Are the Mexican drug cartels more effective at stopping illegal immigration than our own Border Patrol? Immigrants seeking to illegally enter the U.S. from Central America are faced with a new and growing threat, cartels. The question is: What does this say about the cartels?

In August, an Ecuadorian immigrant venturing to the U.S. was detained by the Zetas — a notorious Mexican drug cartel — with a group of 72 other immigrants containing both men and women. Due to their unwillingness to work for the cartel, all were shot dead while the one escaped.

There are two ways this can be viewed: Either the cartels are growing bigger, so they need more people to smuggle drugs into the U.S. — and there is no better way than to use those who are successful at getting in — or the cartels are weakening and have no choice but to coerce illegal immigrants to do their bidding.

I might have to go with the latter. When cartels are not generating high drug revenues from their core business, they tend to resort to other illegal activities, such as prostitution and people-smuggling. Supposedly, people-smuggling is a $6.6 billion industry in Mexico. For obvious reasons, this has captured the attention of the cartels.

But the bigger issue is our illegal immigration problem. Is our government inadvertently relying on the forces of the cartels to curb illegal immigration? And if so, what happens if the cartels can more effectively compel desperate immigrants to do their bidding? Will immigration reform address this underlying issue and the potentially explosive repercussions?

Williams can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Power 169 from 7 to 8 p.m. and 4 to 5 a.m.