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500 word discussion response with 2 citations total (does not need to be my sources). 250 words and 1 citation per numbered paragraph below:
1. Border security is one of the primary responsibilities of the Federal Government. Only the Federal Government has that tremendously important job of controlling who and what crosses into this sovereign nation but and also has the sole authority of protecting the borders. This job of protecting the borders is tremendously complicated and takes a giant effort from security professionals, politicians, and the intelligence apparatus to create a clear picture of who and where the threats are located.
In 2006, the House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Investigations examined the problem of growing violence and crime that was taking place along the southern border of the United States (McCaul, 2014). After a great effort involving examining Congressional testimonies, news reports, professional publications, and first-hand experience in traveling to different countries, the generated report provided a clear and thorough explanation of potential threats along with recommendations to combat such threats (McCaul, 2014).
The fight against outside threats is a constant battle the Federal Government and federal authorities are constantly waging. Tremendous resources and poured into completing the task. The report identified several areas of grave concern for the country. The areas include the problem caused by Mexican drug cartels, terrorist groups, and state-sponsored terrorism/retaliation all of which have an affinity to access the United States through the southern border.
Mexican drug cartels have existed and successfully operating for a long time in Mexico and the United States. But in recent decades cartels have been growing to the point that they are spilling over the porous southern border and taking hold in American cities. It is estimated that more than 1,000 U.S. cities have a cartel presence in them and these cartels dominate the illicit drug market (McCaul, 2014). Drug cartels are now controlling the flow of foreign-produced narcotics from both sides of the border. Along with the increases of narcotics come the increasing violence associated with the drug trade. As different cartels assert dominance over drug routes and territories, violent turf battles occur causing significant deaths and mayhem. For example, in Mexico alone, more than 60,000 people were killed either combatting or directly involved in drug cartel activities (Vilalta, 2016). Finding solutions to preventing drug cartels in America is of paramount importance.
Terrorism remains a constant threat to American security. Congressional Research Reports have indicated that between September 2001 and September 2012, there have been 59 homegrown terrorist plots (McCaul, 2014). But what is of greater concern is the level of sophistication and enhanced ability of large terror organizations and their willingness to exploit the southern border to access the United States to carry out terror plots (McCaul, 2014). These enhanced terror threats against Western society by extremist Islamic actors is of growing concern due to increased relationships with drug trafficking organizations in Mexico. Due to the connections and established routes from Mexico into the United States which are controlled by drug traffickers, terrorists can partner with drug traffickers to gain access to the U.S. undetected. “This is why experts believe the Southwest border has now become the greatest threat of terrorist infiltration into the United States” (McCaul, 2014, p. 96).
The last major threat to the U.S. is state-sponsored terrorism or retaliation against the U.S. As tensions have been increasing with Iran in the recent decade regarding their nuclear program tensions are high with constant threats at each nation (McCaul, 2014). To add additional complications, Israel, a valued ally to the U.S. are constantly battling with Iran. If Israel were to attack Iran than the U.S. would be drawn into a confrontation with Iran. These tensions have worries officials that Iran or another rogue country may try and exploit the southern border for retaliation against the U.S. (McCaul, 2014).
Preventing outside attacks and spillover violence is paramount to the safety and security of the United States. Reports such as the one discussed ae vitally important in locating solutions to these serious problems and preventing further tragedies.
McCaul, M. T. (2014). A line in the sand: Countering crime, violence, and terror at the southwest border. Journal of Current Issues in Crime, Law & Law Enforcement, 7(1), 91–137.
Vilalta, C. (2016). Does the Mexican war on organized crime mediate the impact of fear of crime on daily routines? Crime & Delinquency, 62(11), 1448–1464. doi: 10.1177/001112871454120
2. Drug-related violence along the southern border is at epidemic levels for both the countries of Mexico and the United States. Drug trafficking organizations are increasingly engaging in violence to include assassinations, executions, kidnappings, and terrorism on both the civilian population and government employees to include law enforcement and political leaders (Longmire, & Longmire, 2008). The most recent threat assessments indicate that Mexican drug trafficking organizations pose the greatest narcotics threat to the United States, which is partly driven by the insatiable appetite for drugs by American consumers. (United States Library of Congress Congressional Research Service, 2011). With the expansion of drug trafficking organizations in Mexico and the United States violence has been on the rise in both countries. This rise in violence is mainly due to the struggle for control of key drug smuggling routes into the United States. (United States Library of Congress Congressional Research Service, 2011). By acquiring key territories along the U.S. border, smuggling routes into the United States can be developed or maintained to move the products the drug trafficking organizations are either producing or transporting into the United States. Once the drugs have crossed the border transportation becomes easier to accomplish spreading the narcotics to distribution points located throughout the U.S. The key is to maintain the routes and territories along the border, and this is accomplished through extreme violence on the part of the cartels or their enforcers. Once the narcotics cross the international border the price of the narcotics elevates due to the risk increasing profits for the drug trafficking organizations. (United States Library of Congress Congressional Research Service, 2011). Therefore, the primary means for settling disputes among competing cartels is through the use of violence, due to the amount of money on the line by either gaining or losing key territory.
