Unprecedented violence is having a devastating impact on communities throughout Mexico and the border region. In 2008, over 5,300 people were killed in drug and organized crime related violence in Mexico, twice the number for 2007 .
Although many U.S. politicians focus attention on the drugs flowing northward into the U.S., it is critical that advocates raise the alarm to halt the “iron river” of guns flowing south across our border. Disturbingly, over 90% of the weapons confiscated in Mexico were found to have originated in the United States. To address this, the U.S. needs to actively step up efforts to stem the flow of illegally trafficked weapons smuggled from U.S. Border States into Mexico.
During the Bush Administration, the ATF silently failed to enforce the ban on imported assault weapons – a ban that was actively enforced during the Bush I and Clinton administrations. Earlier this week, Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Rep. Michael Castle (R-DE), and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), sent a letter signed by 53 members of Congress to President Obama, urging him to resume enforcement of the ban on imported assault weapons, a ban that was formerly enforced during the Bush I and Clinton administrations, yet quietly ignored during the recent Bush adminstration.
We applaud these efforts like this letter as a critical step towards reducing the flood of arms into Mexico.
Did your member of Congress support this effort? Click here to find out.
President Obama stated in May of 2008 on the campaign trail: “We need … a renewed focus on busting up gangs and traffickers crossing our border. But we must address the material heading south as well.”
Keep your eyes out on our website for action items on this issue. Let’s do what we can to stop the brutal violence in Mexico one step at a time.