President Barack Obama’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) have been slow to grasp the magnitude of criminal immigrant gangs in the United States. The Obama administration tables the findings of Washington think tanks on drug-related crime, gangs, and terrorists on U.S. streets. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder downplay the threat that criminal immigrant gangs pose to national security.
The National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC), established by the U.S. Department of Defense in 1993 and now part of DOJ, estimates that at least 230 U.S. cities and towns have entrenched Mexican cartels that now dominate the illicit drug market in the United States. Unquestionably national security is affected. Transnational cartels operate through street gangs, made up largely of illegal aliens, who distribute drugs and collect money. CNN news reports that most of the estimated 800,000 Mexican gang members in the United States entered illegally. Cartels use the same smuggling routes to bring illegal aliens and illegal drugs into the country. Often, illegal aliens pay their “coyotes” by serving as “mules” carrying illegal drugs.
It has become politically incorrect to enforce U.S. immigration or drug laws. A recent DOJ internal report found that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been slow in updating the National Terror Suspect Watch List, and that this lapse constitutes a national security risk. With a leftward movement spreading through federal agencies, the FBI now acts as a “yes man” to the Obama administration.
The FBI was established in 1908 to gather domestic intelligence and protect the nation from federal lawbreakers. In contrast, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was established in 1947 to protect the United States from foreign enemies, those planning harm to the United States from abroad. Savaged by members of the Obama administration and a Democratic-controlled Congress, the CIA is reduced to near pretender status on intelligence gathering, formerly its chief responsibility and strong suit. The FBI, now regularly assigned off-shore, moves toward usurping CIA jurisdiction.
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano supports DOJ efforts to stop local law enforcement officers from arresting illegal aliens. Section 287-G of the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA) allows state and local law officers to detain and arrest illegal aliens on civil and/or criminal grounds. Lest we forget, the 9/11 bombers were, all but one, illegal aliens.
Napolitano, as former governor of Arizona, has joined with Holder in targeting Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio because of his success in arresting illegal aliens in Phoenix and throughout Maricopa County. The kidnapping rate in Phoenix is now second only to Mexico City in the world. To block his enforcement efforts, the Obama team has withdrawn Arpaio’s 287-G authority and has initiated “civil rights” grand jury investigations of him. Yet 70 percent of Maricopa County residents support their sheriff, who continues to arrest illegal aliens for violations of state laws.
Meanwhile immigrant criminal gangs and transnational cartels spread across the nation. Mara Salvatrucha, better known as MS 13, began as a Salvadorian street gang in Los Angeles. Mexican-American gangs, such as Brown Pride, Northside Locos, Latin Lords, and a litany of others exist in U.S. cities or towns with a significant Hispanic population. The ease with which these criminals come and go across U.S. borders leaves them to conclude that there are no borders. To them, the United States is just a northern territory that pours out billions of U.S. dollars for drugs.
Currently the leader of the pack is “La Familia Michoacana,” a drug cartel and gang that got started in 2004 in the Mexican state of Michoacan. Originally their goal was to protect local people from drugs, highway robbery, kidnapping, and murder. Religious overtones permeate La Familia, which commands a cult-like allegiance from its members. Robin Hood deeds, however, are carried out with al Qaida-style decapitations, extortion, drug distribution, and gang warfare. La Familia’s crime plan includes use of political power, similar to the Italian mafia. With a fat bankroll, La Familia set out to control politicians, judges, news media, and law enforcement.
In the United States, La Familia is the new kid on the block. The cartel began by recruiting U.S. citizens of Mexican descent, many of them graduates of Hispanic street gangs. In April 2009, La Familia was placed on a watch list established by the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act of 1999. In October 2009, U.S. Attorney General Holder claimed a major strike against Mexican drug cartels, announcing the arrest of 303 people in 19 states. The La Familia immigrant crime cartel was the focal point of the arrests. FBI Director Robert Mueller asserted that these arrests would disrupt La Familia, which now has bases across the country and ranks among the most powerful crime organizations in the United States.
As impressive as they were, the October La Familia arrests were mainly of low-level gang members. Could the arrests possibly have been window dressing by the Obama administration to cover the systematic dismantling of CIA drug enforcement efforts? Is it possible that the arrests were staged to cover a change in attitude at the federal level that drug violations are now minor offenses and terrorist intelligence gathering is low priority?
Members of the Obama administration want to stop use of the phrase, “war on drugs,” initiated by the Nixon administration. They mean to moderate the rhetoric, as they consider drug crimes to be public health issues rather than criminal justice matters. They mean to lower the criminality of “crack” cocaine, a drug favored by African-Americans; and the DOJ no longer will pursue “medical marijuana” abuse.
Who is funding immigrant drug gangs and cartels? Mexico is correct when it points to U.S. drug users. Politicians who condone drug use “for medicinal use” or as “a victimless crime” share the blame. The transnational activities of Hispanic drug cartels and gangs will flourish as long as the United States maintains an open-borders mentality. Look around — the price of open borders is drug trafficking and an illegal alien crime wave.
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