US / MEXICO: Crossing Cruz: El Chapo Act’s Proposal to Alchemize Drug Violence Assets into National Security Innovation

US Senator Ted Cruz's (R-TX) El Chapo Act hypothetically aims to make problems fund their solutions. Photo (c) Primera Hora 2016US Senator Ted Cruz's (R-TX) El Chapo Act hypothetically aims to make problems fund their solutions. Photo (c) Primera Hora 2016

The recent arrest of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman reminds the world of multinational criminal fluidity and symbiosis. Narco-commercial demand originating from the United States fuels illicit activities from the southern hemisphere. The Sinaloa Cartel’s former head was a businessman who took risks and profited abundantly until arrest.

El Chapo’s counterparts within and beyond Latin America will continue profiting until US / European Union drug-consumption is effectively addressed. Yet in confronting the Western-world drug problem, additional security concerns remain. Some sources fear other violence-wielding characters entering US territory from the “backyard”, as well as debates regarding whether illegal immigrants add or subtract from the local economy.

The list of ethos, pathos and logos issues is ad infinitum and fodders eternal hot debate and news coverage. What can be agreed upon is change is fundamental. Republican Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz, has recently proposed to combine the two themes into one change – El Chapo Act.

Constitution, Cash and Courting Change

Photo (c) La Tercera 2017

El Chapo’s assets being sought by the US government averages $14 billion. Senator Cruz proposes that the proceeds could include assets from future drug lords extradited to US prison cells, as well. Photo (c) La Tercera 2017

As a life-long constitutionalist, Ivy-league educated lawyer and son of a legal Cuban immigrant, the Texan Senator brings a mutli-layered perspective to the table. In line with former 2016 Republican presidential contender and current President of the United States, Donald Trump’s, proposition of wall construction, Senator Cruz aims to expand the wall’s utility and feasibility with El Chapo Act. “CHAPO”, aka Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order, would theoretically utilize drug lord El Chapo’s ultimately US-confiscated assets to construct the border wall.

Mexico would hence be “paying for the wall” as the Trump administration has long campaigned…albeit in a backward manner. Yet would it truly be “Mexican paying” if the profits originated from American-consumed products, aka narcotics and contraband weapons? Overall, the US Department of Homeland Security estimates the border wall construction would average $14-$21.6 billion. El Chapo’s assets being sought by the US government averages $14 billion. Senator Cruz proposes that the proceeds could include assets from future drug lords extradited to US prison cells, as well.

“Fourteen billion dollars will go a long way toward building a wall that will keep Americans safe and hinder the illegal flow of drugs, weapons, and individuals across our southern border,” said Senator Cruz. “We must also be mindful of the impact on the federal budget. By leveraging any criminally forfeited assets of El Chapo and his ilk, we can offset the wall’s cost and make meaningful progress toward achieving President Trump’s stated border security objectives.”

Questioning Division and Preventing Destruction

Photo (c) El Politico 2016

The United States’ first world status by no means guarantees immunity from very real-world issues. Photo (c) El Politico 2016

The United States-Mexican border is a 1,989 mile-long geopolitical barrier that not only influences international exchange, but represents US-priorities on the global stage. While elevating restrictions hinders travel and trade, increasingly conscious management emphasizes a factor the US economy cannot go without – homeland security.

Recent terrorist attacks and threats on US territory, as well as to US entities abroad have sculpted 21st century current affairs. Perhaps most striking is its confirmation that the United States’ first world status by no means guarantees immunity from very real-world issues. Its absence from the World Economic Forum’s list of most safest countries upon which to attain permanent residency status and Passport Index’s US 3rd rank on the world’s top most powerful passports are in itself pictures worth more than a thousand words.

Yet the US is currently the world’s most powerful economy and therefore  has the most to lose amid destabilization. This unique point in history engenders countless domestic issues. Cross-industry analysts are now asking why add illegal international ones to the mix? To certain niches, supporting the construction of a wall across the US-Mexican border addresses – at least in part – that theme.

Operation: Gray Area

Photo (c) Ailana Navarez 2017

“Fourteen billion dollars will go a long way toward building a wall that will keep Americans safe and hinder the illegal flow of drugs, weapons, and individuals across our southern border,” said Senator Cruz. Photo (c) Ailana Navarez 2017

El Chapo Act hypothetically aims to make problems fund their solutions. And yet its over-arching theme of tightening border controls will continue to be a rocky road. While certain sources pledge the physical division of North and South for security purposes, others counter-argue that it sends a negative message to Latin American and global counterparts regarding US isolationalism and exclusivity among on the world stage – that the US can involve itself in other regions’ affairs but not the other way around.

Confronted with the topic of enacting the “right thing” at the potential risk of controversy and popularity ratings, Senator Cruz wrote in his book A Time for Truth that, “Popularity isn’t all that consequential. Happiness doesn’t come from popularity, but rather from doing something that matters.”

The statistical logistics of the wall will also be fascinating to observe, if enacted. Between what Univision reports to be 45% of illegal immigration entering via air on initially legal travel visas and what the New York Times reports the top ethnicity of gun violence being American-born Caucasian men.

With countless arguments on many sides, the extent of the walls’ effectiveness and its big-picture pros and cons will prove nevertheless historic.

About the Author

Ailana Navarez
Ailana Navarez is Pulsamerica’s Editor-in-Chief, Owner, Journalist, Social Media Marketing Manager, and Deputy Editor of International Policy Digest. She has published over 70 international relations-related articles as a political analyst / journalist with a concentration in Latin American leadership analysis, economics, government, history, international relations, narco-trafficking and security. As a photographer, she has covered international summits – including of MERCOSUR and the UN – as well as protests, environmental affairs and political campaigns. She is Harvard University educated in Government and Psychology, and is certified in Competitive Counter Intelligence, Technical Surveillance Countermeasures (TSCM), Countering Terrorism & the Asset Threat Spectrum and Concealed Carry. She maintains permanent residency status in Panama, the United States and Uruguay. She speaks English, Rioplatanese Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese and Hawaiian Creole. She occasionally writes at International Policy Digest and World Press. She has volunteered for environmental, educational and law enforcement entities. She spends her free time on analyzing Latin American news, travel, equitation, MMA, drawing, reading, and keeping in touch with friends and family.