Coahuila Gov. Miguel Ángel Riquelme Solís choreographed a dramatic showing of border security theater in northern Mexico this week that strongly resembles the flashy launch of Operation Lone Star staged by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott last fall.
Abbott deployed the Texas National Guard in September with the intent of securing the southern border, “as Biden does nothing.” Since the program’s creation, however, illegal border crossings in Texas and across the southwest border have continued to rise.
In March alone, U.S. Customs and Border Protection arrested 221,303 illegal migrants, a 22-year high. That’s also a more than 33 percent increase from February when officials arrested 165,894 illegal crossers at the border.
Videos and photos posted to Twitter by Mexican media show armed men posing in front of a long row of law enforcement vehicles and helicopters seemingly ready to take on the challenges required of the U.S.-Mexico border security crisis.
The Mexican state’s theatrical show of force comes after the Coahuila government struck a deal with Abbott, who promised to halt vehicle inspections at the border in exchange for beefed-up border security in Mexico.
While Coahuila is responsible for international bridges across from Del Rio and Eagle Pass, Texas, the northern Mexico state can’t really be trusted to secure the border or crack down on illegal crossings. The Coahuila government, like other state governments throughout Mexico, has been partially infiltrated and corrupted by powerful cartels and criminal organizations that profit from illegal immigration.
Last week, Abbott essentially halted commercial traffic at the border in an effort to force President Joe Biden to address the worsening crisis. He also extracted promises from Nuevo León Gov. Samuel Alejandro García Sepúlveda to help curb illegal border crossings, despite the Mexican governor’s lack of authority to arrest and transport migrants, which falls under the remit of the Mexican National Guard.
As my colleague John Daniel Davidson recently wrote, “[B]y targeting international trade and holding a press conference with Mexican governors, Abbott is opting for show over substance, which has been his approach to the border crisis from the beginning.”
Now, Abbott has managed to get a governor of northern Mexico to replicate his own border security theater on the south side of the Rio Grande. Too bad it will do as little to secure the border in Mexico as it has in the United States.