March 24th, 2009
01:48 PM ET

Obama to beef up Mexico border policy

Editor’s note: Tune in to our special coverage on Wednesday as Anderson reports live from Mexico on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
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The Obama administration announced a major increase in security funding and the deployment of U.S.-Mexico border agents Tuesday as part of a comprehensive new plan to beef up resources at the Mexican border.

The plan commits $700 million to bolster Mexican law enforcement and crime prevention efforts. The funds will provide, among other things, five new helicopters to increase mobility for the Mexican army and air force as well as new surveillance aircraft for the Mexican navy.

The initiative is designed to help with Mexico's accelerating war against violent drug cartels.

The plan, developed by the departments of Justice and Homeland Security, calls for doubling the number of border security task force teams as well as moving a significant number of other federal agents, equipment and resources to the border.


Filed under: 360º Follow • Border fence • Global 360° • Mexico
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Marg

    .Many Latin American leaders met in February to discuss legalization. The other two alternatives (de facto rule in some cities by drug lords and the Mexican Government’s all out military “War on Drugs”) have not worked as evident by the current increased murder and kidnapping problems in some cities.
    Yet, Americans (politicians and average citizens) are appalled by this idea. Myopic and antiquated public opinion intimidates US politicians from participating in a real dialogue about legalization in Mexico because of the political suicide it would entail.

    As xtina suggests Pres. Obama should: decriminalize marijuana, letting states tax the sales of it. Our revenue goes thru the roof, and we deal a blow to the drug cartels.
    US...MX ? Would it make a difference what country legalized? Also, what about more dangerous classes of drugs that come across the border? I can't go for that.

    Also, it's erroneous to think that MX drug cartels and US punks etc. are the only ones involved in the distribution of illegal drugs. White collar America has a had in this. There's big money involved; right?

    March 24, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  2. Mike Syracuse, NY

    @Imelda, drugs and illegal immigration may not be directly related, but the cure is the same: make the border airtight. The technology exists such that no one could get a gram of anything through if we chose to deploy it. Build the fence, add a moat, then a minefield. Reduce boarder crossings to a few highly staffed points. End of both problems.

    March 24, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  3. JC- Los Angeles

    It is time for Mexico to erect a massive fence along the southern US border to prevent all the American white collar criminals from entering their country.

    March 24, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  4. Marg

    Contradictory to what most believe, recreational drugs are not legal in MX. As a matter of fact, doctors very rarely prescribe hydro-codeine and the like unless the patient is in the hospital. In addition, buying or smoking marijuana in most states in Mexico is as idiotic as thinking MX jails have a day spa.

    March 24, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  5. Imelda Flores

    I am a Mexican currently studying a PhD in Economics in NYU. I just want to clarify one thing. The drug smuggling problem is not (I repeat it is not) an immigration related issue. Drugs will come as long as there is a demand for them. Drugs are not coming to this country because mexicans are coming to this country. Drugs are coming because there is a market for them and Mexico just happens to be across the border.
    Besides providing aid and more security in the border Americans would help themselves and my country by launching programs to study and prevent adiction and drug use instead of blaming someone else. It is simple economics as long as there is demand there will be supply.

    March 24, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  6. Neo

    Too many people are jumping ahead to conclusions already. All Obama is doing it guarding the borders, better, more tightly, etc.That's it. If people want to get high, they can cross the border and get high.

    March 24, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  7. xtina, chicago IL

    I suggest Obama decriminalize marijuana, letting states tax the sales of it. Our revenue goes thru the roof, and we deal a blow to the drug cartels.

    March 24, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  8. Vicky

    "I realize that the U.S. has a horrific drug problem, but is there a possibility that Al-Quida maybe stirring up the latest mayhem at our border? Could they be supplying the drug cartel with more weapons and supplies?
    Spokane, WA"

    @melody: YES YES YES! You are right! The guns they are using didnt come from Americans, unless it was from the inside...and that is a possbility...considering how crooked our American govt is.
    But I do believe the guns are given to them by the terrorist, NOT Americans, because of the type of guns they are using, normal American people cannot get their hands on those types of assault weapons. only our govt can and surely we wouldnt do that to ourselves...would we?
    hmmm...in the end it all comes back to greed, no matter how u look it.

