A couple of days ago I posted a press release from W.A.M. (Wake Up America) on the impending demise of the “E-Verify Program” which has been operating since the 1990’s. (See URGENT PRESS RELEASE March 4, 2009 from W.A.M. RE: Expiration of the “E-Verify Program” Which Screens Employment of Illegal Aliens.)
You have to wonder why this is being allowed to die, especially with the news coming out of Mexico. Living only about 50 miles from the border (the El Paso-Ciudad Juarez area), I got to thinking.
On Monday (3/2) I saw a small AP article in the Albuquerque Journal hidden near the fold on page two which reported on Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ appearance on Meet the Press the day before. Since I don’t trust the AP to report anything anymore, I found the transcript of the show; here is the relevant passage:
March 1, 2009
Meet the Press
MR. GREGORY: We’ve got a few more minutes, and I want to go through as quickly as we can some other really important topics. The first is Mexico, a major threat on the border with Mexico because of a widening drug war there. The Economist magazine wrote this startling synopsis, and they call it “Who’s in charge? The police chief in Ciudad Juarez, on Mexico’s border with America, resigned after drug gangs, who had murdered his deputy, threatened to kill one of his officers every 48 hours until he quit.” What’s going on there, and how big of a national security threat is this for the U.S.?
SEC’Y GATES: Well, I think that what is important is that President Calderon of Mexico, perhaps for the first time, has, has taken on the battle against these cartels. And because of corruption in the police and so on, he sent the federal army of Mexico into the fight. The cartels are retaliating. I think we are beginning to be in a position to help the Mexicans more than we have in the past. Some of the old biases against cooperation with our–between our militaries and so on I think are being set aside.
MR. GREGORY: You mean providing military supporting?
SEC’Y GATES: Providing them with, with training, with, with resources, with reconnaissance and surveillance kinds of capabilities; but just cooperation, including in intelligence. But it clearly is a serious problem, and, and–but what I think people need to point out is the courage that Calderon has shown in taking this on, because one of the reasons it’s gotten as bad as it has is because his predecessors basically refused to do that.
This policy does not come out of the blue. The plan was signed into law on June 30, 2008.
The Mérida Initiative (also called Plan Mexico by critics) is a security cooperation between the United States and the government of Mexico and the countries of Central America, with the aim of combating the threats of drug trafficking, transnational crime and money laundering. The assistance includes training, equipment and intelligence.
In seeking partnership from the United States, Mexican officials point out that the illicit drug trade is a shared problem in need of a shared solution, and remark that most of the financing for the Mexican traffickers comes from American drug consumers. U.S. law enforcement officials estimate that US$12 to 15 billion per year flows from the United States to the Mexican traffickers, and that is just in cash, and doesn’t include all the money sent by wire transfers. Other government agencies, including the Government Accountability Office and the National Drug Intelligence Center, have estimated that Mexico’s cartels earn upwards of $23 billion in illicit drug proceeds from the United States.
U.S. State Department officials are aware that Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s willingness to work with the United States is unprecedented on issues of security, crime and drugs, so the U.S. Congress passed legislation in late June 2008 to provide Mexico with $400 million and Central American countries with $65 million this year for the Mérida Initiative. The initiative was announced on 22 October 2007 and signed into law on June 30, 2008.
Now, this plan raises a couple of alarm bells. First, some are speculating that we should expect some sort of terrorist attack on the U.S. that will allow the Obama Administration to do something that will complete their power grab. George Bush took 911 and we got a spate of new laws regarding security, FISA, and a whole new Homeland Security office. It doesn’t take much to see the conditions in Mexico as a potential source of a “transnational crime” of some sort. What Obama would do with this sort of situation has been widely discussed. Reports of “camps” being built, the continuation of FISA, the economic problems and greater government intervention…well, would you be surprised if we saw some more power grabbed by Obama?
Secondly, what could the “cooperation” that Gates describes actually lead to? The use of the word “just”, as in “just cooperation” automatically raises suspicion, as if it’s all being minimized to sound simple and benign. Foreign Policy In Focus analyzed the plan this way:
From what’s known of it, the package — officially dubbed the “Mérida Initiative” but more commonly referred to as “Plan Mexico” — contains direct donations of military and intelligence equipment, and training programs for Mexican law enforcement officials. A White House fact sheet lists surveillance equipment, helicopters and aircraft, scanners for border revisions, communications systems, and training programs for “strengthening the institutions of justice.” An additional $50 million dollars is earmarked for Central American countries to support their fight against “gangs, drugs, and arms.”
The Washington Post, which obtained a copy of the “Overall Justification Document,” reported that more than a third of the package will be spent on aerial surveillance and facilitating the rapid deployment of troops.
But what has legislators and civil society worried on both sides of the border is not the money involved or the equipment to be sent. It’s the reach of Plan Mexico in recasting the binational relationship, to create what the Bush administration calls “a new paradigm for security cooperation.”
