Next time President Obama speaks on the U.S. economy he should mention that the Mexican cartels are doing fine under his watch.
In 2006 the Mexican drug cartels operated in only 50 U.S. cities, and now they are in 1,300 communities across the nation according to the National Drug Intelligence Center as reported by Nick Valencia for CNN: "drug cartels have become so widespread in this country that some are calling the people who run them the drug lords next door." Unfortunately, there is little that law enforcement can do about the problem as President Obama refuses to enforce the immigration laws. According to Valencia the drug cartels are "operating under the cover of a growing Latino community" in the United States, and "the large boom in Latino population allows easier access for the cartels to blend in and hide under that cover so it's a hard road ahead for the authorities that's for sure."
The most conservative estimate is that the Mexican drug trade in the United States annually reaps $6.6 billion as reported by Patrick Radden Keefe for The New York Times: "it didn’t merely survive the recession — it has thrived in recent years." If the U.S. intends to get serious in the war on drugs it must focus on this cash as reported by The Associated Press:
"The money is much more valuable to the trafficker than the drugs are," said John Kirby, a former federal prosecutor in San Diego, who worked on money laundering cases against the Arellano-Felix cartel, among others. "If you want to hurt these guys that’s how you do it, because that's the end product. That's what they really want. And if you can try to take that away, then you're really having an impact."
Of course, given that the underground economy is about the only growth industry in the United States -- Americans are only 4% of the world's population but consume 2/3 of the drugs -- maybe the politicians shouldn't try too hard in squelching it.