    March 24, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  9. Marg

    Individuals who want to get high, will get high-legally or illegally. Things have been working that way for a very long time.

    Five new helicopters? Beef up resources at the border?

    Does anyone know what the state of the art, iris scanning border protection equipment (paid for my the US) is doing on the Pakistan border? Instead of scanning eyeballs for identification purposes and helping to monitor terrorist activity, it is gathering dust and unused.

    This problem is more complex and deserves more complex solutions than sending five helicopters and beefing up resources...bla, bla, bla.

    As Mr. Krauze wrote in today's NYT op-ed pinpointed:
    Washington should support Mexico’s war against the drug lords — first and foremost by recognizing its complexity. The Obama administration should recognize the considerable American responsibility for Mexico’s problems. Then, in keeping with equality and symmetry, the United States must reduce its drug consumption and its weapons trade to Mexico.
    Queretaro, MX

    March 24, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  10. sk

    i think america and mexico should work together to get rid of the drugs and weapons coming to mexico it is kind our fault for letting those things to hapen because most of the gun that the drug cartels have is coming from u.s. and other countries near mexico like brazil

    March 24, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  11. Sk

    americas border guards need steps in to stop the drug cartel from happening the reason guns and drugs coming in us is because people are escaping from into united states and their bringing in their weapons. weapons are going to and from mexico.

    March 24, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  12. Stephen L. Rush

    The Obama Administration has it all wrong. The drug cartel problem won’t be put down with $700 million in police helicopters to Mexico, because at the end of the day corruption and fear still exists. Fishing for criminals there is oftentimes "catch and release." The reason Obama has it all wrong is because he does not understand ordinary people are tired of a “one winged” advisory panel of political cronies, big corporate power brokers, and educators cut from the same cloth. Those helicopters are only half of the solution and “will not fly”. As former Director for a non-profit organization in Mexico, I understand what works down there. It is a different culture, and throwing money at a situation fueled by poverty will not resolve the cartel's influence, help Mexicans out of their disposition, nor will it help Americans off of its drug dependency. Just as Obama expected Congress to do the right thing, now he is expecting Mexico to do the right thing. Por favor Presidente Obama, usted necesita para hacer lo que es necesario.

    ~Stephen L. Rush

    March 24, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  13. Wardell katrina survivor

    We can thank Regan, Bush, Bush, Perry, and all of the republicans who wanted cheap labor, and to break unions. It seems as though the public soon forgets, and politians know that, remember Iran Contra, weapons for Drugs, we have a president, vice president tobe president who were acused of being complicit with these crimes, while our communities were being filled with drugs, NO ANSWERS, from BUSH 1, the actor, acted his way out of it, these actions have consequences, even now, they got use to making money, now they will do anything to continue, look at Miami, watch the movie" the GOD FATHER" again, then ask, how much was really real, congress had to pass a law, so much money , showing up at these banks, CASH , now in the movie "CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER", we go to war with the drug cartell's, Why, because one of the presidents close 40 year friends and his whole family, in Texas, gets killed, because he ripped off 650 million in coffee beans from Escobar, FACT or FICTION, ask Bush 1, now south america wants to sell drugs, not fruits and veggies, just like afgan. SECURE the border, the enemy is within, and It's not ME.!!!!!!

    March 24, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  14. Neo

    Mexico is a beautiful place. I love Cabo. Americans spend enough money there for them to be ok with their economy. It's the drug drama that turns us away. Good job Obama. The armed forces should have been there a long time ago. To many lives are loss (on both sides) at the expense of drugs.

    March 24, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  15. Jaime Rueda

    Stop demand and consumption. Enforce stronger laws and penalties.
    America accept your addiction, you need Rehab.

    March 24, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  16. Jaime Rueda

    America should enforce stronger laws against Consumers and Distributor in US. STOP the ADDICTION AMERICA

    March 24, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  17. Stephen L. Rush

    As former Director for Save Juarez Project, saving women from sexual murder in Juarez, Mexico, I agree with Michael Ware’s assessment that there needs to be another option to dealing with the drug cartel problem. When President Obama meets with Presidente Calderon next month, they need to secretly agree to a plan that undermines the cartel’s hold, without the extremes of legalizing drugs in the U.S. or starting a war. There is a way to do that, and it is a politically modified offshoot from one of our programs we had there. The drug cartel has a weakness that can be exploited, and with that can be split into smaller, ineffective cartels.

