Mica on Mexico border violence: close all U.S. consulates
Wednesday, September 09, 2015
Expressing astonishment at border patrol arrests of criminals and violence in Mexico, U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Winter Park, called Wednesday for the United States to close all its consulates in Mexico.
Mica spoke at a meeting of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, during a hearing on Mexico violence and U.S. border security. He was responding primarily to testimony given by Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, a union affiliate of the American Federation of Government Employees.
Judd stated that last year the Border Patrol apprehended and deported 91,000 convicted criminals, among the 500,000 total people that the patrol caught.
Mica said he was astonished. He also expressed outrage regarding other testimony given Wednesday about specific acts of violence in Mexico, and concerns that it was spreading into the United States.
The committee chairman, U.S. Rep. Jason E Chaffetz, R-Utah, had called the hearing in part to discuss the prospect of closing three U.S. consulates in the most dangerous border crossing areas in Mexico. Mica upped that proposal.
"There has to be consequences. How many consulates do we have? I count about nine in Mexico. Is that right? I think we should close every one of those consulates immediately. Put the properties up for sale," Mica said. "I think you have to have consequences for actions. The place is out of control."
Despite grilling from Mica and other members of the committee, several State Department and Border Patrol officials, including Judd, also suggested some improvements were happening. Judd noted that recent changes make it easier for the Border Patrol to identify and deport criminal aliens, and to enact consequences.
But Judd insisted violence was increasing, partly because of the "rise of criminal aliens" crossing the border.
When questioned by U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., about what would happen if the U.S. closed consulates in Mexico, Robert Harris, director of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Joint Task Force – West, called "U.S. deployment" in Mexico "critically important."
"In terms of my business, our relationship with Mexico an
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