Document Type


Publication Date



Although accurate statistics are hard to come by, it is quite possible that 60,000 people have died in the last six-plus years as a result of armed conflict between the Mexican cartels and the Mexican government, amongst cartels fighting each other, and as a result of cartels targeting citizens. And this figure does not even include the nearly 40,000 Americans who die each year from using illegal drugs, much of which is trafficked through the U.S.-Mexican border. The death toll is only part of the story. The rest includes the terrorist tactics used by cartels to intimidate the Mexican people and government, an emerging point of view that the cartels resemble an insurgency, the threat—both feared and realized—of danger to Americans, and the understated policy approach currently employed by the U.S. government. This short article only scratches the surface by identifying the Mexican Situation as a pressing U.S. homeland security issue requiring a renewed strategic effort by the United States over the next four years. Involving a complex web of foreign policy, law enforcement, intelligence, military, border security, drug consumption and public policy considerations, breaking the Mexican cartels is no easy feat. But it is a necessary one to secure our southern border, eliminate the presence of dangerous cartels in our cities, reduce Americans’ contribution to the drug trade and resulting violence, and play our role in restoring the Mexican citizenry to a society free from daily terror.

Publication Citation

81 UMKC L. Rev. 289-312 (2012)