug treatment and prevention programs by $73 million, or 1.5%, in the 2009 budget, which hasn't been approved yet.
The moral to this story is Americans protest vigorously the influx of illegal migrant workers and the burden some of them weigh on our healthcare system. Yet, they turn their backs on the addictive vile the cartels deliver to their very own neighborhoods.
Which is worse?