As you read headlines in the news about a surge at our border, caravans of bogus asylum seekers, the growth of sanctuary cities, and the uptick in MS-13 activity, maybe you’re not thinking about illicit drugs. But what’s at stake as we are still leaving our borders wide open are tens of thousands of potential deaths from heroin, fentanyl, and other drugs. Yet the very same politicians who virtue-signal about the drug overdose “opioid” crisis are not only ignoring the true source of the more serious drug problem, they are making it worse.
Several dozen of the caravan’s members have made their way over to a border checkpoint in San Diego to demand asylum. Obviously, the next few days will be a test for the Trump administration. Will our officials enforce the true meaning of the asylum statutes and deport these individuals expeditiously?
However, while our agents are busy dealing with the caravan, all orchestrated with the cooperation of the drug cartels who control the Mexican side of the border, those cartels will undoubtedly be smuggling in drugs and other high-value customers, such as gang leaders and Middle Easterners, in the gap created by the diversion of manpower.
Brandon Judd, president of the Border Patrol Council, told CR that “criminal cartels and smugglers use the confusion these types of caravans create to smuggle illicit drugs like fentanyl across our borders.” He warned that “more often than not, smugglers use illegal immigration to distract and to tie law enforcement resources up while they smuggle their higher-profit contraband like dangerous narcotics across the border.”
The drug cartels smuggle in their poison using young teenage boys who serve as drug mules precisely because they know many of them will be released if they are caught. Furthermore, with every growing border surge, the coffers of the cartels grow exponentially because all of the proceeds from the smuggling – of both drugs and people – go toward their enterprise. This is why the poppy fields tripled from 2013 to 2016, according to the DEA, overlapping with the last border surge.
It’s amazing how liberals in both parties are entertaining over 100 pieces of legislation and spending a fortune to treat the drug issue exclusively as a health care problem, yet they will not lift a finger to address the amnesty magnet that allows most of the dangerous drugs to enter our country. As Judge Andrew Hanen warned right as the drug crisis was ramping up in 2013, “By fostering an atmosphere whereby illegal aliens are encouraged to pay human smugglers for further services, the government is not only allowing them to fund the illegal and evil activities of these cartels but is also inspiring them to do so.” This is why Brandon Judd said from his experience on the border that “until we shut illegal immigration down, we will not be able to put a stop to illegal drug smuggling once and for all.”
All the major drug distributors are foreign nationals and should be thrown out immediately
Then there is interior enforcement, which is just as vital to stopping the fentanyl warfare on this country.
The politicians wringing their hands about an “opioid” epidemic beginning around 2013 shouldn’t act surprised when the rise of MS-13 in America coincided with the timing of the epidemic, which also coincided with the collapse of interior enforcement and endless forms of amnesty.
DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen gave riveting testimony last week before a House committee noting how between 2012 and 2014, MS-13 members were recruited to come over as “minor” children, get resettled in this country, and link up with existing gang members. The Texas Department of Public Safety warned years ago that MS-13 had become the distributors for the drug cartels in America. This is why we had the worst drug epidemic surging right around 2013-2014. But now that there is a new border surge, it is clear that we will never get a handle on the drug overdose crisis until our border is closed.
As Nielsen testified, only three percent of the so-called unaccompanied children were deported. Where are the rest of them? In all our communities, many of them serving as primary distributors for the drug cartels.
Nobody in policy circles is asking the obvious question as to why the most lethal drugs suddenly became so ubiquitous and cheap right around 2014. The answer is simple. In addition to the border surge created by DACA, we saw the collapse of interior enforcement, the growth of sanctuary cities to serve as magnets for the primary trafficking, and the release of thousands of criminal alien drug smugglers by the Obama administration and by sanctuary cities. Without a distribution network in America to spread around the drugs undetected, the cartels could not operate.
The same way Bush’s 287(g) program, which fostered cooperation between police and federal immigration officials, almost annihilated MS-13, it would annihilate the drug-smuggling network today, which is largely the same network. However, the collapse of interior enforcement gave rise to MS-13, which gave rise to the smuggling of cheap drugs in such an abundant supply. “If you have a MS-13 problem in New York, you have a border problem,” said Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, during a House hearing several weeks ago.
This is a completely avoidable problem, because almost all of the primary drug traffickers are foreign nationals. They can and should be deported immediately. But right around 2013, which uncoincidentally marked the beginning of the recent drug epidemic, Obama’s DOJ administrative judges let them go free.
This graph, from Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), is remarkable when you consider the timing of the drug overdose epidemic. The percentage of immigration cases that resulted in release by immigration judges surged from 30 percent to over 50 percent during this period. In some of the big trafficking hubs like New York and Boston, those numbers surged past 80 percent.
Anyone who tells you this mammoth drug crisis was inevitable is clueless about the role the border/immigration plays in the crisis. Sure, we’ve always had drugs, but nothing like we see today. And there is a reason for it. Who are these individuals? When ICE released 20,000 criminal aliens in 2015, almost 8,000 had rap sheets for dangerous drug offenses. You can imagine what happens when you release thousands of professional drug smugglers, none of whom should even be in this country for a minute, onto our streets. And that was just in one year.
Sanctuary cities are poisoning America
The Trump administration has clearly done a better job clamping down on release of criminal aliens, but with the rise of sanctuary cities and sanctuary courts, much of that progress is being undone. According to acting ICE Director Thomas Homan, from January 2014 through last fall, 10,000 of the criminal aliens released by sanctuaries went on to commit crimes. While the breakdown of the crimes has still not been published, it’s no doubt that one of the most common crimes is drug trafficking.
Now we have judges barring the president from punishing sanctuary cities and creating a state right to federal law enforcement grant funds. Earlier this week, a Philadelphia judge appointed by George W. Bush became the latest federal judge to allow a major city to continue thwarting federal law.
Where is Congress? Pennsylvania is one of the fastest-growing drug overdose states in the country because so many of the eastern cities have become sanctuary cities. Why is there no legislation to combat sanctuary cities and release of criminal alien drug traffickers amidst the hundreds of bills dealing with things that have nothing to do with the drug deaths?
Sanctuaries are the single biggest driver of the fentanyl/heroin crisis. The sanctuary policies have attracted MS-13, whose members serve as distributors for Sinaloa, the primary cartel poisoning the northeast of the country. Now, remember that the caravan challenging our border agents is located in the prime operating area of the Sinaloa cartel.
Every time the media focuses a camera on a desperate “migrant” seeking a better life, just remember that when the cameras are not rolling and when the border agents are preoccupied, there are tons of deadly substances pouring over the border that will make their way to a sanctuary city hub, then to be distributed to every corner of this country and kill off our youth. Open-borders policies are not so compassionate after all.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.