The Associated Press is reporting that New Mexico gubernatorial candidate Tom Mullins (R) that the U.S. could deter undocumented immigrants from entering the U.S. by placing landmines at the border:
The Republican nominee for a New Mexico congressional seat suggested during a radio interview that the United States could place land mines along the Mexican border to secure the international boundary. [...]
In the May 18 interview with KNMX radio in Las Vegas, N.M., Mullins says the U.S. could mine the border, install barbed wire and post signs directing would-be border jumpers to cross legally at designated checkpoints.
Mullins is now claiming that he was merely articulating a suggestion that was put forth while he was campaigning and that he does not support such drastic measures. Regardless of his intentions, the broader context in which Mullins’ comments fit is still troubling.
Last week, a 14-year-old boy was shot and killed by a border agent who claims that the victim was throwing rocks at him. The incident has led more than a few people to point out that the situation at the U.S. – Mexico border “looks too much like Israel and Palestine for comfort.” In more moderate terms, University of Texas-El Paso political science professor Tony Payan worried that border agents “may feel emboldened now to see themselves not just as law enforcement but as soldiers on a battlefield, defending the country against an invading enemy of Mexicans.” Mullins’ comments further enforce this twisted view of the border.
In the end, Mullins’ suggestion, together with the passage of Arizona’s draconian immigration law and the endless slew of calls for more border security, are all based on the misguided premise that the border is a place of “murder, terror, and mayhem.” However, the facts show just the opposite. FBI statistics show that crime is declining in U.S. border towns across the U.S. While it’s true that the U.S. is engaged in the war on drugs, it’s not a war that will be won by deploying the national guard, planting landmines, or even completing the dang fence.
Mullins was also the only Republican New Mexico congressional candidate to immediately come out in support of Arizona’s immigration law.