Mexico is “out of control,” said a U.S. politician this week, and so is much of the U.S.-Mexico border, said a Border Patrol agent.
It was testimony by the latter before a hearing on violence in Mexico and border security that prompted Florida Congressman John Mica to call on the U.S. government to close its Mexican consulates.
Expressing astonishment over Border Patrol arrests and levels of violence in Mexico, Mica, a Republican, insisted there be consequences for the insecurity and the danger of it spreading into the U.S.
Estimating the number of consulates at nine, Mica said “I think we should close every one of those consulates immediately. Put the properties up for sale. I think you have to have consequences for actions. The place is out of control.”
Brandon Judd, Border Patrol agent and head of the National Border Patrol Council, a union for border agents, earlier testified that his agency had apprehended and deported 91,000 convicted criminals who were among the 500,000 people caught crossing the border last year.
He said the agency has operational control of only 40% of the 3,100-kilometer border, and described Mexico as being largely lawless in those places where drug cartels are in control.
One purpose of the hearing, called by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, was to discuss closing three consulates located in what are seen as dangerous areas.
Gregory Starr of the State Department pointed out that the presence of the consulates improves security in the areas where they are located.
However, despite the bad news there have been improvements, both Judd and other officials said, one of which allows agents to identify and deport criminals more easily.
Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz suggested in June that Mexico could be worse than the Middle East for violence. “The most violent, brutal, and lawless place on the planet right now may not actually be half a world away in the Middle East, but right next door in Mexico.”
He has proposed closing the consulates in Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo and Guadalajara, citing security threats to staff.