Tags: Texas | border | mexico

Texas Officials Brace for Mexican Violence

Friday, 13 Feb 2009 12:35 PM

By Dave Eberhart

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Texas officials are drafting plans for law enforcement and military responses to the growing Mexican gang violence threatening to spill across the U.S. border.

“Worst-case scenario, Mexico becomes the Western hemisphere’s equivalent of Somalia, with mass violence, mass chaos,” Ted Galen Carpenter, vice president for defense and foreign policy at the Cato Institute, a Washington-based think tank, told Fox News. “That would clearly require a military response from the United States.”

With more than 5,300 people killed in Mexico last year owing to criminal activity, Mexico has been identified in a Department of Defense report as a country that could abruptly destabilize.

While Texas officials work on their defensive posture, the federal government has already developed a contingency plan that calls for armored vehicles, aircraft and teams of personnel along border hotspots. Military forces, however, would be deployed only if agencies like the Border Patrol were unable to quell the violence.

What is not being accounted for, however, is the flood of refugees that could swarm the United States in the event of a Mexican government collapse, according to Katherine Cesinger, a spokeswoman for Texas Gov. Rick Perry

“At this point, what we’re focusing on is spillover violence.” Cesinger told Fox News. “[Refugees] may be something that comes into consideration later on.”

Texas state Sen. Dan Patrick has called upon Texas Homeland Security Director Steve McGraw to present a comprehensive plan on refugees to the state’s Legislature.

“We have to seriously consider that as a remote possibility, so therefore, we need to have a plan,” he said.

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