There’s a very simple question the president needs to ask as he continues to contemplate action at the border. For whom does our Border Patrol or even the military exist? Do they exist to protect Americans from bad people coming into this country or to serve as babysitters for a cartel smuggling operation that enables bad people to come in? The two jobs are mutually exclusive. Cartel babysitting undermines protecting Americans. This fact alone should prompt the president to shut down all asylum requests at the border and turn back migrants.
Yesterday, the U.S. Border Patrol celebrated a grim 95th birthday. On May 28, 1924, Congress established the Border Patrol as part of the Immigration Bureau in the Labor Appropriation Act of 1924. Prior to that, land borders were patrolled by ad hoc “mounted watchmen” with few formal federal resources, because most people entered through sea ports. The purpose of the Border Patrol was very clearly spelled out in the 1924 funding bill: “Preventing the unlawful entry” of mainly Chinese nationals and deporting anyone who was caught. The Department of Labor was given funding for “the operation of horse and motor vehicles.” It was all for detention and deportation. Nothing more, nothing less.
Fast-forward 95 years later, and Border Patrol has now become a global babysitting and hospital service. It exists for the invaders, not for those supposed to be protected from them. Border Patrol has advertised “the creation of a new Border Patrol Processing Coordinator position” for the purpose of processing and transporting aliens and for “custodial watch of detainees in hospitals.”
Just in the El Paso sector alone, 2,200 illegal immigrants surrendered themselves to Border Patrol on Memorial Day. While most are still from Central America, the message has gotten out to the rest of the world that we are not enforcing our border. According to Customs and Border Protection (CBP), 15 illegal aliens from Congo, a country ravaged by Ebola, yellow fever, and other diseases, were apprehended at Eagle Pass, Texas. Not surprisingly, “The group consisted of five adult males, five adult females, and five minor children.” In other words, just enough minors to go around that each adult pair has one to use as a ticket to amnesty.
What is going on in plain sight at the border is bad enough, but what’s worse is what we don’t see. Try to imagine how many really bad people are coming in the New Mexico desert while the agents are on babysitting duty rather than patrolling. In Texas, border agents at secondary checkpoints caught 38 illegal aliens being smuggled up the highway in the Rio Grande Valley on Monday. Thankfully, those checkpoints are still being manned, but what is happening in New Mexico, where all the checkpoints are down? Any suspicious smuggling activity of people who are scared to meet agents will go unchallenged because they have unfettered access to the interior of the country.
Even among the hundreds of thousands we do apprehend without prior criminal records, we have no idea who these people are. Many Central American teens come from extremely volatile backgrounds and are being resettled in our communities under the most tenuous circumstances in neighborhoods full of existing illegal immigrant gangs. The entirety of the Long Island MS-13 surge has been caused by the influx of Central Americans since 2014. Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Cronan said that there are 2,000 MS-13 members in Long Island and “their ranks are continually being refilled with new emissaries from El Salvador.” The Nassau County Police union said on Sunday that they need 60 additional detectives just to combat MS-13 in their area. Eleven people have been killed by MS-13 in Long Island since 2016.
These are the direct effects of our Border Patrol being used to facilitate catch-and-release rather than stop-and-turn-back to enforce a shutoff of immigration the president should have announced long ago. If this is the degree of criminality we saw just from the 2014 wave, can you imagine what is going to occur as a result of this much larger wave?
That is a question Jaeson Jones, retired captain with the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division, asked on my podcast last week. Jones warned that tens of thousands of illegal aliens have now become “indebted to the cartels inside our country” and will have to go back into the criminal world to pay off that debt.
“Human trafficking will reach new heights in the United States in the next 18 to 24 months,” Jones warned. “Several cartels have stated that they cannot keep up with the number of people surging through their plazas throughout Mexico. Historically, the cartels’ process was to detain people in stash houses until receiving payments from migrants who wished to travel through their plaza or be smuggled across the border into the United States. Those who could not pay would compensate by working off the debt in Mexico for the cartels. For women, that would mean sex trafficking, and for men that would be carrying narcotics for the cartels.”
That has all changed, and the criminal activity will continue on our soil, according to Jones.
“Today, due to the surge of migrants from across the world, the cartels are dealing with new challenges in collecting the piso [tax]. Many migrants traveling from Central America cannot afford the tax ranging from $3,000 to $6,000 per person. Additionally, the cartel cannot afford to house migrants until receiving payment. As a result, the cartels are collecting the personal identifying information (PII) from migrants, including family contact information, which is then confirmed and validated through phone calls made to family members of the migrants. These migrants are then released to travel into the United States.”
Thus, the criminal problems we will face will not only come from those the Border Patrol misses but from those they catch and release.
“Once through U.S. immigration and customs processing, migrants are immediately contacting smugglers and are receiving instructions where to go and who to contact to work off their debt.”
I’ve noted many times that the president has the power to shut off even legitimate asylum claims when he believes it’s “detrimental” to U.S. interests. But this goes even beyond immigration law. This is national security and national defense in the face of a strategic 21st century-style invasion by the most dangerous cartels.
The president would be wise to make the national security case to the American people for designating the cartels as terrorists and using the military to counter them. That would easily pave the way for an executive shutoff of all immigration processing at our border. Then, the Border Patrol can actually focus on patrolling.
After all, that is why we created the Border Patrol.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.