Meridian Star

Columns

February 3, 2013

Trafficking tragedy

MERIDIAN — Although immigration reform has been a political discussion for two decades, the issue has been deadlocked between anti-amnesty Republicans and vote-pandering Democrats.

    This week, a bipartisan group of senators promised legislation that would grant a path to citizenship for deserving immigrants while bringing security to the U.S./Mexican border. I certainly hope they succeed because to date, the federal government’s failure to halt illegal immigration has created a lawless region where devastating human rights abuses occur with shocking regularity.

         I recently participated in the border war alongside highly dedicated state and federal law enforcement officers who battle the cartels trafficking arms, drugs and human beings. What these patriots face on a daily basis will both break your heart and arouse justifiable rage toward the cartel scumbags that profit from human misery. Human trafficking on the southwest border is nothing less than pure evil.  

         Every single day, girls and young women are either kidnapped or lured to the border with promises of decent employment and American education only to find themselves the captives of criminal organizations that rape and even systematically force them into prostitution as payment for their journey into the supposed land of the free.  

    According to the Polaris Project to end modern slavery, out of the hundreds of thousands of illegals crossing the border each year, approximately 20,000 are women and children trafficked into sex slavery. In the town of Ciudad Juarez, just across the border from El Paso, Texas, more than 500 young girls have been tortured, raped and murdered by the cartels in the past decade, and hundreds more are still missing (Google "Daughters of Juarez"). The violence and degradation they suffer is every bit as evil as the slavery of the 19th century — and it’s happening right now.  

    While this human tragedy continues politicians tinker around the edges of immigration reform, concerned more about how policy might affect elections or the flow of cheap labor than they are about modern day slave traders on American soil.

    The answer to the problem is two-fold. First, we must streamline the green card process so that people working in the United States have a legal method to do so. Human smuggling is a by-product of a failed immigration and work visa policy that empowers drug cartels by making them de facto monopolies of the flow of immigrant labor. And they don’t just traffic innocent agricultural workers. Their business includes narcotics, firearms and movement of violent criminals and gang members that prey upon U.S. citizens.     

    Secondly, it’s time to wage all out war against the criminal cartels that have turned our border into a combat zone. The cartel threat to our national security is greater than that of Al Qaeda, and it’s time we respond accordingly.  

    Rules of engagement need to include the use of deadly force against clearly identified cartel leadership and their foot soldiers. Today’s National Guardsmen have years of experience targeting terrorists hiding among the populations of Iraq and Afghanistan in similar terrain and could defeat the cartels while protecting the innocent. And in light of the human rights abuses cartels commit daily, defeating them is more than a political goal — it’s a moral imperative.  

    

    Craig Ziemba is a military pilot who lives in Meridian. His latest book, "A Lily in the Harem" is available at the downtown Bible Bookstore.

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