Abre los ojos: México no es el único país lisiado por soborno y corrupción.

(A favor, comparte con amigos este blog sobre temas de la frontera, la immigracion, y eventos corrientes.  Translated by Jessie Hollingsworth originally posted 5/20/12.)

El artículo en el New York Times por Randal C. Archibold describiendo uno de los peores casos de corrupción  en el ejercito mexicano es, al mejor, muy alarmante.  Esto es especialmente el caso porque es la misma institución cargado con estabilizando a una sociedad con una variedad de problemas, incluyendo la violencia entre carteles, resultante en mas que 50.000 muertes en los últimos 5 años.

A primera vista los cargos contra tres Generales Mexicanos y un teniente aparecen más allá de todo comprensión: estos son los mismos lideres con quien la policía Americana deben colaborarse desde la Merida Initiative firmado por Congreso en 2008.  Este acuerdo provee $1.4 billón en entrenamiento Americano y equipo a ellos en México quien están luchando los carteles mexicanos.  Y es el ejercito mexicano lleva por los mismos generales y teniente- debajo los auspicios del Presidente Calderón- llamado a quitar los traficantes.

Pero espera un memento!  Intentamos a intender lo que aparece la misma estado de cosas a la vista de los mexicanos.  En otras palabras, dejamos nuestros tendencias etnocéntricos- nuestra critica fácil de otra cultura fundado por las parcialidades nacionalistas- para poner la misma serie de eventos en una perspectiva objetiva.

Para empezar, no estaría carteles mexicanos, junto con las ganancias tremendos que crean, pero por nuestro pedido por los productos.  En cada comunidad rural y ciudad en todo la nación podemos ver los estragos de meth, cocaína, y otros drogas ilegales en nuestros barrios, nuestros escuelas, nuestra juventud, y nuestros creencias y valores fundamentales.

Distinto a México, es nuestro país sin corrupción? Aquí hay una lista corta: un millón de dólares perdida en una convención de Las Vegas por el GSA; millones mal administrado por el National Weather Servica; multimillonarios que “legalmente” gastas $10 millón y más para sus candidatos presidenciales favoritos; la perdida de Boeing de más de $10 billón para una pared virtual; el Spectroscopic Portal de Raytheon reprobado; y más y más.  Pero no olvides el “error” recién de JP Morgan y los cargos de uso ilícito de información privilegiada en el IPO de Facebook.

La patrulla fronteriza informa una aumenta en detenciones de sus agentes quien estuvieron sobornados por los carteles.  Al mismo tiempo ellos en la administración, como documenté en mis investigaciones, están permitidos a renunciar sus posiciones y guardar los pensiones.

Antes de tiramos lodo al ejercito mexicano, tenemos que ver más cercano a nuestra sociedad de una punta de vista menos etnocéntrico.  Corrupción están conocido en los agentes locales y federales, el sector privado, y la policía.  Al menos, un entendimiento de la sociedad Mexicana es necesario cuando la policía en ambos lados de la frontera reunirse para encontrar soluciones a los carteles mexicanos.  Al mismo tiempo, un entendimiento de mejor de nuestra sociedad por la policía también se requiere, no sea que están acuerdos de la creencia etnocéntrico que la corrupción es solo de México y los EEUU nuncio vio a su propio tiempo oscuro.

Posted in En Espanol (Spanish Translations)

Let’s Get Real: Mexico is not the only country crippled by graft and corruption

Today’s article by Randal C. Archibold in the New York Times describing one of the worst cases of corruption in the Mexican army is, at best, extremely alarming.  This especially is the case because it is this same institution charged with stabilizing a society facing a variety of problems including violence between drug cartels resulting in more than 50,000 deaths in the last five years.

At first glance the charges against three Mexican Generals and one Lieutenant Colonel seem beyond comprehension: these are the same military leaders with whom American law enforcers are supposed to collaborate since the Merida Initiative signed by Congress in 2008.  This agreement provides $1.4 billion in American training and equipment to those in Mexico fighting the Mexican drug cartels.  And it is the Mexican army lead by these same generals and colonel-under the auspices of President Calderon-called upon to put Mexican drug traffickers out of business.

But hold everything for a second!  Let’s try to understand what this same state of affairs might look like from the Mexican point of view.  In other words, let’s throw out our ethnocentric tendencies-our easy critique of another culture premised upon our own nationalist biases-to place this same set of events within a more objective perspective.

