STATEMENT OF SENATOR ELIOT SHAPLEIGH IN RESPONSE TO GOVERNOR PERRY'S CALL FOR BORDER SECURITY
June 13, 2008
"From Theodore Roosevelt to John F. Kennedy, our nation has demonstrated the capacity to maximize the security of Americans without sacrificing our basic freedoms—regardless of who you are, where you live, or what happens to be the color of your skin."
Written by Senator Eliot Shapleigh, www.shapleigh.org
As a fifth generation El Pasoan, I support Rick Perry and David Dewhurst in efforts to provide safe streets and strong communities in every corner of Texas. However border communities, such as El Paso, have the most to win or lose by the right or wrong approach to border security. And, with fellow Texans, our expertise must inform the right approach.
Recent violence in Juarez, Mexico has reminded us of the importance in having a funded and competent border security program. Over the course of recent weeks, 371 murders were committed in Ciudad Juarez, surpassing the homicide count of 316 for all of 2007.
Today, Ciudad Juarez is patrolled by 3,000 soldiers and federal police, 180 heavily armed military vehicles, and three aircraft, including a helicopter gunship. Essentially, the powerful Juarez drug cartel is battling rival cartels in the east and west, as well as the Calderon administration. A summary of the enclosed news accounts shows:
- About 80 percent of the murders are related to the drug trade.
- According to Mexico and anti-narcotics experts, the conflict has three fronts: Intra-cartel—internal struggles and the elimination of "traitors" within an organization; Inter-cartel—fighting between different organizations; and Government vs. cartels—the military and law enforcement's fight against drug organizations.
- The Juarez cartel is battling rival cartels to the east and west, and now has taken on the Calderon administration. To date, 14 policemen have been slain, including the director of the municipal police force.
- The violence has included kidnappings, car-to-car shootings on boulevards, and innocent bystanders being pelted by machine gun fire in broad daylight. This violence has now spread to the tourist zones.
What we need most in El Paso is an effective, targeted Department of Public Safety (DPS) team, aimed at arresting key cartel operatives, forfeiting cartel assets and disrupting corridor movement of cocaine, heroin and marijuana.
For us, the model is the successful joint local, state and federal efforts in New York and Sicily to disrupt international Mafia operations in the 80s. Texas law enforcement must have the will to fight, to identify who we can work with, and to stay the course.
Our great state should move quickly and confidently to establish such teams along every major north south corridor, and not trade on fear aimed at working immigrants. Especially, we must avoid any of the racial profiling violations of early Texas border security efforts, such as Operation Linebacker, where mothers delivering children to school were targeted.
From Theodore Roosevelt to John F. Kennedy, our nation has demonstrated the capacity to maximize the security of Americans without sacrificing our basic freedoms—regardless of who you are, where you live, or what happens to be the color of your skin.