I just spent some time visiting the Homeland Security folks at the Laredo port of entry and ARNORTH in San Antonio, the component command for NORTHCOM that directs most of the military-to-military assistance programs for the Mexican armed forces. I walked away from both visits with the same conclusion – if we want to solve the problem of our broken borders and deeply flawed immigration enforcement, we have got to let go of the “security blanket” of arguing that we just have to get the border under control and everything will be fine. We are never going to secure the border by fixating on the border. We have to pair efforts on the border with efforts beyond the border to solve problems before they get to the border.

On the Mexican side, that can’t be accomplished unless the United States and Mexico partner on efforts to conduct operations and build Mexican capacity to improve security, economic opportunity and civil society. The good news is that all the folks I talked to believe that Mexico wants to work with the United States and that that commitment will
Continue, regardless of who wins the Mexican election for the presidency.

On the U.S. side, we have to enforce immigration and workplace laws and ramp-up integrated federal, state, and local efforts to go after the cartel networks.