An overemphasized border: the impacts of deploying troops

With the reported increase in drug-trafficking and violence in Mexico, Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) made his latest request to send troops along the Mexican-American border for protection and containment.  This upsurge in violence is a result of policy actions in the Mexican federal government to curb drug-trafficking and other organized crimes.  Despite these efforts, towns close to the American border have continued to see a growth in hostility and aggressive behavior.  Perry and others who share his views, fear that this may impact the stability and safety of those American cities in close proximity to Mexico. 


However, many local governments and law authorities in Texas claim that there has been virtually no spillover whatsoever into these regions.  In fact, they fear that safety will be compromised if Obama does decide to send troops, and not the contrary.  Considering the recent trend of American policy towards border protection, it is necessary that the federal government carefully assesses the consequences of what such actions can have on the Mexican immigrants in the United States and on Texas’ general population at large.  The most important question that Obama must ask himself is whether the troops will do more harm than they will protect – point blank.


If troops are deployed along the border, local citizens will inevitably be threatened, as military is not trained to deal with civilians.  There will undoubtedly be incidents where civilians are mistaken for drug-traffickers.  This has happened before and most likely will happen again.  Troops also send the strong message that Mexico is negatively impacting our communities.  How will this then influence American stereotypes of Mexican immigrants, particularly those in the Southwest?  In a recent op-ed written by an editor in Mexico to the New York Times, this possible strengthening of border control through the usage of the military and the new administration’s view on Mexico’s collapsing political, economic and civic system has tremendous impact on the country.  More importantly, this has tremendous impact on Mexicans living abroad, specifically so in the United States. 


The federal government has to consider all of these issues before once again misallocating more of America’s financial and human resources into another unnecessary operation.  In a time where our immigration and economic policies remain unsettled, such actions can create devastating ripples in American society.  

– Marianne Peterson


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