Earlier this year, the American people watched in shock and concern as the southern border of the United States was overrun by a flood of illegal immigrants.
That flood included unaccompanied children, criminals, cartel members, smugglers of all sorts, and terrorists.
Many people have warned about the potential consequences and ramifications of President Obama’s apparent “open borders” policy of non-enforcement of immigration laws and amnesty.
Marine Corps General John Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command, or SOUTHCOM, is responsible for the Caribbean Sea island nations, as well as all lands south of Mexico.
According to WND, General Kelly says that the crisis which unfolded along our border this past summer is much more than a simple “humanitarian crisis,” and that it actually threatens the very existence of the United States as we know it.
“In comparison to other global threats, the near collapse of societies in [this] hemisphere with the associated drug and [illegal immigrant] flow are frequently viewed to be of low importance,” Kelly said in an interview with Defense One. “Many argue these threats are not existential and do not challenge our national security. I disagree.”
General Kelly also spoke up about the dangers threatening America earlier in the year, when he testified before both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, in which he complained about how budget cuts had effectively “handcuffed” his command and made things easier for the drug, weapon, and human traffickers.
“Last year, we had to cancel more than 200 very effective engagement activities and numerous multilateral exercises,” Kelly said, explaining that a full 74 percent of “actionable illicit trafficking events” simply go unanswered, because he doesn’t have the funds or resources to do anything about it.
“I simply sit and watch it go by,” he continued. “And because of service cuts, I don’t expect to get any immediate relief, in terms of assets, to work with in this region of the world.”
He also made clear the potential that far worse things than drugs and immigrants seeking a better life could come across the lightly guarded border.
“Clearly, criminal networks can move just about anything on these smuggling pipelines,” Kelly said. “Terrorist organizations could seek to leverage those same smuggling routes to move operatives with intent to cause grave harm to our citizens or even quite easily bring weapons of mass destruction into the United States.”
“Supporters and sympathizers of Lebanese Hezbollah are involved in both licit and illicit activities in the region,” Kelly told Congress. “Members, supporters, and adherents of Islamic extremist groups are present in Latin America. Islamic extremists visit the region to proselytize, recruit, establish business venues to generate funds, and expand their radical networks. Some Muslim communities in the Caribbean and South America are exhibiting increasingly extremist ideology and activities, mostly as a result from ideologues’ activities and external influence from the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. Mr. Chairman, we take all these activities seriously.”
As far as where the bulk of the flood of illegals was coming from this year–Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua–Kelly pointed out that that particular region of Central America is one of the most dangerous and criminal in the world, with murder rates ranking in the top 5 globally.
“Although there are a number of other countries I work with in Latin America and the Caribbean that are going in the same direction,” Kelly told Defense One, “the so-called Northern Triangle (Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras) is far and away the worst off.”
“Chairman, gone are the days of the ‘cocaine cowboys,’” Kelly testified. “Instead, we and our partners are confronted with cocaine corporations that have franchises all over the world, including 1,200 American cities, as well as criminal enterprises like the violent transnational gang Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, that specialize in extortion and human trafficking.”
“The FBI has warned that MS-13 has a significant presence in California, North Carolina, New York, and northern Virginia, and is expanding into new areas of the United States, including Indian reservations in South Dakota,” he concluded.
Kelly said that the need to call up and equip the military to protect the southern border was more necessary now than ever before.
“Some of my counterparts perceive that the United States is disengaging from the region and from the world in general,” Kelly said. “We should remember that our friends and allies are not the only ones watching our actions closely. … And in the meantime, drug traffickers, criminal networks, and other actors, unburdened by budget cuts, cancelled activities, and employee furloughs, will have the opportunity to exploit the partnership vacuum left by reduced U.S. military engagement.”
We already know that Obama has little to no respect for our nation’s military, but hopefully he will listen to General Kelly. Unfortunately, because he decided to speak the truth, Kelly could very well get caught up in Obama’s next purge of military leadership.
Courtesy of Conservative Tribune