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Border security: Crossing the line

NONE of the twinned cities that straddle America’s southern border with Mexico are as historically close as Laredo, in Texas, and Nuevo Laredo, in Mexico. The settlement at Laredo predates Texas, and what is now Nuevo Laredo was originally part of it before being separately established on the Mexican side after Mexican-American war of 1847. So on September 13th, when two young Mexicans were found in Nuevo Laredo, hanging from a footbridge and disembowelled (see article), it struck rather close to home.

The conflict between and against the drug-trafficking organisations has killed more than 40,000 people in Mexico in the past five years. America’s response has, however, been warped by the fact that many on the north side of the river see border security as the effort to keep unauthorised economic migrants out of the United States, with the illicit flow of drugs from Mexico and guns from the United States being lesser concerns. The clamour has been rising—particularly in Texas, which has the longest stretch of the 2,000-mile (3,200km) border—…

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