For starters, there would be no Mexican drug cartels, along with the tremendous profits they generate, but for our demand for their products.  In every rural community and city throughout our nation we can see the ravages of meth, cocaine, and other illegal drugs upon our neighborhoods, our schools, our youth, and our fundamental beliefs and values.

Unlike Mexico, is our country really so free of corruption?  Here’s a recent short list: a million dollars wasted at a Las Vegas convention by the GSA; millions mismanaged by our National Weather Service; billionaires who spend who “legally” spend $10 million and more on their favorite presidential candidate; Boeing’s waste of more than $1 billion in a virtual border wall; Raytheon’s failed Spectroscopic Portal; and on and on.  But don’t forget the recent $2 billion “mistake” by JP Morgan and the charges of insider trading in the Facebook IPO.

The Border Patrol reports significant increases in arrests of its agents who are bribed by the Mexican drug cartels.  At the same time those in upper management, as I have documented in my research, have been allowed in the past simply to resign and keep their pensions.

So before we sling mud at the Mexican army and their leaders, maybe we need to look a little bit closer at our own society from a less ethnocentric point of view.  Graft and corruption are no stranger to either our local, state, or federal officials, the private sector, or law enforcement.  At the very least more understanding of Mexican society is certainly needed when law enforcers from both sides of the border get together to find solutions to the Mexican drug cartels.  At the same time, more understanding of our own society by our law enforcers is also required lest they fall easy prey to the ethnocentric belief that Mexico owns graft and corruption while the United States has never witnessed its dark shadow.

Posted in Drug Cartels

The Border Patrol’s New National Strategy: Measuring What?

Just two weeks ago the Border Patrol launched its new national strategy in hearings before Congress.  Surprisingly the national media seem less than interested in the BP’s newest national strategy since 2004 which will, according to the Border Patrol, cover years 2012-2016.

Setting aside the national strategy itself for a moment, there is another equally crucial issue here: how does the Border Patrol intend to measure its performance along the border? In other words, how does the Border Patrol plan in its new national strategy to judge its own efficiency in reaching its stated objectives and goals?  And how will the public be able to judge the Border Patrol regardless of who is running it and which political party is in control?

Prior to 9/11 the Border Patrol was a hole-in-the-wall agency of less than 4,000 agents who went about their difficult work with no one looking over their shoulders.  After 9/11 Customs and Border Protection was thrust into the media limelight as the first line of defense against international terrorists along with its previous job of capturing illegal immigrants and illegal drugs. Measurements of Border Patrol performance  were annual rates of apprehension of illegal immigrants and amounts of drugs interdicted.

These measurements were deeply flawed.  Even though the Border Patrol’s baseline data-data against which agency effectiveness and performance can be objectively measured-was at best highly questionable, before 9/11 no one much cared.  After 9/11 these same data were closely examined because national security was determined to be at stake. There were myriad problems not only in the collection of these data, but in the ways in which categories of data were defined and reported.  In short, apprehension rates, agency “outputs”, were a totally inadequate measure of the status of security along our national borders.

In 2004 the Border Patrol declared in its “new” national plan that it would henceforth measure its progress in border security not just in terms of apprehension rates, but by the vaguely defined “operational control” of our borders.

Unfortunately by 2010 the Border Patrol could only claim 13% “operational control” of all our borders.  So what did the Border Patrol do when faced with such a low performance score?  It simply declared that “operational control” was not an adequate measurement and returned to apprehension rates as its “interim” method of measuring both its institutional efficacy and the status of our nation’s borders.

Then on Tuesday, May 8, 2012, the Border Patrol officially revealed to Congress that it was working on a “new” measurement of border security.  This measurement would be the product of a brand new methodology, still in the development stages, that is “quantified”.

Following the Border Patrol’s projected time line, it is a reasonable question to ask why, after more than a decade since 9/11, the Border Patrol has not been able to develop an accurate measurement of its efficiency and progress in border security given its huge increase in budget.

So it is not surprising, given these circumstances, that institutional memory completely failed Border Patrol Chief Agent Michael Fisher at the Tuesday Congressional hearing:  Mr. Fisher forgot to mention his agencies ICAD, ICAD II, ICAD III, ISIS, the American Shield Initiative, The Secure Border Initiative, SBI TI, the SBI Systems Integrator, and Boeing’s contract for a virtual wall, all failed projects in establishing border security. And let’s not forget the most recent boondoggle extravagancy, as did the Border Patrol’s Mr. Fisher, Raytheon’s Advanced Spectroscopic Portal Program.

