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Secure the Border & Encourage Cooperation with Mexico


Contact: Noah Betz; 281-928-2089

This op-ed was originally published in Real Clear Policy.

DALLAS, TX, March 24, 2023 — In response to the recent killing and kidnapping of U.S. citizens, many warmongers are rallying behind calls for military action, bombings, and war in Mexico. The situation on our border is dire, but war with our neighbors in Mexico is the last direction we should go. The horrors and the unknown consequences of a war of are always underestimated, while severe economic pressure accomplishes our objective of incentivizing Mexico to secure its border.

America does not like to refer to other countries, even during protracted conflict, as “enemies.” The closest we come to this designation is our Congressional declaration of war, which by my count has only occurred eleven times in history, the last being June 3, 1942, when President Roosevelt pursued peace-by-other-means on the remaining Axis powers.

Conversely, a foreign policy that balks from classifications, even when the threat to American security is grave, is no policy at all. This is how we have historically slept-walked into open, hot wars. And this is precisely what’s at risk if we fail to define our relationship with Mexico, especially when it comes to border security.

Today, no one, even those friends most partial to our southern neighbor, denies we have a crisis along the 1,951-mile U.S.-Mexican border. Illegal crossings at historical highs and cartel-backed drug routes have precipitated a fentanyl epidemic throughout America. The Mexican government, for its part, is compromised by the very forces of evil they were elected to combat. Let me put a fine point on this: Over the last few decades, Mexico has done more to consistently undermine American sovereignty than any of our “enemies,” such as China, Russia, and North Korea. And the sad fact of the matter is that if Mexico wanted to stop the crisis at the border, they would. 

We have, then, what sensible people would call an enemy at the border. But in fairness to the Mexican government, the greatest enemy to change has been our own leadership. Decades of federal inactivity and refusal to apply economic pressure on Mexico to change its behavior has allowed this situation to blossom in all its nastiness. And so, as in many cases, if Washington refuses to do the work, it is up to the states.

For decades, Mexico has had no incentive to secure its border, as it functions as a relief valve for unemployed labor, remitting billions of dollars back into Mexico. Additionally, the open Texas Border generations vasts amounts of wealth from drugs and human smuggling, only furthering the incentive for Mexico to leave the border unsecured.

Economic pressure is the only border security tactic that has successfully compelled the Mexican government to secure its border. When then-President Donald Trump floated a 20 percent tax on Mexican imports, we witnessed — miraculously — a tightening of the border. States like Texas have similar leverage. There are two simple options our representatives in Austin should feel comfortable in pursuing.

First things first: Stop, search, and, if necessary, seize all inbound trucks, airliners, and other shipments transiting the US-Mexico border into Texas and subject them to intensive searches lasting an indeterminate number of days. The State of Texas reserves the right to inspect these shipments for illicit materials and proper paperwork. A stepped-up, strategic campaign would be immediately felt.

Second, actively discourage tourism in Mexico by employing the state’s regulatory powers and advertising budget. The State of Texas should initiate a massive advertising campaign based on the U.S. State Department’s travel warnings about Mexico, which will discourage Americans from traveling to Mexico. While dire, the U.S. State Department’s warnings are ignored by most media. The goal is obvious: put secure economic pressure on the Mexican economy until they become a good neighbor.

Neither of these solutions is difficult to enact. Both are what we would call “soft diplomacy” but make clear, if naming is too uncomfortable, our opinion of the Mexican government’s complicit role in many of our problems. 

Due to economic pressure, Mexico is likely to comply in assisting further border security efforts. The United Mexican States has too much to gain and too much to lose by not helping the United States or the State of Texas with greater border security. Whether the recent events or more historical ones, the history of U.S.-Mexico relations is a story of mutual assistance and compromise, not heated conflict. If we take the appropriate steps now, we can keep it this way.