Border Crisis Threatens U.S. Existence
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America’s porous southern border and the recent surge in illegal immigration is more than just a “humanitarian crisis,” claims the top U.S. general in charge of Central and South America, it’s a threat to the United States’ very existence.
Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly is commander of the U.S. Southern Command, or SOUTHCOM, charged with responsibility for the Caribbean Sea and all lands south of Mexico.
Particularly in regards to the drug trade, murder rates and terrorist activity brewing in Central America, Kelly says, the waves of Latin Americans sweeping through Mexico and illegally into Texas presents a threat to the U.S. every bit as serious as Iran or North Korea.
“In comparison to other global threats, the near collapse of societies in [this] hemisphere with the associated drug and [illegal immigrant] flow are frequently viewed to be of low importance,” Kelly said in an interview with Defense One. “Many argue these threats are not existential and do not challenge our national security. I disagree.”
It isn’t the first time Kelly has sounded the alarm. In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee in March, Kelly complained that budget cuts in recent years have handcuffed the military’s ability to shut down many drug and human trafficking corridors.
“Last year, we had to cancel more than 200 very effective engagement activities and numerous multilateral exercises,” Kelly said, explaining that a full 74 percent of “actionable illicit trafficking events” simply go unanswered, because he doesn’t have the funds or resources to do anything about it.