The increasingly powerful cartels that inflict much of this misery not only control the flow of narcotics, but also of people. As former ICE Acting Director Tom Homan said recently on a panel discussion at the National Press Club: “Nothing happens on that northern [Mexican] border without the blessing and paying off of the drug cartels.” On the same panel, Sheriff Andy Louderback of Jackson County, Texas added that “the penetration of the cartels is profound” in the border regions.

For too long, American elites willingly ignored the dangers of de facto open borders and largely unfettered illegal migration. On the GOP side, big business welcomed a steady stream of cheap labor. Across the aisle, the Democrats embraced the potential of huge new voting constituencies via amnesties and the offspring of illegal immigrants.

But these awful recent events in Mexico should awaken Americans to the realities of these proximate dangers and spur action to vastly improve control over our borders. While a complete border wall would not solve every problem at the border, it would clearly be a massive boon to law enforcement. New prohibitive barriers already deter trespassers and smugglers in places like San Diego, CA. The chief patrol agent for that sector, Douglas Harrison described the utility of freshly-installed steel bollard fencing: “it’s an intimidating barrier. I’m an old Army guy, I was in the 101st Airborne and I would not try to cross that.”