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Column 052107 Brewer

Monday, May 21, 2007
Mexican Woes and Immigration Need Doable
By Jerry Brewer
Mexico, a nation of over 100 million people, with 90
percent-plus literacy and tourism revenue estimated at
over US$11 billion, audaciously continues to draw
superfluous criticism. Most of the clamor directed at
emigration by those who are illegal in the United
States, and domestic violent crime.
Much of the unheeded precipitance is obviously
misguided by a legion of the shortsighted. In fact, the
narrow prism focuses in on illegal aliens crossing the
border for employment and other physiological
sustenance, with a vociferous message to all
immigrants — “English only.” Ironically, much of the
Mexican tourism welcoming U.S. visitors attempts to do
just that.
How many of the “not so informed” critics know that
Mexico imports from the United States are over 59
percent? Too, how many realize Mexico’s crude oil
reserves were estimated in 2005 to be over 33 billion
The slaughter in Mexico, due to the drug war as well as
infighting between the Sinaloa and Gulf cartels,
continues. Grenade launchers, assault rifles and
automatic weapons are the tools of ruthless assassins
who have killed even top law enforcement officials with
impunity. Much of this violence is concentrated in
Mexican cities near the U.S. border. All of this in
support of supplying a US$30 billion drug habit in the
United States.
So where is the moral outrage for this overwhelming
U.S. demand for drugs from Latin America?
Crime fears throughout Mexico are widespread. This
trepidation has resulted in a false sense of security or
panacea for security cameras, tracking devices and
other security hardware. The security business in
Mexico is booming. Kidnappings, beheadings and other
forms of assault fuel this demand. But how can
security devices be of much salvation when they must
be backed up with strong law enforcement interdiction?
President Felipe Calderon has shown valiant initiative
since his election in going after the drug cartels by
sending troops and federal agents aggressively into a
number of different states. Too, he is tending to a
monumental task in trying to rescue cities, streets,
schools and parks from this violence.
Sadly, citizens of Mexico are terrified that this
aggressive posture against the drug cartels will place
them in greater danger of violence in retaliation. A
statewide camera system, known as the “North Border
Program,” is planned for the recently violent state of
Tamaulipas that borders Texas. The efforts should be
applauded, but the shortcomings of the idea are
obvious in terms of proactive and consistent policing
initiatives in enforcement. One can only imagine the
disguises and face covering that will ensue in response
to the cameras.
President Calderon must get cooperative assistance
from neighboring nations against crime, the importation
of weapons, terrorism, and the drug trade. He must
continue to place a high value on human life and deploy
specialized patrol and policing strategies, intelligence
gathering, tactical response and forensics. In addition,
he will need modern police administration and
leadership, as well as counterterrorism training for his
law enforcement cadre.
And the United States must begin to create and deploy
strategic initiatives in drug demand reduction to show
Mexico that we too can be part of the solution.
U.S. citizens must also understand that, realistically,
the estimated 12 million Mexicans living in the U.S.
illegally cannot all be deported. The immigration
system is broken and needs a competent overhaul.
This will not be accomplished quickly, regardless of the
perceived outrage and indignation exhibited by many.
It is a complex problem with no easy solution, and
partisan interests cannot expect a quick fix or
appeasement. It will require lawmakers to work
together, in unity with Mexico, and the consideration of
human life, the family, and prolonged anguish.
There is no doubt that illegal immigration is a problem
needing timely solutions, and it must not be ignored.
However hatred, violence and knee-jerk solutions will
do far more harm than good to an important neighbor
and ally. After all, Mexico is the gateway to Latin
America — a strategic Western Hemisphere landmass in
need of stability.
Legal immigrants, and American citizens of Mexican
heritage, are growing in numbers within the United
States. The U.S. Border Patrol recently stated that
6,700 of 12,800 Border Patrol agents are Hispanic
Americans of Mexican ancestry. The City of Laredo,
Texas alone boasts a 94 percent Hispanic population.
Where does all of this begin and end? Well, it must
begin with a mutual unity of purpose between two
nations in recognizing sovereign rights. As well, there
must be respect for human dignity and a spirit of
Jerry Brewer, the Vice President of Criminal Justice
International Associates, a global risk mitigation firm
headquartered in Miami, Florida, is a guest columnist with He can be reached via e-mail at