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A Book Review… An In-Depth, Firsthand Analysis Of The Border Crisis

May 18, 2020 Featured Today No Comments

 

By JAMES BARESEL

Crisis on the Border: An Eyewitness Account of Illegal Aliens, Violent Crime and Cartels by Matt Pinsker. Available at amazon.com in Kindle and hardcover editions.

Some years ago an article in Houston Catholic Worker recounted the story of an attempt by two friends from Honduras to illegally enter the United States. One was murdered. The other succeeded only after being robbed at machete point, hiding from a drunken, drug-fueled shooting brawl and other near scrapes with danger. Though no explicit plea for a lax immigration policy, no direct attack on border control was included, the intended message was obvious, and obviously overlooked the obvious fact that lack of strict border control grants a wider range of operations to the type of thugs who terrorized the story’s subjects.
That rather obvious implication pales in comparison to the full reality revealed by Matt Pinsker, a former federal special prosecutor who spent six months working in the border town of Laredo, Texas, in Crisis on the Border: An Eyewitness Account of Illegal Aliens, Violent Crime and Cartels.
And the full reality is that illegal immigration does not just facilitate the spread of violent crime but is almost completely controlled by, and is a major source of income for, Mexico’s notorious drug cartels — bringing in more money each year than the combined annual profits of the National Football League, Major League Baseball, and the National Basketball Association.
Porous as our country’s side of the border with Mexico might be, the opposite side is controlled by the cartels with a thoroughness exceeding Pat Buchanan’s wildest ambitions for U.S. policy and a ruthlessness to make leftists’ worst caricatures of the Border Patrol, ICE, and other agencies look as severe as the “time-out” given to a disobedient five-year-old. Outside the official border checkpoints, every inch of the Rio Grande River is watched by low-level, highly paid cartel members. Efforts to penetrate through to the border without cartel permission are promptly reported and “enforcers” sent in to murder those who defy cartel control.
The fees charged by cartel members for permission to pass through their territory are worse than exorbitant, exceeding the yearly incomes of the working-class Latin Americans on whose behalf they are paid. Not content with even that much cash, the cartels often insist on transporting illegals into the U.S., commonly placing them in “safe houses” — virtual prisons where they are kept until the cartels are paid an expensive release fee, whose existence had not been previously mentioned.
Only those already resident in the U.S. can raise the amounts of money required, and that (in most cases) only after considerable time, legal forms of “sex work,” or lucrative criminal activity.
Illegal immigrants are not the only ones endangered by the cartels. One government building was restricted to a height of three stories because cartel members would be able to fire on federal agents and officials through the windows of a taller building from across the Rio Grande. Border Patrol agents conducting operations on the river are commonly watched by heavily armed gangs on the Mexican side. Government officials try to keep their jobs a secret for fear of assassination and kidnapping.
Among the key problems is lack of manpower, the federal criminal justice system lacking the number of lawyers, judges, and prisons needed to try, convict, and incarcerate more than a small minority of the felons apprehended by the Border Patrol, let alone of those guilty of minor crimes. Exacerbating the problem is reluctance to spend taxpayer money on long sentences for those who (theoretically) will never be released to threaten the American population but will be deported as soon as their time in prison is up. The worst offenders frequently escape justice by becoming government informers. The result is that current efforts accomplish little more than sending illegals back over the border, from where they are often able to reenter the U.S.
Pinsker firmly maintains that increasing manpower and other resources is, together with efforts to dam up the cash flow from U.S. residents to cartels, among the most important measures needed to secure the border. A wall, in his opinion, would be of great long-term utility in funneling into more manageable areas those attempting to gain illegal access to our country and in limiting the numbers who make the attempt, but is not as immediately urgent as taking the steps necessary to adequately deal with the large numbers of illegals already being apprehended.
Other experts may argue the opposite view, but Pinsker’s extensive understanding of the problem and total commitment to ending it necessitate that his opinions about the best methods need to be considered with the greatest seriousness.
Many other aspects of the current chaos on the border are also explicated in Crisis on the Border, more than I can adequately summarize, but there are two which seem to me in need of special mention.
The first is that illegal immigrants resist arrest, attempt to evade law enforcement, and use violence to avoid being taken into custody with incredible frequency, whereas such behavior is usually rare in the cases of those being pursued by American police.
The second is that Muslim terrorists now often use Spanish names and learn the Spanish language so that they can enter our country illegally and pass themselves off as harmless Latin Americans.
As a professional reviewer I habitually encounter books whose value I can endorse. More than a few may serve as standard scholarly works when the matters addressed by Crisis on the Border pass into history. But I cannot recall reviewing a single book which can rival Pinsker’s as a source of urgently needed information.
Those devoted to border security will find it an invaluable source of facts with which to persuade those of other views. Every opponent of border security should be given a copy.

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