Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Nexus of Illegal Drugs and Illegal Immigration

By Alan Caruba

All manner of reasons are being offered to explain the influx of thousands of illegal aliens, not the least of which is President Obama’s open invitation to Latin Americans to come here with the promise of becoming citizens at some point. By overloading the southern border, this has opened the doors to criminals and potential terrorists as well.

In March, the Huffington Post took note of the other far lesser known or discussed reason our southern border is so porous. “Americans Spent About A Trillion Dollars on Illegal Drugs in the Last Decade.”  With that kind of money awaiting them, you can be sure that the drug cartels are going to make every effort to satisfy the market.

The article was about a Rand Corporation report by its Drug Policy Research Center as requested by the Office of National Drug Control Policy that tracked total expenditures, consumption, and number of users of marijuana, cocaine (including crack), heroin and methamphetamine. The decade tracked was 2000 to 2010.

Despite federal spending between $40 and $50 billion to fight the war on drugs, “American spending levels on illegal drugs stayed more or less the same.”  RAND drew some of its data from the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring program, but it is no longer funded by the federal government which, one must assume, leaves it unable to know if the market for illegal drugs has expanded, shrunk or stayed the same.

The news about the illegal immigration from Latin American nations has a side to it that has not received much news coverage. It has to do with the views of four-star Marine Corps General John Kelly who heads the U.S. Military’s Southern Command. In a July 8 essay in the Military Times, “Central America Drug War a Dire Threat to U.S. National Security”, Gen. Kelly noted how the drug cartels have overwhelmed the governments of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, rendering any opposition to them too great a threat.

“Due to the insatiable U.S. demand for drugs, particularly cocaine, heroin and now methamphetamines, all produced in Latin American and smuggled into the U.S.” said Gen. Kelly, they have been left “near broken societies” in which the rule of law has been destroyed. How bad is it? According to the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., applications for asylum in neighboring countries—mostly Mexico and Costa Rica—are up 712%,

Cutting off aid to these countries as has been suggested by some will turn them into entities that are little more than names on a map and increase the distress of their law-abiding populations. Indeed, because so many of them have already come to the U.S., the children arriving here have families waiting for them. Seventy-three percent of the 47,017 minors apprehended at the border were from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. They will stay here to be processed by a system that has not deterred the estimated eleven million illegal aliens already living here.

According to Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, despite the illegal immigration crisis the U.S. has encountered, Gen. Kelly’s U.S. Southern Command is “only sourced (financed) at five percent of the capacity it needs.” Reducing the funding to the U.S. military has been a priority of the Obama agenda.

Allen West, a former Lt. Colonel and member of the House of Representatives, writing on his July 8 blog, said, “We know Obama has a penchant for turning generals who don’t toe his line and agenda points—like former CENTCOM Commander Marine Corps General Mattis—into civilians, I certainly hope we don’t see another truth-telling general, a commander, called on the carpet by Obama’s lapdog Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel—or worse, getting a call from the Capo di tutti Capi Valerie Jarrett.

The Center for Immigration Studies reports that “a significant majority of children coming across are not unaccompanied alien children according to the definition found in federal law.” As noted above they have family here in the U.S. Moreover, “there is little evidence to suggest that the recent arrivals are victims of trafficking which involves coercion.” Their families have paid smugglers to bring them to the U.S.”

While we read and hear references to those who smuggle immigrants to the U.S. border, known as “coyotes”, an Associated Press report noted a 2010 U.N. study that estimated this “service” generated $6.6. billion for the smugglers as the migrants pay anywhere from $4,000 to $10,000 each for the journey across thousands of miles “in the care of smuggling networks that in turn pay off government officials, gangs operating on trains and drug cartels controlling the routes north.”

The appetite for illegal drugs that has been a part of life in the U.S. for many citizens has contributed to the illegal alien flow from the Latin American nations whose governments have been undermined by the drug cartels. It’s a vicious circle that is not likely to be broken any time soon, if ever.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

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