In his signing flurry of the past several weeks, Trump penned three executive orders aimed at targeting drug cartels, reducing crime and and generally getting rid of those “bad hombres” south of the border.
In his characteristic use of repetitive adverbs and adjectives in lieu of intellectual substance, Trump reiterated just why his record number of executive orders are essential, so very essential—especially these three.
“I’m signing three executive actions today designed to restore safety in America,” he said. “Very important. All very important.”
In his first act as head of the Department of Justice, Attorney General Jeff Sessions presented the three executive orders to Trump, using similar verbal flourishes to describe how rising crime is a “dangerous, permanent trend” in the U.S. and how he promises to “end this lawlessness” of illegal immigration.
While Trump and Sessions say they’re on the warpath against organized crime and drug cartels, beyond the tough talk and bluster, there has been little to suggest that they have any serious strategies to tackle Latin America’s bad men.
The White House did not provide copies of the executive orders, nor was there any explanation given regarding exactly what they would do, but Trump listed their titles, which ranged from enforcing federal law and preventing international trafficking to forming a task force on crime reduction and preventing violence against law enforcement officials.
The most relevant of the executive orders for organized crime in the Americas, according to Insight Crime, was the order entitled “Presidential Executive Order on Enforcing Federal Law with Respect to Transnational Criminal Organizations and Preventing International Trafficking.”
In the policy section of the order, Trump calls for strengthening federal law enforcement, improving coordination and cracking down on organized crime by prosecuting “ancillary criminal offenses” like immigration and visa fraud. Wait, what?
Hence, Trump’s immigration crackdown, which is, according to Chicago Pastor Fred Morris, causing a “dreadful sense of fear. It’s more than palpable. It’s radiating. People are terrified.”
Trump responded, in a tweet of course: “The crackdown on illegal criminals is merely the keeping of my campaign promise. Gang members, drug dealers & others are being removed!”
But what about Trump’s promise to “break the back of the criminal cartels that have spread across our nation and are destroying the blood of our youth and other people”?
Insight Crime says that Trump’s talk of smashing cartels does not seem to be backed by any clear strategy, other than the failed War on Drugs:
“Despite the bold declarations, there is little substance that can be gleaned from Trump’s new executive order covering transnational organized crime,” Insight Crime reported. “It essentially amounts to little more than announcing vague plans to review and improve law enforcement practices and the legal framework they work within.”
In terms of law enforcement and international cooperation with our neighbors to the south, we already know what Trump’s bombastic approach has reaped so far: an insane pledge to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and basically telling Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto, to go pound salt.
Things didn’t get much better after a phone call in which, according to the Associated Press, Trump told President Peña Nieto that, “You have a bunch of bad hombres down there. You aren’t doing enough to stop them. I think your military is scared. Our military isn’t, so I just might send them down to take care of it.”
Great, Trump is going to take care of both sides of the border.
How? Just ask Trump’s new bully and defender in chief, Stephen Miller.
“The media and the whole world will soon see, as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned,” Miller said.
As Seth Meyers said on the Late Night Show, “The only way that statement could be more terrifying is if he yelled it in German.”
So, yeah, maybe you better not ask.