While several Democratic presidential candidates argued for “open borders” and the decriminalization of illegal immigration last week, violent gunmen from Mexico’s bloodthirsty drug cartels last Tuesday murdered at least nine American citizens — three young mothers and their children, including 8-month-old twins — on a north Mexico highway.
USA Today reported all of the victims were members of the La Mora religious community, an offshoot of the LDS (Mormon) Church who live in an American settlement in Mexico about 70 miles south of Douglas, Arizona. Relatives of the victims believe they may have been caught in the crossfire during a shootout between rival drug cartels, but others think it was a planned ambush. The victims were in a three-vehicle convoy loaded with children traveling between Chihuahua and Sonora, where U.S. Embassy travel advisories urge “extreme caution.”
“It’s devastating,” said Leah Staddon, a relative who grew up in La Mora before moving to Arizona. “It’s incomprehensible, the evil. I don’t understand how someone could do that.” Staddon said her nephew’s wife, 33-year-old Rhonita Miller, and four of her children — ages 8 and 10, and 8-month-old twins — were among the victims in what may have been a tragic case of mistaken identity.
I understand how drug cartel “sicarios” (killers) can assassinate children because that’s how they deal with their rivals. Naive open borders and illegal immigration advocates don’t understand, and don’t want to understand, that Mexican drug cartels operate on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border by hiring innocent-looking families, including women and children, to serve as drug trafficking “mules.” These are the allegedly “harmless” people who bring opioids and other deadly drugs into our country — drugs that kill hundreds of thousands of Americans.
So next time a “progressive” politician tells you we should open our borders to all comers because we’re kind and compassionate, ask them if they know where the deadly drugs are coming from. And tell them to explain open borders policies to the grieving La Mora families. Although those murders took place in Mexico, they could just as easily have happened in Arizona. That’s why border security should be a top priority for Congress, which is too busy impeaching President Trump.
Our president denounced the murders, tweeting that “a wonderful family and friends from Utah got caught between two vicious drug cartels who were shooting at each other... If Mexico needs or requests help in cleaning out these monsters, the United States stands ready, willing and able to get involved... We merely await a call from your great new president.”
But Mexico’s leftist, nationalistic president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (“AMLO”) politely rejected Trump’s offer in favor of his “Hugs, not bullets” policy for dealing with cartel assassins. Good luck with that. Mexico soon announced an arrest in the killings and paraded a suspect before TV cameras. Lots of people are arrested in Mexico, but few are convicted because of a corrupt criminal justice system. That’s why the La Mora killer(s) may never be brought to justice.
Former Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Commissioner Tom Homan told Fox News last week that “Mexican criminal cartels control everything on the northern border of Mexico,” adding that cartels are very active in drug and human trafficking, including an occasional terrorist. Former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Earl Anthony Wayne told Fox that nothing positive will happen unless “both sides really commit to an intensive partnership” to combat crime. We were saying much the same thing when I worked at the American Embassy in Mexico City in the 1970s. Sadly, nothing has changed since then.
Guy W. Farmer is the Appeal’s senior political columnist.