In a discussion with President Trump, Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador revealed his latest idea: increasing border security. Specifically, to add advanced laser scanning, metal detectors and X-ray machines at every official border crossing point.
The goal is not to keep people from applying for asylum in the United States, but rather to stem the flow of illegal weaponry into Mexico. More than 70% of the guns used illegally in Mexico were traced to the United States between 2009 and 2014, according to a 2016 GAO report analyzing figures from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Mexican authorities believe that number has risen to 80% under the Trump administration.
Mexico’s Foreign Secretary was quoted by Mexico News Daily on the subject:
“The president said that by using technology in both countries we can close the border to arms trafficking that is causing deaths in Mexico,” he said. “Trump’s response was that he thought it was a very good idea . . .”Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard
The suggestion precedes the initial meeting of a US-Mexico committee, slated for next week, which has been convened specifically to address the flow of arms from the United States into Mexico.
The AP reported on the formation of a joint panel to address gun smuggling in July, but the scheduled talks have received more attention after an effort to capture cartel leader Ovidio Guzman, son of imprisoned drug lord “El Chapo”. Shortly following his arrest, cartel gunmen armed with heavy weaponry seized the city of Culiacan and forced his release.
Mexico has sent elite troops to patrol the city following the crisis.
The Mexican President, by focusing on the established border crossings, has indicated that he believes a significant percentage of illegal weaponry is entering not by secret tunnels, air or seaports, or unregulated land crossings, but via the monitored roadways into Mexico. Critics of gun control have pointed to the ongoing violence in the country, while proponents of it have suggested that the illegal transfer of guns from the United States has undermined the validity of any data on the effectiveness of its policy.