Editorial: Border moves rich with irony
Life is especially full of irony in these times of a tough economy and politics in flux.
One of the best examples is what has happened this past week with issues on the Mexican border. Early in the week, President Barack Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the deployment of 500 federal agents with high-tech surveillance gear and drug-sniffing dogs to the border. Their primary mission is to cope with activities of Mexican drug cartels whose violent internal conflicts have slopped over the border to bring gunfights, rip-offs and kidnappings to cities on the American side.
On the Mexican side, it has claimed more than 9,000 lives, many of those innocent bystanders.
"If the steps that we've taken do not get the job done, then we will do more," President Barack Obama said during a prime-time news conference.
Napolitano said she still is pondering whether to send National Guard troops to the border as Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who succeeded Napolitano when she moved to her current federal post, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry have requested.
Later in the week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Mexico and promised President Felipe Calderon the Obama Administration would seek $80 million to equip Mexican authorities with Blackhawk helicopters in addition to a Bush-era program spending $1.4 billion to support Mexican anti-crime efforts.
Secretary Clinton said she hoped America's help could stem the southern flow of guns and money into Mexico. Clinton and Mexican officials have a point that U.S. demand for drugs is helping fuel the problems in Mexico and at the border, but Mexico's corrupt social and political structure has existed for centuries.
The drug lords have so corrupted and intimidated the government, police and military that the country faces a genuine prospect of collapse.
We could face the prospect of a huge influx of refugees to go along with the existing flow of drugs and illegal immigrants that has gone on for decades.
The administration should send the National Guard to the border. We're likely to need them sooner than we think.
The federal government finally is paying proper attention to the border more out of concern for what's going south rather than what has come north for most of the past century.