It is reasonable for the public to demand an accurate measurement of the progress the Border Patrol is making in national security along our borders. Changing measurements from apprehension rates to operational control, then back again to “interim” apprehension rates in lieu of the arrival of a promised new metric smacks of the same historical promises of a Systems Integrator, a virtual border fence, or a phantasmagoric machine that for than $500 million can discover a dirty bomb in an eighteen wheeler.

Yet history reminds us, even if the Border Patrol won’t, that this agency is not in dire need of another new technological fix that has not yet been developed, whether it’s the latest surveillance gidget or now a trendy management strategy accompanied by a theoretical enumeration.  What the Border Patrol vitally needs, along with all our members of Congress, is an adequate measurement of Border Patrol performance which, placed within an historical context, allows anyone to fairly and consistently judge the progress of this vital law enforcement agency regardless of which party holds power.

Posted in Customs and Border Protection

The Border Patrol’s New National Strategy: Lipstick on a Javelina

There’s a lot in CBP’s “2012-2016 Border Patrol National Strategy” to digest.  For starters there are two major goals, the first with five objectives, the second with three.  All this is sandwiched between numerous color photographs reminiscent of university textbooks used in courses on Introductory Policing.

But this report seems most adamant in its attempt to reframe the Border Patrol’s own history since 9/11.  The reader is informed that from 2004 to the present, the time period covered by the last Border Patrol “national strategy”, the emphasis has been on “organization and resources”.  In contrast, the new Border Patrol strategy is “a risk-based Border Patrol national strategy” in which the border will be secured by, “…using Information, Integration, and Rapid Response in a risk-based manner”.

Further, “new tools and approaches” will help the Border Patrol “…grow, mature and strengthen.”  Well, I guess we can all agree on that objective.

We also are told that the change from the most recent “national strategy” to the newest “national strategy” “…represents a natural evolution.”  Once this “new national strategy” is in place, “…unprecedented levels of border security are within reach…”.

That’s good to know, too, but totally misleading.  Here’s the major problem with this Border Patrol report: history.

Is the public supposed to forget about the history of the Border Patrol’s various “strategies” along the border, from the bizarre frontal deployment of more than 95% of its resources as initiated by now Congressperson Silvestre Reyes, but then Border Patrol Sector Chief Reyes, to Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff’s “one-sized fits all” border fence?  And what about the billions wasted along the way by Boeing, Inc., L-3 Communications, and Raytheon, among others?

Not to mention most recently the tragic case of Anastasio Hernandez-Rojas?  Then of course there are the tremendous amounts of illegal drugs smuggled into our country every day, plus guns going south.  In fact, it’s a long list that is verified by that mean old skeptic by the name of history.

Now the report tells us that the public is supposed to trust something called a “risk-based approach”.  Where was this porcine approach after 9/11 and why didn’t we use it?

Here we go again with another silver bullet, this time a shift away from technology (remember the “virtual fence”?) to a trendy management strategy favored by our military.

There is no doubt that the Border Patrol is moving towards becoming a law enforcement agency we can trust and be proud of-and for this it should be commended-but declaring that a “risk management approach” is the new answer to what was once referred to as “gaining operational control” of the border, is a big step in the wrong direction.

What is the right direction and how objectively can we measure the Border Patrols accomplishments including these newest goals and objectives?  Oddly in this Border Patrol report on its “new national strategy” the answers to these vital questions are nowhere to be found.

Posted in Customs and Border Protection

The Border Patrol’s “New” National Strategy as of Tuesday

First the good news.  At least I think it’s good, but it’s hard to say.  The Border Patrol has, at least sort of, announced a “new” National Strategy, it’s first since 2004.  That may mean it is discarding some of its disproven concepts, tactics, and policies along our borders for better, field-tested ways to perform its vital and difficult job. Or not.

But since it’s the Border Patrol, they did not really announce or unveil their new strategy so much as transmit it, sort of, to Homeland Security Today.

The Border Patrol also published a document targeted at their own employees which was released to the public, sort of, last Fall. Then two months ago in a report that the media mostly ignored the Border Patrol published “A New Strategy on the Border”.   Filled with beltway jargon, wannabe military terminology, and stilted, rhetorical language that my High School English teacher Ms. Margret Tuck would have blistered with her red pencil, “A New Strategy on the Border” is virtually incomprehensible to most Americans.

