Fight cross-border crime with collaboration, not threats

The United States and Mexico face a powerful onslaught of criminal activity damaging both countries. They need to step up cooperation now. U.S. threats are counterproductive.

What if Mexico threatened a 25 percent tariff on American corn and soybeans unless U.S. citizens stopped providing the estimated $19-29 billion in drug sale profits each year to Mexican criminal groups? Or, what if Mexico threatened to impose tariffs on American pork until the United States stops the illegal flow of automatic weapons and ammunition across the shared border?

The recent U.S. threats to put a 25 percent tax on Mexican car imports to the United States, “if the drugs don’t stop or largely stop” are counter-productive to building the deeper cooperation needed.

We must be clear: U.S.-Mexico cooperation cannot solve the U.S. drug demand problem that leads to some 70,000 American overdose deaths a year. Nor can bilateral cooperation solve the crime and violence in Mexico that caused 33,000 homicides in 2018. However, better bilateral cooperation can strongly augment the capability of both partners to tackle the immense problems they face.

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