The concept of a joint security strategy for North America goes back at least as far as the creation of the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) in March of 2005. Since that time, the Bush administration has attempted to push its Northern American trade partners into a common front that would assume shared responsibility for protecting the United States from terrorist threats and bolstering U.S. global hegemony in the region.
Plan Mexico twists the plot by presenting Bush administration efforts to create a North American security strategy in the guise of a war on drugs.
And Gates is still there as a carryover in Obama’s cabinet.
On Monday( 3/9) this site will be featuring a post on a planned “community,” with many of the target dates for reaching certain goals set for 2010. The demise of E-Verify may be part of a larger scenario that’s being played out. Remember “SPP”–you’ll be reading about it in more detail on Monday.
Is the plan going to work? A recent article from the El Paso Times reports on some doubts:
Posted: 02/08/2009 12:00:00 AM MSTEL PASO — As drug violence claims lives every day across the border in Juárez, lingering questions about the Merida Initiative may come to dog lawmakers, who could find themselves under pressure if the cooperative agreement to fight drugs is not a success.Security experts have urged Congress to consider a range of indicators when evaluating the progress of the Merida Initiative.
Whether the initiative will work and whether benchmarks have been set to measure success of failure remain key questions for lawmakers and local officials, some of whom are skeptical about the three-year, $1.4 billion plan.SNIP
Meanwhile, fears abound that money, materials and services from the Merida Initiative won’t make it to their intended recipients, with corruption getting in the way and the potential for worsening violence as drug cartels continue to clash.
Gee, no “indicators”? Doubts about whether “benchmarks” have been established? Sounds sort of like how the “stimulus package” and bailout money is set up…no real oversight!
I found a rundown of some recent news items at The Albuquerque Journal site which paint a pretty grim picture of what’s going on. Click on the following headline to get the full list.
Pentagon source tells Washington Times rival drug organizations may be negotiating a merger…
Here are the other headlines, which are descriptive enough:
7:10am 2/9/09 — Texas Plans for Possible Mexican Collapse: ‘You hope for the best, plan for the worst,’ Gov. Perry’s aide tells El Paso Times.
6:45am 2/2/09 — Ambassador: Mexico Not Collapsing: Top envoy responds to chorus of alarms by current and former U.S. officials over border violence.
9:45am 1/29/09 — Joint Chiefs Chairman Worries About Mexican Violence: Navy Adm. Mike Mullen tells D.C. press briefing that border drug war ‘has all of our attention.’
11:25am 1/14/09 — Military Report: Mexico’s ‘Sudden Collapse’ Possible: U.S. Joint Forces Command study puts Mexico on a par with Pakistan as global security threat.
9:35am 1/9/09 — U.S. Says It’s Ready for Mexican Violence: Homeland Security has a ‘surge’ plan, including use of military, if drug wars spill over the border. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told The New York Times this week that if Mexico’s vicious and escalating drug war spills over the border, the United States has several response plans, including the use of the military, the El Paso Times reported.
10:00am 1/7/09 — Ex-U.S. Drug Czar Warns of Mexican Chaos: McCaffrey tells incoming Obama administration ‘millions of refugees’ could surge across border…The United States has provided only minimal support for the Mexican government to date, with Congress approving the $400 million Merida Initiative worked out by President Bush with Mexican and Canadian participation only “after a divisive and insulting debate,” the report said…”A terrible tragedy is going to take place in the coming decade if we don’t closely ally ourselves with the courageous Mexican leadership of (President Felipe) Calderon’s administration — and develop a resourced strategy appropriate for the dangers we face,” McCaffrey told the incoming administration.
See that mention of Canada in the last excerpt? You’ll be reading more about Canada next week…
And please remember who Felipe Calderon is. Recall that during Mexico’s national election in July 2006, there was a great deal of scuttlebutt around about how Calderon was “selected.” As reported at the time:
Catherine Bremer – Reuters
Felipe Calderon’s election victory in Mexico gives the U.S. government a much-needed conservative ally in Latin America, where it has lost influence in recent years as a string of leftist leaders took power.
For months, it seemed that Washington would have to work with a combative Mexican leader in Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a fiery leftist who led opinion polls and promised to end two decades of U.S.-backed economic reforms.
But Calderon won the narrowest of victories and Mexico’s electoral court named him president-elect on Tuesday, throwing out Lopez Obrador’s accusations of massive fraud.
Now, doesn’t that sound real familiar?
Reviewing all this information, it’s plain to see that E-Verify is just an afterthought these days. Maybe bigger things are brewing…
Filed under: Current Politics, World News Tagged: | Albuquerque Journal, AP, Barack Obama, Barry McCaffrey, Canada, Central America, drug cartels, drug trafficking, E-Verify Program, El Paso Times, El Paso-Ciudad Juarez, FISA, Foreign Policy in Focus, George W. Bush, Government Accountability Office, Homeland Security, Meet the Press, Merida Initiative, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Mexico, money laundering, National Drug Intelligence Center, national security, Pakistan, Plan Mexico, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), terrorist threats, transnational crime, U.s. global hegemony, U.S. Joint Forces Command, W.A.M., Wake Up America, war on drugs