Let’s talk about the media and the border crisis. Media advocacy on behalf of bogus asylum has succeeded. It has spawned the most precipitous increase in family units ever crossing our border and has empowered the dangerous drug cartels beyond belief. Now, the media strategy is “see no evil, hear no evil.” They are seeking to deny that there even is any problem at our border.
One of the most common canards from these blowhards who refuse to educate themselves about this issue is that the border flow is not truly exceptional. They point to the fact that there were years in the 1990s and early 2000s when we experienced almost 1.5 million annual apprehensions. This myopic approach exposes how they are completely disregarding the nature of this particular migration and the dangers it poses.
Here are six interconnected points that explain why the problem is so imminent now more than ever before.
When assessing any sense of urgency in policy, a firm grasp of the trajectory is very important. While it’s true that there were years a long time ago when we experienced more border crossings, it’s the trajectory of this current surge that is concerning.
Yes, indeed it was an emergency in the 2000s when we experienced over one million annual border apprehensions, and that is precisely why Congress passed the Secure Fence Act. Yet we only were given 36.3 miles of the originally planned 850-mile double-layer fence. It worked great in Yuma, dropping apprehensions by 95 percent, as did the San Diego fence built in the 1990s. Then the recession occurred. That, along with the fact that most of the Mexicans who wanted to come here already did so, dried up the flow of migrants. Period. This should never have been a problem again.
In comes Obama with amnesty, expanded asylum, and numerous other magnets and invites in a new wave of Central Americans along with more immigrants not of Mexican origin coming over the border.
Freeze-frame for a moment. When you experience one generation of migration and you are on the cusp of a new one but can still stop it, yes, that is an emergency, irrespective of the comparison to the previous waves.
Now take a look at this chart explaining the flow of migration since Trump took office:
When Trump was elected, border crossings immediately slowed to a trickle. Border sheriffs with decades of experience tell me they never saw anything like it. The mere perception of deterrent dried up the flow because perception of amnesty is what drives the migration. But then the courts went into high gear and even Trump started talking about a “dream” amnesty later in 2017. That ratcheted up the flow again.
Then, in the summer of 2018, the media and the courts virtue-signaled on behalf of criminal aliens self-separating themselves from their kids, and we have now experienced the sharpest surge in such a short period of time. We are on pace for over 700,000 apprehensions this fiscal year (which could easily be 1.5 million in total coming over the border, counting non-interdicted). The number of family units apprehended between points of entry skyrocketed by almost 2,151 percent since the rock-bottom numbers of the Trump effect in the spring of 2017. Yes, that is an emergency and needs to be addressed. The numbers are climbing higher every single month. Do we need to wait until it reaches the peak of the last wave before we get permission to pre-empt the peak of a new wave that should never have happened?
2) We are not returning these illegal aliens back to their countries
One of the big reasons why this wave of migrants not of Mexican origin is even worse than the previous waves of migration from Mexico is because we are not repatriating them. While it is true that we had years of over one million apprehensions during the 1990s and early 2000s, we also returned 1-1.5 million of them every year to Mexico. And we usually did so within hours. Now those numbers are down to 100,000-200,000 a year (not including removals from the interior, which take forever) because most of them are from other countries and are wrongly considered by the courts to be eligible for various forms of status. According to the DHS, only 1.1 percent of non-Mexican family unit aliens had been repatriated and only 1.8 percent of non-Mexican unaccompanied alien minors had been repatriated. For example, of the 31,754 unaccompanied minors CBP apprehended from the Central America in fiscal year 2017, 98.2 percent remain in the country today. It takes about a year to return just the total of aliens that come from a mere few days of apprehensions! In that sense, this wave is much more devastating to American taxpayers than previous waves because it’s permanent.
Also, in general, the courts are more aggressive than ever in blocking removals or returns. We are facing death by a thousand lawsuits, being forced to litigate deportations for months that once took us hours.
