At the beginning of last week, I warned that this battle had already been lost the moment the president offered any amnesty rather than going on offense and threatening executive action. At that point, the only outcomes left on the table were a continuing resolution to fund the government without the wall, or amnesty. At this point, it’s just better to go for the short-term funding bill and live to fight another day rather than risk an amnesty deal for some pennies thrown at the border.
But where does that leave us as we approach the next funding deadline, now slated for February 15? What does it mean to fight another day if Republicans failed to fight for two years and Trump declined to use his veto on seven budget deadlines when it would have been so much easier to get the wall, before the election?
The good news is that while feckless Republicans lost the chess game with Pelosi, we didn’t lose the issue of sovereignty with the public. The issue of immigration has now rocketed up to the top priority of voters, and 62 percent of Americans now believe illegal immigration is a serious problem. Conservatives have been trying to focus national attention and direct it to this issue for years, so on that account, we have been successful. Now, Trump needs to take it to the next level and convert this to action.
It’s time for Trump to actually treat the situation like the national security emergency it is. If he really means what he said on Friday, then he should begin using all his powers as commander in chief and chief executive to fight the cartels and the smugglers on all fronts.
Yes, this is an emergency
How would you describe a situation where violent drug cartels are using our broken court decisions to tie up our border agents while they pour in drugs, gangs, and criminals?
Just on Thursday, smugglers drove 306 bogus asylum seekers towards the Antelope Wells port of entry in southeast New Mexico. