The high crime rate and cartel dominance are not only devastating for Mexico but have a significant impact on the United States as well. U.S. Customs and Border Protection recently highlighted the trend of underage Americans smuggling drugs and weapons for cartels; the number of Americans who were arrested for this crime rose from 36 in the fiscal year 2018 to 57 in 2019. 17 Americans have been arrested so far in 2020. There can be significant amounts of hard drugs involved, as Border Patrol agents in Arizona found an 18-year-old man with $45,000 worth of methamphetamine.
Border patrol agent Alan Regalado created a program to combat this issue. The program, Together Educating and Mentoring Kids (TEAM Kids), teaches high school students about border recruiters and the dangers that come with smuggling. Unfortunately, elementary or middle schools may need to implement the program, as children as young as 12 have worked for the cartels. Santa Cruz County Attorney George Silva is warning students of the dire consequences if they get caught aiding the cartels. He said: “[Children] do it because they think it’s cool but they also do it because of the easy money … [but] the minimum sentence is 3.5 years and obviously prosecuting them as adults means that they would be convicted felons for the rest of their lives.”
In addition to educating American students on the local level, the United States government has a couple of ways of combating the drug cartels. President Trump could sign the Insurrection Act. Currently, our border agents must operate in a passive manner. The Insurrection Act would allow the U.S. military to aid Border Patrol at the understaffed border and actively pursue smugglers who cross into the United States. This legislation would be justified not only because of our immigration laws being broken but also because of the cartel-fueled drug crisis in the U.S. Mexico probably needs U.S. assistance to deal with the cartels. The Mexican National Guard was overpowered by cartels, and had to release Ovidio Guzman Lopez, the son of infamous criminal Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador does not want a large U.S. military force in Mexico. However, the United States could send in special units such as Delta Force or Seal Team to aid the Mexican authorities.