When discussing the violence and terror that is situated along the southern border, the research article composed by the American Enterprise Institute pointed out several key points regarding the transnational organized crime that is gravely affecting America. The research that was discussed has highlighted several areas of concern, including the problems within Columbia, Venezuela and the criminalized stated of Latin America.
Columbia for many years has been the center of the fight against transnational organized crime groups, as Columbia is the headquarters for extremely large criminal groups like the Medellin Cartel and FARC (American Enterprise Institute, 2017). Columbian leadership has shown a desire to combat these large criminal organizations and willingly works with the United States to gain ground on this fight. As Columbia is the biggest exporter of Cocaine around the world, there is a significant drug industry firmly established in Columbia. And because The United States is the largest consumer of cocaine the problems associated with cocaine consumption have made their way into America.
One effort to combat large scale organized crime in Columbia came with the peace accord with FARC, Columbia’s largest transnational criminal organization. FARC currently is the largest criminal organization in Columbia and one of the biggest in the world. This peace accord has brought new challenges but has also provided new opportunities to fight against organized crime. The partnership between Columbia and the United States is currently one of the important partnerships in the fight against transnational criminal organizations. And under the peace accord violence has been reduced, and former guerilla fighters are being reintegrated into society. This weakening of crime groups is a direct pushback against the violence of the drug trade and organized crime as a whole. Going directly to the Homebase of these large organized criminal groups and working with the home country is an effective way to tackle a significant problem before it reaches America.
Venezuela is another significant problem first world industrialized countries have been dealing with. The Venezuelan Government itself has been infiltrated by organized crime members. The state itself is an organized criminal group functioning as a legitimate government. Known elements of the Venezuelan National Government directly manage and support drug trafficking, money laundering, terrorism financing, support for guerilla movements, and international corruption (American Enterprise Institute, 2017). Instead of working with the national government to combat an organized criminal group within a country, the government is the problem. It becomes very difficult combatting criminal groups when not only the government condones the actions but participates. In order to combat organized crime in a country such as Venezuela, is to fight Venezuela and its dictators. Countries and organized criminal groups such as the problems in Venezuela are extremely difficult to fight and cause significant problems with countries such as the United States because any action can be viewed as hostility or acts of war.
Finally, the criminalized state of Latin America has been a significant problem for the United States for many years. Government corruption has plagued politics for decades, and Latin American countries are notorious for having corruption intertwined inside the government agencies. Defining a criminalized state is important, a “criminalized state is reached when “senior leadership is aware of and involved—either actively or through passive acquiescence—on behalf of the state, in transnational criminal enterprises, where trans-national organized crime is used as an instrument of statecraft and state power, and where levers of state power are incorporated into the operational structure of one or more TOC groups.” ((American Enterprise Institute, 2017, p. 32). Venezuela is a prime example of a criminalized state. By acting against the interests of the people and other nations causes tremendous tension on the world stage and exacerbates violence abroad. State sponsoring of terrorism such as Hezbollah, which criminalized states have done, endangers civilians and causes severe tensions among nations.
The Trump administration has demonstrated a true commitment to combatting transnational organized criminal groups by enforcing existing laws and vigorously pursuing international illicit networks abroad (American Enterprise Institute, 2017). Various executive orders targeting international trafficking have been issued which indicates the administration’s commitment to combatting organized crime and promoting domestic and international security.
United States Library of Congress Congressional Research Service. (2011). Southwest border violence issues in identifying and measuring spillover violence. Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy2.apus.edu/docview/1679099274?accountid=8289
Longmire, J., & Longmire, S., (2008). Redefining terrorism: Why Mexican drug trafficking is more than just organized crime. Journal of Strategic Security, 1(1), 35–52. doi: 10.5038/1944-0422.214.171.124
American Enterprise Institute. (2017). Kingpins and Corruption: Targeting transnational organized crime in the Americas (pp. 1-65). Washington D.C.: Author. Retrieved from https://www.williamjperrycenter.org/content/kingpins-and-corruption-targeting-transnational-organized-crime-americas
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