    Stephen L. Rush, CEO
    For Fuel Freedom, Inc.
    Bio-fuels and Bioremediation

    March 24, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  18. Melody

    I realize that the U.S. has a horrific drug problem, but is there a possibility that Al-Quida maybe stirring up the latest mayhem at our border? Could they be supplying the drug cartel with more weapons and supplies?
    Spokane, WA

    March 24, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  19. GF, Los Angeles

    @ Sandra you must have forgotten about the immigration bill Bush tried to pass which would've given illegals amnesty but it failed due to public disapproval.

    As for Antonio, whatever Obama promised – we will fight to defeat it just like we fought to defeat Bush's pro-illegal immigration bill. Get in line! You are no better than any other immigrant who came here legally – what right do you think you have to cut in line? Pay back the $300 billion in aid given to illegals and I might reconsider a reform.

    March 24, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  20. Michael "C" Lorton, VA

    Who else has a drug problem? Step up to the bar and the US will help you eliminate the problem-–another seven hundred million--as a taxpayer it makes me want to participate-–by gettng "high."

    March 24, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  21. Sandra

    John in Virginia you must be confused!! Why do you think Obama got the Hispanic vote?

    March 24, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  22. John W. Hall, Fredericksburg Virginia

    It's about time. Bush and his gang not only did nothing to protect our boarders, they in effect assisted the drug lords as they moved closer too and then past our boarder by turning a blind eye to one of the biggest threats to our immediate boarder in our Nation's history. In fact, do you remember when Bush wanted to simply grant citizenship to all the illegal’s so he could say "Problem solved"? We now need to be as tough with the protection of our boarder with Mexico as Bush was weak. We not only need to send more FBI and DEA agents, we need to secure our entire boarder with our military. We need to wage war on the drug lords just as they are against our citizens. It is not too late but it will not be easy. I just hope we have the political will and popular support to actually fight and win this war.

    March 24, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  23. Joe G. (Illinois)

    How is Obama ever going to sift through all the illegal immigrants he wants into the country to do the work Legal Americans won’t do and the drugs and firearms they might be carrying.. Its sound like a difficult task in the likes and magnitude of what Secretary Treasurer Gardner is facing now.. Maybe if he gets fired by the Treasury he could get something done at the border..? That’s my 2 cents.. That’s all.

    March 24, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  24. Frann in Los Angeles

    Very much needed. The spill over crime is horrific. Some gang members are now not tatooing themselves and staying in school so they can commit higher levels of crimes. Some areas people just don't go into and for those whole live there, it's terror all day long. We are raising generations of terrorized people.

    March 24, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  25. Julie Kallman

    I am just thrilled that you are exposing the ghastly carnage and incomprehensible anarchy related to the Mexican Drug Cartel Wars. A little over a month ago I sent the CNN website an idea for AC 360 to do an expose on the specific unrest in Juarez, which I believe is the central artery to this entire race for power and money. Thank you for sending Michael Ware down, and for the clear call to just how dire the situation truly is. Please don't stop probing...you have probably just touched the tip of the iceberg! I hope one of the days you spend along the border this week will be here in El Paso and Juarez, it is horrific. I am sincerely grateful,
    Julie Kallman
    El Paso, Texas

    March 24, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  26. Rick

    Where has the US been on this one? I guess you can try putting more military on the boarders and agents. Give more money to the corrupt government of Mexico. It will not work. The US has waited to long to engage this problem. The Cartels have built themselves into a Army, With powerful weapons. Like the US needs another Afghanistan. And spreading the war into the US wont be to popular.Good luck America.

    March 24, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  27. Antonio

    During his campaign, Obama insured that a whole host of illegal immigrants were given American citizenship, I included in a big ceremony. Since then he has done nothing, he has neglected the Hispanic population.

    Now that the economy has gone in the tiolet, and we Mexicans are now are going home, the war on drugs which has been brushed under the rug for too many years, now is newsworthy. NOW is politically correct. Keep your expectations low.

    March 24, 2009 at 12:11 pm |