The extensive criminal and political power of Mexican cartels is a topic largely ignored by the American media and thus unknown to most Americans. Strengthened and enriched by the Biden administration’s border crisis, the cartels have evolved into global criminal enterprises impacting America through epidemic levels of drug overdoses, human smuggling and trafficking, and increased risks to public safety and national security.

Parsing Immigration Policy brings together two terrorism and border authorities to discuss the powerful Mexican cartels and their new business model, which has made them a clear national security threat to the United States. Todd Bensman, the Center’s senior national security fellow, is joined by Jaeson Jones, an expert on Mexican cartels and a retired Captain from the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division.

Jones says the cartels have diversified their business model and now make more money from human trafficking than from narcotics. They have turned human smuggling (which is voluntary) into human trafficking by the widespread use of debt bondage, allowing them to control migrants living all over the U.S. for years after they have crossed the border.

Jones describes how cartels have taken advantage of the Biden administration’s border policies to earn billions of dollars a year – one estimate puts it at $13 billion. This money allows them to bribe more people, buy more military-grade weapons, and expand their international empires.

Jones explains his view that the United States should declare the Mexican cartels as foreign terrorist organizations so the federal government can go after more of their money and prevent their use of air travel. He will unveil a Threat Assessment on October 16 that will include recommendations for winning the battle against the cartels.


Todd Bensman is the Senior National Security Fellow of the Center for Immigration Studies.


Jaeson Jones is a retired Captain from the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division.


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Intro Montage

Voices in the opening montage:

  • Sen. Barack Obama at a 2005 press conference.
  • Sen. John McCain in a 2010 election ad.
  • President Lyndon Johnson, upon signing the 1965 Immigration Act.
  • Booker T. Washington, reading in 1908 from his 1895 Atlanta Exposition speech.
  • Laraine Newman as a “Conehead” on SNL in 1977.
  • Hillary Clinton in a 2003 radio interview.
  • Cesar Chavez in a 1974 interview.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaking to reporters in 2019.
  • Prof. George Borjas in a 2016 C-SPAN appearance.
  • Sen. Jeff Sessions in 2008 comments on the Senate floor.
  • Charlton Heston in “Planet of the Apes”.


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