You can’t make this stuff up. There is warfare-level violence right on our border between rival factions of cartels. Then the losing side comes to our border for asylum, states and county sheriffs are forced to deal with the security threats on their own, and the federal government continues to view this as an immigration issue, not a national defense problem that requires military protection of our border.
Late Monday into Tuesday, there was a significant increase in violence between rival Sinaloa cartel factions in Mexican towns Agua Prieta and Naco, both border towns with Arizona cities Douglas and Naco. Specifically, about nine people were killed in Agua Prieta and Naco, according to Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels. The sheriff told CR in an interview today that his sources told him on Tuesday “the plaza boss for Sinaloa in Agua Prieta got upset with one of the leaders of his team and wiped out the entire team, including the girlfriend of the lower boss.” Dannels told CR that the shootout happened just “half a block from the border” with Douglas, Arizona. Two adults and three children were taken to hospitals in Douglas and Tucson.
Here is a video where you can hear the gunshots in Agua Prieta:
Sheriff Dannels said he has a great relationship with local Border Patrol and is coordinating with them, other border sheriffs, and the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
“Our first job is to protect our communities and the citizens of my county. I’m steadfast in that commitment. We do our part; we are not running, regardless of what the feds do.”
Our first goal should be to prevent anything and anyone from crossing over and to have all asylum in that area shut down. Instead, we continue to accept asylum requests, now including from the cartel members involved in the shootout, some of whom are treated in our hospitals.
Sheriff Dannels confirmed to me the local media reports that four Sinaloa members requested asylum at the Douglas port of entry following the gun battle. While the status of those people is still unclear, just the fact that cartel members have the confidence that they have a shot at asylum is very disturbing.
“I just sit back and shake my head every day. It’s almost as if the politicians are desensitized to the border situation. They don’t realize that these cartels are bad, bad people and employ the same violence that the terrorists do. They just sit back and think all is well at our border. Where is the federal government in all of this? Sheriffs at the border have been a champion of this cause and the line [border] agents get it. But where’s the leadership from D.C.?”
Arizona DPS has been dispatched to secure the area following these cartel skirmishes, but the only federal presence appears to be adjudicating “asylum” claims of cartel terrorists. The administration won’t even designate them as terrorists, even though they are as ruthless as many terrorists we’ve seen and affect every aspect of our lives.
The fact that we could have rival terrorist factions fighting each other at our border while sending hundreds of thousands of migrants into our territory, and yet our government still refuses to deploy the military in combat mode or even to designate the cartels as terrorists is puzzling to Sheriff Dannels. He has recently been appointed to the Department of Homeland Security Advisory Council. He has taken an old-school law-and-order approach and rigorously prosecutes all juvenile drug runners in his county. He explained on my podcast in January how this has kept the cartels and migrants out of his county, even while every county to the east and west of him is getting flooded.
However, if our government is just going to allow the losing side of cartel battles to come openly and apply for asylum, there’s nothing Dannels can do at a local level to prevent that.
The pattern in Arizona seems to be following that of Texas, in which the worst skirmishes are taking place at the border plazas that share space with the most populous America cities at the border. Those are the areas where the migrants are flowing. Thus, the immigration is inextricably linked to the cartel warfare and vying for control of the smuggling routes, which makes this a national security issue. If Trump designated the cartels as terrorists and directed military operations against them, it would completely transform this from asylum law to national security law.
Dannels is shocked that this is not a bigger national story. “The media is not picking it up. The only media that was brought there was through our Facebook post. Then the local national network affiliates in Tucson got ahold of me, so that’s it. Our local paper finally came out with a story today.”
“You’ve got cartel members fleeing from their own fight because things are spiraling out of control, and we just say ‘credible fear, come right on in,’” said the 35-year veteran of law enforcement. “Where is the leadership? Our laws have been melted down by politics.”
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.