There is a storm brewing along our border with Mexico, and our nation is relegating responsibility for quelling that storm to some of our poorest communities. In a visit to El Paso last week, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano claimed that there has been no “spillover” violence from Mexico into the United States. Regardless of the veracity, her point is irrelevant.
It is not spillover violence but spillover effects of hostilities in Mexico that pose the real threat to the United States.
Spillover effects are the direct results of Mexican violence that influence U.S. citizens living in communities along the border. For example, Mexican gangs fighting to control territory around the frontier village of El Porvenir, in Chihuahua, have threatened for almost a year to kill its residents. To escape the violence, nearly the entire village eventually relocated to Texas border communities — without, of course, being screened or processed. The results include schoolchildren fearing for their safety as their Mexican schoolmates talk of violence and murder, school buses “tailed” by armed private security guards and criminals relocating to the United States with their families and conducting their operations from this country. The single greatest spillover effect: U.S. citizens living in fear.