Something to consider before casting a vote for the DREAM Act (Rep. Brian Bilbray)

These 72 migrant workers were looking to make a better life for themselves on the promise of illegal jobs from unscrupulous employers and a promise of amnesty from unscrupulous politicians. The migrants paid the cartels to bring them across our border illegally, not knowing they would be kidnapped, held for ransom and murdered—whether or not their families paid for their release.

Unfortunately, some people in Congress and in the business community share the responsibility for the murders. When my colleagues talk about providing amnesty (or “a pathway to citizenship”) they become an accessory to these murders. When they support amnesty, introduce bills that provide a pathway to citizenship and, in the most irresponsible of cases, use amnesty to motivate voters, they tell people: ‘work with the cartels and come across our border illegally, for we will eventually give you amnesty and citizenship.’

This talk of amnesty is not only an insult to every American who has come to the United States legally and the millions who wait patiently while playing by the rules, but is in part what makes it possible for the cartels to murder those 72 innocent migrant workers.

Not everyone in Congress is guilty of promoting illegal border crossings. After a hard-fought bipartisan majority was forged together, the United States government agreed to help Mexican President Felipe Calderon in his efforts to regain control of his country from the cartels. The crown jewel of the U.S. effort is the Merida Initiative which provides more than $1.5 billion to Mexico in the form of equipment such as helicopters and aircraft, and training in cartel tracking procedures and witness protection programs.

Unfortunately, while American resources to Calderon increase, the cartels continue to gain more control of Mexico. During this time, Calderon has come to our country to belittle our immigration laws. He has filed ‘friend of the court’ briefs against Arizona. He has meddled in our politics, yet lends nothing to the debate over E-Verify, a system that targets employers exploiting illegal immigrants and treats everyone equally. At home, in that same four years, he has watched the cartels gain money, power and control while murdering no less than 25,000 people.

In Washington, we recognize the United States and Mexico have a relationship that extends far beyond our shared border. Yet the murders have not stopped and Calderon has no more control over the cartels than the day he took office. As our states take further action to simply enforce existing immigration law, Mexico should focus less on criticizing them and focus more on eliminating the cartels.