The border debates' missing argument?
While an administration’s hardline approach to immigration has focused on dealing with an influx of migrants along the southern border, which Trump in speeches and tweets also ties to an influx of drugs and crime, he did not addressed a central part of the violence that drives the displacement of many families in Mexico and Central America: guns, the majority of which flow from the U.S. to Mexico.
Mexico’s murder rate is at an all-time high, according to that nation’s official figures. In 2018, the Mexican government recorded more than 30,000 intentional murders. A majority of those murders — 20,005 — were committed with firearms, according to government data.
Twenty percent of all homicides in Mexico last year were related to organized crime, according to a study from the University of San Diego, though the study noted the estimate was conservative and the figure was likely higher. The violence has been largely concentrated in drug trafficking regions in the northwest and the Pacific Coast region. The country, which has a population of 125 million, had more than 10,000 homicides recorded between January and May of this year.
Research shows that a majority of guns in Mexico can be traced to the U.S. A report from the U.S Government Accountability Office showed that 70 percent of guns seized in Mexico by Mexican authorities and submitted for tracing have a U.S. origin. This percentage remains consistent, said Bradley Engelbert, a spokesperson for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. And the Trump administration has recently taken steps to ease rules on gun exports, which enables manufacturers to sell guns in Mexico and Central America countries.
A report from the Center of American Progress found that the United States was the primary source of weapons used in crime in Mexico and Canada. Other countries in Central America can also trace a large proportion of guns seized in crimes to the United States. For example, the report found that from 2014 to 2016, 49 percent of crime guns seized in El Salvador were originally purchased in the U.S. In Honduras, 45 percent of guns recovered in crime scenes were traced to the United States as well.
“The U.S. should immediately stop the flow of guns and bulk cash across its southern border,” Sarukhan wrote in a tweet.
Still, the gun trafficking issue has largely been overshadowed by other immigration policy debates.
This will conclude the first part of this blog and will be broken into a series. Look forward to next week were we continue the conversation that is often missed, thank you for reading.