In Washington, there is a clamor from Democrats and liberal Republicans to enact a “DACA solution.” In the real world, DACA is the problem. It is what incentivized the entire atmosphere at the border to bring in hundreds of thousands of Central Americans, record amounts of lethal drugs, dangerous gangs and new youth recruits, and now Middle Easterners.
MS-13 and the drug cartels bring in Central American youths
As we’ve explained before, it’s no mystery why both the drug and gang crises took off after the 2013-2015 surge of teenage boys coming over the border. The boys served as drug mules and new gang recruits, empowering the drug cartels and the gangs with a politically protected supply of new recruits. The cartels understand that our political culture sympathizes with “children” and will treat them leniently. Sadly, there is no sympathy for the communities in northern Virginian that are devastated by the gang recruitment.
Fox’s D.C. affiliate reported this week on the growing gang problem in D.C.’s southern suburbs. According to Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force Executive Director Jay Lanham, 80 percent of the gang recruits are from high schools and middle schools. Why? “MS-13 often target young recruits because if they are convicted, they often face light jail sentences due to their age.”
Northern Virginia has become a hot spot of MS-13 activity. Just this week, Prince William County authorities arrested four gang members suspected of burning a man to death in a car.
Consequently, when we have our politicians telegraphing the message that teenagers caught coming over the border, smuggling drugs, or committing crimes in the interior of the country will not be deported or even incarcerated, we have a surge in all of the criminal activities that rely on teenagers for cover and for recruits. And as the Washington Post began reporting this week, the recruitment is now including girls as well as boys. The cartels understand that our criminal justice system has no appetite for properly dealing with those who have a double coating of identity protection from the political elites in this country.
This is why DACA is not the “least offensive” version of amnesty, as even some pseudo-conservatives assert. It is the most offensive and dangerous form of amnesty that is fueling the entire economy of migration that empowers everyone from MS-13 and the drug cartels to Hezbollah and Middle Eastern smugglers. As long as we continue amnesty or quasi-amnesty, such as catch-and-release, for teenagers and family units, our country will be in mortal danger from the smuggling of drugs, gangs, and Middle Easterners. Just this week, Border Patrol in east Texas caught an MS-13 member crossing the border with a child, posing as a “family unit.” It is, therefore, not surprising that since the Trump administration telegraphed a desire for DACA and word got out that catch-and-release is still in place, the number of “family units” crossing increased by 695 percent over the past 12 months.
Border surge fuels Hezbollah trafficking and makes us vulnerable to Iran
The misguided sympathy for amnesty for children and asylum for “family units” is not only a fiscal drain on this country and the foundation of our drug and gang problem. It also provides Hezbollah and the drug cartels that work together with the perfect opportunity to smuggle in high-value Middle Eastern operatives. Now that we have decided to allow in thousands of bogus asylum-seekers, the cartels have the perfect diversion through which to sneak in what the intelligence community calls Special Interest Aliens (SIAs).
As Breitbart Texas reported last week, border agents are concerned about this growing trend after two more Syrians were caught crossing the desert in the Laredo sector. They crossed the border in the same area where almost 300 Bangladeshis have been caught this year. The question is: How many have come over undetected?
Here is the significance of Laredo as the prime location for smuggling Middle Easterners. As Bob Price of Breitbart rightly observes, this is the area that is fully controlled by the Los Zetas cartel. The Zetas are notoriously the most brutal cartel but also the one with the most established ties to Hezbollah. It is very likely that they have partnered with the Iranian-backed terror group to smuggle in Middle Easterners in return for weapons, training, and access to some of Hezbollah’s global cocaine market, particularly in West Africa. Los Zetas, unlike the Sinaloa cartel, works primarily in the cocaine trade (as opposed to heroin). Recently, there has been an uptick in the cocaine supply and a surge in deaths from fentanyl-laced cocaine now rivaling the crisis of fentanyl-laced heroin (which was brought on primarily by the Sinaloa cartel).
How do most Middle Easterners arrive at the border? As the Washington Times reported recently, based on new information from a Treasury Department indictment against a transnational crime organization, Middle Easterners pay up to $27,000 to be smuggled from Lebanon and are given fake documents to travel to Brazil and other Latin American countries. Remember, anything coming out of Lebanon is controlled by Hezbollah, which also has a large base of operations in Brazil and surrounding South American countries, as well as Central American countries, such as Nicaragua and El Salvador. Brazil is home to the largest Lebanese diaspora in the world.
The open border, with its sympathy for “family units,” is enriching Hezbollah through the drug and human smuggling trade. But the threat is much more serious than that.
Place yourself in Iran’s shoes for a moment. The country has been humiliated by President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over and over again in the past two weeks. Between Trump abrogating the Iran deal, the Mossad stealing state secrets right out of Iran’s capitol, and Israel’s air force decimating Iran’s forces in Syria, the Islamic Republic has likely suffered its most embarrassing setback since 1979.
What is our biggest vulnerability, which happens to also overlap with one of Iran’s biggest strengths and ties into an issue that is so sensitive to our political elites? Latin America and border migration.
As early as 2012, the House Homeland Security Committee recognized that Iran and Hezbollah “have a growing presence in Latin America” and “a significant presence in the United States that could be utilized in terror attacks intended to deter U.S. efforts to curtail Iran’s nuclear program.” In particular, the committee warned about the growing relationship with the Zetas cartel, the territory from which we are now seeing alarming migration of Middle Easterners.
The biggest concern is the Venezuelan migration. There are hundreds of thousands of migrants pouring out of Venezuela, as it completely crumbles into a failed state. Not only is Venezuela Hezbollah’s main base of operations in South America, with direct ties to the country’s vice president, who is of Syrian descent; there are hundreds of thousands of Lebanese and Syrian expatriates living there. Some 37,000 Venezuelans cross into Colombia every day, and there are signs that some of the two million refugees have already headed north. This could become our Syria.
Joseph Humire, executive director of the Center for a Secure Free Society and noted expert on Iran’s networks in Latin America, told CR that the Venezuelan refugee crisis is the number one threat posed to us by Iran. While there are obvious “pull factors” from the amnesty offered in the United States, he is deeply concerned about the “external push factors” and “asymmetrical warfare” Iran is preparing to direct the crisis against us. “[The] goal is to ultimately drive out more refugees. Iran’s efforts to export the Islamic revolution and destabilize all of Latin America are centered around the crisis in Venezuela. These efforts are increasingly witnessed in Central America and Mexico, where an uptick in Syrians and Special Interest Aliens has caught the attention of local authorities. As tensions increase with the West in the Middle East, Iran will increasingly mobilize in Latin America.”
This is the “nuclear threat” to our security, and Iran doesn’t even need a nuclear warhead to orchestrate it. The country has a seamless flow from its base of operations in Venezuela, its work with the drug cartels, and our “compassionate family values” immigration pipeline.
The president appears to be frustrated with his cabinet for not taking enough action to stem this tide. It’s time for the president to demand that all asylum-seekers be processed outside our country. He should also publicly champion Louie Gohmert’s bill, H.R. 5648, which would strip the lower courts of any power to adjudicate cases that “raise issues of immigration, naturalization, refugee status, asylum, and any other related matter or case involving a claimed legal right to enter or remain in the United States.” This will stop them from inventing the law and subverting our sovereignty to incentivize more of these migrations.
National security is not about Afghanistan and Yemen. It is about our own border and the threats of gangs, drugs, and terrorists in our own backyard. It’s time we stop treating DACA as the solution and treat it as the huge national security threat that it is.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.