(Phoenix, Ariz. -- July 8, 2010) In a strongly worded letter, Attorney General Terry Goddard today urged President Obama to take swift action to strengthen America's fight against the powerful Mexican cartels, whom Goddard called the most immediate threat to U.S. border security.
Goddard noted that the 22,700 cartel-related murders south of border since 2007 exceed total military and civilian casualties in the nine-year-old Afghanistan war, yet the federal response to the growing security threat in Mexico pales in comparison. The U.S. is currently spending $12 billion a month to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, but less than one percent of that amount on border security and the cartels.
The Attorney General stated that the President may have misjudged the nature of the border threat, given his recent remarks about the Mexican border being more secure today, in part because we have more boots on the ground.
Those remarks, Goddard said, miss a fundamental truth: "Our border cannot be secure as long as the cartels are so deeply entrenched, so well-funded and operate so brazenly. Until the cartels are dismantled, rampant trafficking of drugs, humans, guns and money across our border will continue."
Goddard asked the President for a major initiative aimed at taking down the cartel leaders.
"I call on you to launch a major, multi-national, law enforcement initiative aimed first and foremost at identifying cartel warlords by name and bringing them to justice by all means available. Breaking up these cartels and restoring the rule of law within Mexico not only would bring better security to the border region, but also would greatly assist Mexican efforts to stabilize their economy and improve the conditions that compel so many Mexican citizens to seek work illegally in the United States."
Goddard also expressed opposition to the federal lawsuit against Arizona's new immigration law.
"In the absence of a new and comprehensive federal immigration law, it is just wrong for this Administration to fight state efforts to address the effects of our broken border," he said.
A copy of the letter is attached.
For more information, contact Press Secretary Molly Edwards at (602) 542-8019.