It’s not just that the Border Patrol seems reluctant to reveal their “new” National Strategy, it’s also that their own reports appear at best manufactured by a committee of illiterate tax accountants enthralled by cursory readings in a required high school ROTC program.  So along with the Washington circumlocutions, there is an ever increasing military jargon mired in bad grammar and intentional obfuscation.

On Tuesday Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher testified before the House Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security that one of the primary concerns of the Border Patrol’s new national strategy is, “Increasing and sustaining the certainty of apprehension for illegal crossings between the POEs by expanding Border Patrol’s situational awareness and employing a comprehensive and integrated whole-of-government approach”.

Well, that certainly makes it clear what the Border Patrol has in mind for the next five years, doesn’t it?

What in fact does the Border Patrol’s “new” National Strategy for 2012 to 2017 really say and mean?  That will take some time, given an apparent reluctance by the Border Patrol to say what it means and mean what it says, to figure out.

Posted in Customs and Border Protection

El 2012 no puede fallar pared virtual de la frontera: dale como lo mismo cuando DHS pedió propuestas para su tercer pared virtual de la frontera

(Translated by Jessie Hollingsworth. Originally posted on April 18th.)

DHS le prometió que no lo hacía otro vez, pero lo hizo.  La semana pasada, Martes, DHS reveló ofertas por so tercer pared virtual de la frontera entre el EEUU y México.

DHS lo hizo después de hacer gran prometas que no tomaría riesgo en nuevas tecnologías en desarrollo para crear una barrera electrónico “virtual” de cámaras, sensores, y computadores integrado en un paquete para proveer agentes imágenes reales mientras están de patrulla de la frontera.

Pero al final DHS minimizó riesgos por permitir contratistas de defensa a firmar contratos de DHS que les permite la opción de usar tecnologías no demostrados a proveer seguridad nacional por la frontera.  Al final DHS cedió.  Por el tercer vez.

El primer vez fue ISIS en 1998, un fracaso triste al costo de varios ciento millones de dólares de contribuyentes a L-3 Communications.  Luego en 2006 llegó el Segundo pared de la frontera virtual al costo de más de un billón dólares.  Por fin el DHS Secretario Napolitano canceló el locura de Boeing en Enero 2012.  Este es cuando DHS dijo, en tantas palabras, que ha aprendió la lección y no apoyaría nuevas tecnologías no desarrolladas para la seguridad nacional.  Como el portal espectroscópico de Raytheon, un fracaso completo desde el principio hasta el final que DHS canceló después más de $200 millones.

Y dale como lo mismo.  Pero recuerda dos cosas: primero, no es el Segundo intento a crear una pared virtual, es el TERCER intento.  Y la otra cosa? Este pared virtual también no pasaré.  La pregunta verdadero es- dando que está el mismo contrato de DHS con la industria de defensa- cuanto dinero de los contribuyentes ganaré el ganador?

Posted in Department of Homeland Security, En Espanol (Spanish Translations)

The First Victim at the New Border Wall was not Anastasio Hernandez-Rojas, It Was the Professional Training of Customs and Border Protection Agents

The media images of Anastasio Hernández-Rojas being beaten on March 30, 2010, by a group of CBP agents are very, very disturbing.  As I suggested previously, at the very least I certainly hope that the Internal Affair’s unit of Customs and Border Protection is investigating this event which took place at the border wall in San Diego.  At the same time the Department of Justice should open up an investigation and Congress should begin to collect findings prior to holding public hearings.

The individuals involved in the death of Anastasio Herandez-Rojas, however, deserve the full assumption of innocence under our laws until all the evidence has been accumulated.  At the same time, however, this tragedy shines a very bright light on several shadowy areas which investigators must be willing to examine.  Two areas among many which should be considered in an examination of this tragedy are the professional recruitment training that CBP agents currently receive and the nature of the work that these same agents must perform on a daily basis.

CBP agents, as a result of a Congressional mandate to increase the size of the Border Patrol, no longer benefit from the academy training they once received.  This training provided agents expertise in the Spanish language, physical fitness and weapons, and immigration law; this rigorous training and testing-not without flaws- lasted almost six months.  At the end of this training agents were then posted to their first assignments where they were put initially placed on probationary status for more than one year until they passed further testing and proved themselves on the line.

All that has changed since 2006.  Now agents, who qualify for the CBP academy with only a high school degree, can get less than 56 days of training at the academy before they are assigned to a “mentor” at their first posting.  Their formal learning after the academy relies heavily on the abilities of this “mentor” to teach additional necessary skills and abilities to the academy newbies with less than 8 weeks of law enforcement training.

