The U.S. government points to the Mexican cartels, specifically the Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation, as the main “sources” of fentanyl.
A task force to combat Mexican cartels reflects the importance of the issue to the Republican majority in the lower house of the U.S. Congress. And that will translate, it is believed, into tough political rhetoric during next year’s U.S. election campaign.
“The cartels have operational control over our southern border, facilitate and take advantage of our immigration crisis, and are killing tens of thousands of Americans every year with fentanyl,” Rep. Dan Crenshaw said. He heads the group formed under former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy that became notorious for proposing that U.S. military Special Forces raid Mexico to destroy laboratories or take out cartel leaders.
Since then, he has toned down his position, claiming that this could happen only with the agreement of the Mexican authorities. But the creation of the drug trafficking task force by the Republican majority in Congress underscores his interest in the political-electoral impact of border security.
Indeed, at his inauguration, Republican Mike Johnson, the newly elected speaker of the House, referred to three urgent issues that need to be addressed: the conflicts in Ukraine and Israel, and “fixing the mess on our southern border.”*
The expression reflected the alarming vision of conservative groups regarding the border region and its problems, which they consider to be an additional indicator of the weakness of President Joe Biden and his policies.
The issue ranges from concern about the phantom threat of terrorists arriving across a border they consider to be out of control to tens of thousands of immigrants or asylum seekers from dozens of countries. Also of concern is drug trafficking, especially fentanyl, which kills tens of thousands of Americans every year and which, according to allegations, originates from substances manufactured in China.
The U.S. government identifies Mexican cartels, specifically the Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation, as the main sources of fentanyl and among the threats to its national security.
Republicans complain that far from helping the United States, the Mexican government ignores problems that significantly affect it, such as the insecurity created by cartels in large areas of the country. However, the Mexican administration plays an important role in the U.S. anti-immigrant strategy; the security collaboration is greater than officially accepted by the government and the rhetoric of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
Nevertheless, political pressure from Republicans led the Biden administration to ask recently for $13.7 billion to strengthen border surveillance. Who knows what else may happen in the future.
*Editor’s note: Although accurately translated, this quoted passage could not be independently verified.