3) Nature of the migrants
Whereas in previous decades the migration consisted mainly of single adults, the current migration is being driven by the magnets of catch-and-release for teenagers and family units. This has created a humanitarian crisis with children the likes of which we’ve never seen before, even at the peak of the Mexican migration of last decade. By the media’s own admission, during the July showdown over “family separation,” this was a huge crisis. Well, that very media outcry has now incentivized a gushing flow from Guatemala and doubled the number of family units coming over even relative to the emergency levels of last July.
4) Shutdown of our Border Patrol
Our Border Patrol is being tied up in a way we’ve never seen before. Because most of the migrants are coming for amnesty through their children, they are purposely surrendering themselves to the border agents, not trying to evade detection as they did in past decades. This is the wave of “I have a credible fear” migrants. The number of migrants asserting credible fear and surrendering themselves to border agents has increased 1,744 percent from 2009 through FY 2018, and the numbers are now surging even higher. That is an emergency of stolen sovereignty, especially when you consider that violence went down in those countries precisely as migration went up. We are being taken advantage of.
It would be bad enough if that did not enable the drug cartels, but it does. The cartels use the surrendering migrants as diversions so they can smuggle in their Special Interest Aliens, drugs, criminals, and gangsters. In the past, the flow was more uniform, so Border Patrol could spread out and deter the cartels and their more high-value clients with the fear of interdiction. Now there are record numbers of bogus asylees, often 100 at a time, running straight for Border Patrol at the command of the cartels. This is taking border agents out of the field and turning them, quite literally, into babysitters and hospitals. That is when the drug cartels bring in all of the criminals and drugs, which is why that crisis began around 2014 with the flow of Central Americans.
None other than Obama’s DHS secretary, Jeh Johnson, warned about the “the increased global movement of SIAs” in July 2016, asserting that it demanded the “immediate attention” of the nation’s most senior immigration and border security leaders to counter.
5) The drug and gang crisis
This iteration of the migration has empowered the drug cartels more than ever to spawn the worst drug and gang crisis in our history. Back during the great wave of Mexican migrants, the drug problem was bad, but the deaths were a fraction of what they are today. MS-13 was almost eradicated during Bush’s second term. Now the gangs and cartels are stronger than ever. Everyone seems to recognize the drug crisis as an imminent emergency, except as it relates to its primary source: the border.
6) Drug cartels are more powerful and dangerous than ever before
The sheer fact that anybody is comparing this border problem to that of previous decades demonstrates a core problem. They fail to understand that the cartels have adapted to new dimensions of criminality and have become a bigger problem than before.
The cartel violence at our border is through the roof and much worse than in previous decades. Why? Because now that the cartels control the lucrative migration trade engendered by the amnesty agenda (catch-and-release, UACs, asylum, DACA, sanctuary cities), they fight for control over the turf. To fully understand the gravity of the cartels and why things have changed so much for the worse, I had a long interview with Jaeson Jones, a veteran of the border war, on my podcast on Monday. Jones is a retired captain of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division, who commanded and developed the Texas Border Security Operations Center (BSOC) currently under the Texas Rangers. Here’s what he said about the evolving threat of the cartels:
Children and people are now a commodity to the cartels. They have to pay what is known as the Peso, or the tax to the cartels, as they transit from southern part of Mexico all the way up to our northern border. Once you’re in control of a plaza, everything that moves through is paid for. That’s why they battle. That’s why they battle for control of that space. That’s basically the way it works, and it’s also why you are not going to enter the United States without working and contracting with the Mexican cartels.
Jones lamented the amount of crime from criminal alien networks that is not being quantified in federal data:
Along our southwest border right now, the level of cartel infiltration at local, and state, and federal levels is unbelievable. Look at the kidnappings that are occurring. The extortion, drug trafficking. … To this day at a national level, the American people have no idea how much dope is actually seized in this country. Human trafficking, labor trafficking, money laundering, weapon seizures, cybercrime. I mean the list goes on.
What about those who believe blocking cartel infiltration is somehow not the purview of national defense?
When we see these individuals learning the tradecraft of how to utilize armored vehicles and military-grade weapons in two-man, four-man, 10-man tactics … our everyday law enforcement officers domestically are not capable of handling that. That’s not what they train for.
Indeed, this is a national emergency quintessentially grounded in our national security more than anything else we do. The problem is here, and the time to address it is now.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.