Dear Secretary Napolitano:
We are writing in support of Texas Governor Rick Perrys request for more federal assistance and resources on the U.S. Mexico border in Texas outlined in a letter to you dated February 26, 2009. The situation along the border right now is dire and we cannot afford to wait until the violence spills over into America before we take action to protect the citizens of the United States.
Governor Perry has requested your assistance in providing at the very least an extra 1,000 title 32 National Guard positions to be utilized in support of civilian law enforcement authorities. He has also requested additional aviation assets in the form of six OH-58 helicopters equipped with Forward Looking Infrared Radar for night operations. We also share the Governors belief that state and local law enforcement should be supported and given the resources needed to help leverage existing federal capabilities. We urge you to act swiftly on these urgent needs.
Violence in Mexico has escalated to very high levels recently as Mexican organized drug cartels fight for control of the lucrative drug and human smuggling market. Your predecessor recently acknowledged that your Department has a contingency plan in place should the violence spill over into the United States. We believe this is not a matter of if but when and we strongly urge you to take those steps now to ensure the safety of our state and its residents.
The U.S. Joint Forces Command said in a recent report that Mexico rivals Pakistan as the country most at risk of collapse and foreign policy experts have noted that Mexico has surpassed Colombia as the kidnapping capital of the world. The Mexican government has taken great strides recently in combating corruption and the drug cartels, but the cartels have proven they have the upper hand along the border region right now and the Mexican government does not have the ability yet to contain the violence. Just last year alone nearly 6,000 people were murdered in Mexico with almost a third of that number coming in Ciudad Juarez, across the Texas border from El Paso. Projections for 2009 are even more staggering. News reports show that on average one American a week is killed in Mexico.
Last week, Octavio Manuel Carrillo, mayor of Vista Hermosa, President Felipe Calderon's home state, was ambushed and murdered outside his home. It was the second assassination attempt of Carrillo in eight days and the second murder of the citys mayor in the last eight months. Unfortunately this is not an isolated instance. Hundreds of police officers and other elected officials slain in Nuevo Laredo, Juarez and other Mexican border towns have resulted in unmitigated violence and lawlessness in the region.
Mexico has been a valued and long-time trade partner of the United States. The Mexican culture is interwoven into the history of the State of Texas and its people; making it more imperative than ever to address this problem for the future stability and safety of our state, Mexico, and the United States.
Again, we ask that you give your most urgent attention to the request by Governor Perry. It is the responsibility and the constitutional duty of the United States government to protect its citizens.
We look forward to your prompt response.