The Mexican government is powerless to control the cartels at our border. But somehow when it comes to belligerently confronting our own soldiers on our own soil, the Mexicans seem to muster the personnel and temerity to defend their side of the border. Moreover, they apparently have the unbridled impudence to complain about armed American citizens defending our border, while they have permanently transformed our country in the worst way imaginable through their disrespect of our sovereignty. This is clearly no longer about immigration, but about a pure invasion that requires a military buildup.
On April 13, at around 2 p.m. Central Time, a group of five or six suspected Mexican soldiers approached an unmarked vehicle of two U.S. soldiers stationed at the border in El Paso County, Texas, and ordered them out of the vehicle. According to Newsweek, which obtained the “serious incident report,” the soldiers were in fact active duty members of B Battery, 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, not from a National Guard unit. The Mexican soldiers disarmed one of the U.S. soldiers and placed his sideaerm in the U.S. vehicle.
While the soldiers were parked south of the border fence near Clint, Texas, they were north of the Rio Grande riverbed, which placed them “appropriately in U.S. territory,” according to Maj. Mark Lazane, a spokesman for NORTHCOM. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Department of Defense (DOD), after inquiring of the Mexican government, were informed that the Mexican soldiers thought that the Americans were south of the border. “Throughout the incident, the U.S. soldiers followed all established procedures and protocols,” according to NORTHCOM.
NORTHCOM confirmed that there are approximately 2,800 service members assigned to the border mission. “This includes approximately 1,200 on the Mobile Surveillance Camera mission, plus about 1,000 service members hardening ports of entry in Texas and New Mexico. There are approximately 200 personnel as part of a crisis response force, with the remainder being headquarters and logistics personnel supporting the mission.”
When I asked both NORTHCOM and the State Department if our government had conveyed our concerns to Mexico and asked for an apology, both departments declined to comment.
Zach Taylor, a retired 26-year veteran of the Border Patrol who has formed a group of retired border agents to better educate the public on the border, told CR that he is convinced these Mexican soldiers were making a political statement. “At the reported location the Rio Grande River is distinct and easily identified in relation to the actual international boundary,” asserted Taylor, who still lives near the border in Arizona. “That one of the supposed Mexican soldiers took one sidearm from an American and put it in the American vehicle is curious, as if the Mexicans knew exactly who they encountered, where they were encountered, and were simply making a statement. What the purpose of that statement was is open to broad speculation, but on the face of it, this was probably political – as in showing that to Mexico, borders mean nothing.” Taylor confirmed that he regularly saw this behavior during his time in the Border Patrol.
We have tens of thousands of soldiers stationed in other parts of the world fully equipped for war and with at least manageable rules of engagement. Why are the soldiers at our own border too few, so lightly armed, and seeking to “de-escalate a potentially volatile situation” of Mexican aggression rather than deterring it?
What is particularly disturbing about this incident is that one could defend Mexico’s powerless response to this border crisis and the robust cartel and smuggler activity as a lack of resources to secure its own border from non-state actors. But why is it that the Mexican government suddenly has the ability to cross into our own country and detain our own personnel, but is seemingly powerless to deal with the cartels on its own side of the border?
What is also disturbing is the lackluster response from our own government, juxtaposed to its aggressive posture against private militia groups seeking to secure our border. Our government refuses to hold the line at the border and defend the ranches from cartel activity by placing the military there in meaningful numbers and with a heavy deterrent. They certainly are not deterring the migrants. Just last week, 12,500 more illegals were released into our country with no regard for the public charge, safety concerns, or potential contagious diseases. That is literally the number one job of our federal government, as distinct from a state government. While nobody wants to see vigilantes patrolling our border, they are clearly not the problem, but a symptom of the lack of government control over our sovereignty.
Yet it appears that the FBI has arrested a leader of one New Mexico militia that recently detained a group of illegal immigrants until Border Patrol was able to get to the scene. On Saturday, the FBI arrested Larry Hopkins, the “national commander” of the United Constitutional Patriots, on firearms charges two days after the ACLU complained about the presence of this group at Sunland Park, New Mexico. According to Reuters, this is a group of mainly military veterans who have detained as many as 5,600 aliens until Border Patrol was able to arrive.
Why is it that our government, which appears unable or unwilling to deal with Mexican aggression, the cartels, or illegal immigration, is suddenly pursuing a zero-tolerance policy for American militias seeking to do a job the federal government won’t do? Failing to secure our borders is a breach of the social contract of government, as laid out in the Declaration of Independence, and if there is anything that would ever justify the citizenry to take action, it is this issue. It’s not something we want to see, but where is our own government in dealing with the problem?
Mexico’s Foreign Relations Ministry expressed its “deep concern” that these militia groups would “drive human rights abuses of people who migrate or request asylum or refuge in the United States.” That’s a pretty rich statement from a government that evidently refuses to apologize for stepping on our soil and detaining our own soldiers.
It’s also self-evident from this statement that Mexico, rather than working with us to stop this bogus asylum-seeking, is helping encourage it.
The president would be wise to announce a buildup of the military in Texas and New Mexico and change the rules of engagement. He should also renegotiate NAFTA while making border and immigration issues the main sticking points.
If our government would only go after those violating our sovereignty with as much rigor as they do those American veterans trying to defend it, justifiably or not, this entire issue would go away. As Trump often says, either we are a country, or we are not.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.