The standards for new agents have been blatantly lowered at the academy to provide higher graduation rates.  Only a small percentage of agents were ever given psychological tests to measure their competency and readiness to face the stressful work of patrolling the line.  The Border Patrol, in short, grew from about 3,500 agents before 9/11 to more than 24,400; the first victim of this rapid growth was their professional recruitment and training.

Working the borderline is a very tough, stressful, and dangerous job.  The border is becoming more and more violent to those whose job it is to patrol it 24 hours a day. Statistics measuring violence directed towards agents have risen dramatically in recent years.  The work of agent can place the men and women who have passed through the academy in dangerous, high risk situations.

We all must wait and see what the investigations of the beating and death of  Anastasio Hernandez-Rojas uncover.  But at the very least, this tragedy calls for a close evaluation of the professional recruitment and training of our agents and, at the same time, an appreciation for the difficult and dangerous work in which they are engaged.  Anything less is a cover-up.

References:

Patrolling Chaos, Robert Lee Maril, Texas Tech University Press, 2006.

The Fence, Robert Lee Maril, Texas Tech University Press, 2011.

Posted in Anastasio Hernandez-Rojas

The 2012 Can’t Fail New Virtual Border Wall: Here We Go Again as DHS Requests Proposals for Its THIRD Virtual Border Wall Failure

DHS promised that it would not to it again, but it did.  Last week, Tuesday, DHS let out bids on its THIRD virtual border wall along the Mexican border.

DHS did this after making repeated big promises that it would not take a risk on new, developing technologies to create a “virtual” electronic barrier of cameras, sensors, and computers integrated into a package providing agents real time images as they patrolled the border line.

But in the end DHS hedged its bet by allowing defense contractors to sign DHS contracts allowing them the option of using unproven technologies to provide national security along the border.  In the end DHS caved in.  For the THIRD time.

The first time was ISIS in 1998, a miserable failure at the cost of several hundred million taxpayer dollars to L-3 Communications.  Then in 2006 came the second virtual border wall at the cost of more than a billion dollars. DHS Secretary Napolitano finally pulled the plug on Boeing’s folly in January, 2012.  That’s when DHS said, in so many words, that it had learned its lesson and would not support new, undeveloped technologies in protecting our national security.  Like Raytheon’s spectroscopic portal, a complete failure from start to finish which DHS cancelled after more than $200 million.

So here we go again.  But remember two things: first, it’s not the second try at a virtual wall, it’s the THIRD attempt.  And the other thing to remember? This virtual border wall will also fail.  The real question is- given this same old DHS contract with the defense industry-how much taxpayer money will the winning bidder stuff into his pockets?

Posted in Boeing and Raytheon, The Border Fence

NYT se pasó por el punto otra vez: el crimen de la frontera tiene impacto en ambos lados

(translated by Jessie Hollingsworth)

Posted on March 20 https://leemaril.com/author/leemaril/ NYT Misses the Point Again: Border Crime Impacts Both Sides

Cuando yo iniciaba a pensar que el articulo este domingo en el New York Times sobre el crimen de la frontera lo tenía correcto, algo falló.  El cuento por Damien Cave titulado “En México, Secuestro Ignorado”, empezó fuerte, pero cojea en las ultimas palabras porque la verdad de la frontera casi nunca es tan simple como los extranjeros piensan.

Los residentes de Matamoros, México, son victimas de un aumento de violencia de pistolas de los carteles.  Cuando los dos organizaciones criminales mayores pelean en las calles de la cuidad, directamente a través de Brownsville, Texas, ciudadanos mexicanos que quedaron atrapados por el fuego cruzado son matado y dolido con impunidad.

Al mismo tiempo- y esto es el parte de el cuento que el reportero del NYT echo a perder- el militar mexicano designado a proteger los residentes son, lejos de ser violentes, cada vez más culposo.

Pero el cuento no termina aquí.  Aunque Sr. Cave pinta un dibujo con gran cuidado sobre la familia Cazares que ha sido victimizado en Matamoros, falta la visión general más grande.  Ciertamente es la verdad que hay un aumento de crímenes indirectos al pensar de los narco-trafficantes y sus esbirros oportunitos, y ciertamente muchos de estos crímenes, como lo contra la familia Cazares es trágico.  Pero algún residente de la frontera sabe lo que Sr. Cave aparentemente no sabe: no es tan solo los autoridades y oficiales al lado sur del Río Grande quien están incapaces y corruptos.

