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How safe is the Border?

22 June 2010 No Comment

In recent weeks, a tense atmosphere on the issue of border security with the adoption of SB1070 and the recent murders of Mexican citizens at the hands of U.S. immigration police has arrived.

This is due mainly to the idea we have that the observed violence In Mexico as a consequence of the war on drugs, could have a spillover effect across the border. U.S. governors of border states have demonstrated their concerns and sent to President Obama a letter asking for support and requesting the dispatching of 6,000 military elements.

However, according to a recent study by the FBI, the top four big cities in America with the lowest rates of violent crime are all in border states. San Diego, Phoenix, El Paso and Austin among the safest regions of the US. moreover, only 3% of the active border policemen suffer from some sort of attack, while 11% of policeman in the rest of the USA do.

The idea of a threat of violence crossing boundaries and getting into the U.S. has gained popularity among governors of border states, but according to Lloyd Easterling, a spokesman for U.S. border police, “The border is more secure now than it has ever been.”

According to Arturo Saruhkan, Mexican ambassador to the U.S., reports from the border are almost always one sided, and do not reflect what actually can happen at the border. Saruhkan said that “the effect of transfer of violence from Mexico to the United States does not exist”. In fact, most cartels operating in the border are not controlled by Mexican drug trafficking, and have been established there for a long time now.

Although governments in border states have requested support from the federal government to combat violence, statistics show that not only has it not been increasing, but has decreased, and the border states are among the safest in the U.S. A 2009 FBI crime report indicates that crime in Arizona has fallen. Violent crime in border towns has dropped by more than 30% and out of the 25 largest cities in the United States, San Diego, where one in four residents is an immigrant, has the lowest rate of violent crime.

In fact, according to data from a 2009 report by the World Health Organization (WHO), Mexico is much less violent than what is publicly perceived, even despite the fight against organized crime. Mexico is the fourth safest country in Latin America. Furthermore, the U.S. ranks # 42 in murders per 100,000 inhabitants, while Mexico is ranked 52 in the same list.

Border state governors have no solid foundations to have this fear. In fact, according to Martha Sanchez, a reporter from the Associated Press. in the U.S. it is safer to be a border police than a police in any city across the country. The figures speak for themselves. How would you perceive the violence if you would focus only on data and facts, and you drop your interpretation? How would others perceive Mexico? The power is ours.

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