Vittert: The cartels own the border, not the government

On Balance with Leland Vittert

(NewsNation) — There’s new proof that we need to call Mexican drug cartels what they are — terrorists — and go after them.

Across northern Mexico this weekend, the cartels sent a powerful message with fire bombings and killings. They — not the Mexican government — run northern Mexico.

You know the statistics. Fentanyl trafficked by the cartels kills 71,000 Americans a year. It’s the leading cause of death for young adults.

Yet, we do nothing. In fact, the mayor of Tijuana says local businesses should pay the cartels protection money to keep safe.

From Tijuana to Juarez across the border from El Paso, the cartels control northern Mexico. We’ve shown you video of their gun fights. In many cases, they are as well or better armed than the Mexican military.

When I traveled the Rio Grande with the Texas Highway Patrol, we wore body armor. Their gun boats look like something that patrolled rivers in Vietnam. Despite 50 caliber machine guns mounted to the sides — the troopers told me the cartel armies outgunned them as overhead cartel drones watched us.

When terrorists killed Americans on 9/11, we hunted them down. In fact, we just killed a 9/11 terrorist last month. When ISIS started kidnapping and killing Americans in Syria, President Obama sent U.S. forces into Syria. He ordered multiple drone strikes on ISIS leadership and sent special forces to destroy their training camps.

So to be clear — kill Americans as a terrorist and we will kill you. Kill Americans by trafficking drugs and America turns a blind eye.

In fact, during the violence in Tijuana and Mexico’s Baja this weekend, the U.S. Embassy ordered Americans to stay inside. We are literally hiding from the people killing thousands and thousands of Americans every year. It should come as no surprise.

President Biden warmly welcomed the Mexican first lady to the White House on Cinco de Mayo and shared many lies for the price of one. The Mexicans aren’t good neighbors because they allow the cartels to run large parts of their country, and there is no security. Furthermore, true friends would acknowledge how feckless they are at stopping the cartels and invite American law enforcement and the American military to help, but they don’t do that.

Who cares if Mexico is in our front yard or back yard. They are watching as the cartels set up armed camps and train armies.

The Mexican Army largely sits back and watches. Who can blame them? They are poorly paid, and the cartels offer big bribes.

Also, remember who President Biden is counting on: Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Here is how the Los Angeles Times describes his approach to the cartels:

“In seeking election, López Obrador promised to take a more holistic approach to fighting crime. He vowed to reject the militarized strategy of his predecessors and boost social programs for young people vulnerable to joining gangs,” they wrote.

Perhaps that sounds familiar, much like the policies of progressive district attorneys around the country and to a large extent the Biden administration’s Department of Justice.

The obvious point is — let Mexico be a warning: Keep up those policies and American cities will look like Mexico.

But there is a more urgent point, Americans are dying at record numbers from overdoses. They are being killed by defacto state actors. Much like Afghanistan did and now does harbor the Taliban, Mexico harbors the cartels. Until we start treating them like the terrorists they are, Americans will continue to die.

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