Mientras el reportero fielmente detalla los secuestros masivos de la familia Cazares, sus intentos a pagar los secuestradores, y la familia recurando a los autoridades mexicanos corruptos cuando no tenían otro remedio, suene como solo necesitan muchísimos Texas Rangers o agentes del FBI.  Cuando llegan, dicho agentes o policía van a, uno por uno, encontrar los criminales, salvar las victimas, y todavía tener tiempo para hacerle adiós por la camera cuando termina el episodio de la televisión.

Desafortunadamente injerto, corrupción, y ineptitud en la policía no detengan en el Río Grande que separa Matamoros de Brownsville.  El sur de Texas tiene muchísimo corrupción en la policía.  Es evidente que el Sr. Cave no sepa la historia regional.

El mismo reportero no cayó una lección mayor, que puede aprender de las tribulaciones de una familia de la frontera: ya que los crimines pasó en Matamoros, los crímenes nunca van a aparecer en el “FBI Uniform Crime Reports”.  De hecho, de la punta de vista de la policía Americana y el diálogo político nacional de crimen en la frontera, estos secuestros múltiples de la familia Cazares nunca pasaron.

Por qué? Porque aunque algunos de los victimas tenían doble ciudadanía, los crímenes ocurrió en las casas y en las calles de Matamoros.  Otra vez podemos concluir – mira las estadísticas reunidos por el FBI- que la frontera del EEUU y México está una lugar seguro para vivir.

Desafortunadamente la realidad de la frontera esta mucho más complejo que los políticos de ambos partidos van a admitir.  También están las soluciones siempre y cuando el New York Times estropea el cuento.

Posted in En Espanol (Spanish Translations)

NYT Misses the Point Again: Border Crime Impacts Both Sides

Just when I thought Sunday’s The New York Times front page article on border crime was going to finally get it right, it went deadly wrong.  The story by Damien Cave, “In Mexico, A Kidnapping Ignored”, starts out strong, but limps home in the final stretch because border truth is rarely so simple as outsiders would have it.

The residents of Matamoros, Mexico, are indeed the victims of increasing gun violence from the drug cartels.  As two major criminal organizations fight it out on the streets of this border city, directly across from Brownsville, Texas, Mexican citizens who get in the cross-fire are killed and wounded with impunity.  At the same time-and this is the first part of the story the NYT’s reporter completely bungles- the Mexican military assigned to protect the residents are, although far from as violent, increasingly culpable.  Poorly paid and undertrained, Mexico’s own military is at times a blight on its own people.

But this is not where the real story ends.  Although Mr. Cave with great care paints a picture of the Cazares family who have been terriblely victimized in Matamoros, he again lacks a broader overview.  Certainly it is true that increasingly numbers of spin-off crimes have occurred because of the narco-trafficantes and their opportunistic henchmen, and certainly many of these crimes, like the one against the affluent Cazares clan is truly tragic. But any border resident knows what Mr. Cave apparently does not: it is not just the authorities and officials on the south side of the Rio Grande who are inept and corrupt.

While the reporter faithfully runs down the details of the mass kidnappings of the Cazares family, their attempts at paying off the kidnappers, and the family members turning to the corrupt Mexican authorities when they have no other choices left, he makes it sound as if all that is really needed is a boat load of Texas Rangers or FBI agents.  Then said law enforcers, or county sheriff’s deputies, or Texas state police will, one Texas Ranger at a time, find the criminals, save the victims, and still have time to wave at the camera as the television episode concludes.

Unfortunately graft, corruption, and ineptitude in law enforcement do not stop at the Rio Grande River separating Matamoros from Brownsville.  South Texas has more than its fair share of corruption in municipal law enforcement, county Sheriff’s departments, the state police, and the Texas Rangers.  Mr. Cave clearly does not know his regional history.

This same reporter misses a major lesson which could be learned from the tribulations of a cross-border family: since the crimes occurred in Matamoros, the crimes will never be reported in the FBI Uniform Crime Reports.  In fact, from the point of view of American law enforcement and the national political dialogue on border crime, these multiple kidnappings of the Cazares family never happened.

Why? Because even though some of the victims had dual citizenship, the crimes occurred in the houses and on the streets of Matamoros.  So once again we can conclude-just look at the statistics collected by the FBI-that the U.S.-Mexico border is a very safe place in which to reside.

Unfortunately the border reality is much more complex than our sound-bite politicians of both parties are ever likely to admit.  So too are the solutions as long as The New York Times botches the story.

Posted in Uncategorized