tags: Press Releases

No Solutions on Border Policies, Just Trying to Pick a Fight with Mexico

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Washington, DC – With the first GOP presidential debate a week away, candidates are previewing their “border security” talking points in an attempt to win the night. One of these talking points is an attempt to pick a fight with Mexico with talk of bombs, drone strikes and unilateral military campaigns under the misguided excuse of combating fentanyl. Border incursions are all the rage, as Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s intentionally deadly water wall might be almost entirely constructed in Mexican territory.    

In a new Washington Post piece titled “Why the MAGA hysteria about bombing Mexico is dumber than you thought,” Greg Sargent explains how this rhetoric is misguided and ineffective.

“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared that he’s prepared to authorize drone strikes against drug cartels in Mexico. Bedecked in military-looking garb at the border, he recently vowed to blockade Mexican ports. DeSantis is not alone: Many MAGA-fied Republicans are demanding stepped-up military action against the flow of fentanyl — including inside Mexico, without that country’s assent.

This talk isn’t just insanely reckless. It also exposes a profound absurdity embedded in the MAGA worldview, one that treats migration to the United States as a security problem to be ‘solved’ with maximal force, not a hemispheric challenge that requires international cooperation and diplomacy.

…The DeSantis-MAGA understanding of migration woefully lacks any serious hemispheric vision. Myriad factors throughout the Americas, from extreme poverty to gang violence and civil breakdown, drive migrants to seek refuge here. That’s why they keep trying even when we make it as punishing as possible.

But to DeSantis and MAGA, all that matters is whether we are “tough” enough. If we are, migrants will give up.”

Republicans often use fentanyl as a reason to prevent asylum seekers from seeking safety if they enter between ports of entry, despite the overwhelming evidence that ports of entry serve as the primary entry point for fentanyl, almost always in vehicles and overwhelmingly by U.S. citizens. Writing for The American Prospect, Ryan Cooper breaks down the persistent scapegoating of asylum seekers for the overdose crisis in the U.S.:

Republicans often point to the fentanyl overdose epidemic as justification for war. But numerous investigations have shown that something like 90 percent of the fentanyl trafficked over the southern border comes through official ports of entry—perhaps half carried by U.S. citizens, and virtually none from refugees. This makes sense, because Mexico is America’s largest trading partner, with hundreds of thousands of vehicle crossings daily, and fentanyl is extremely potent and easy to hide in tires, gas tanks, engine compartments, or elsewhere. It is senseless to bother with refugees who are certain to be searched and struggle to even cross the border anyway.

…The violence of the drug war in Mexico, and the ongoing crisis of opioid overdoses in the U.S., are both fundamentally rooted in failures of American policy.

…The best approach for both Mexico and the U.S. would be to end the drug war and focus instead on addiction treatment, harm reduction, and regulation of the pharmaceutical industry. Instead, Republicans are blaming the victim, and proposing to take a problem caused by violent stupidity and turn it into a full-blown war.”

According to Zachary Mueller, Political Director for America’s Voice:

“The calls to drop bombs in Mexico are indicative of the dangerous, violent blustering that is devoid of real solutions. That’s what we expect to see throughout this primary season and on the debate stage next week. DeSantis’ calls for deadly force, ‘drone strikes’ and ‘blockades’ and similar calls from his fellow Republicans aren’t actually about addressing the very real and urgent fentanyl crisis. In fact, they could forestall the necessary cooperation on real solutions, further exacerbating the crisis. Instead, the rhetoric is designed to compete for the attention of a radicalized base where the thinly veiled calls to violence are the point. Republicans beating the war drums in this way puts the American people at greater risk by prolonging the fentanyl crisis with distractions and creating a climate that courts more vigilante political violence. This rhetoric is as dangerous as it is counterproductive, and despite it coming at the expense of the American people, it will find its way to the debate stage next week.”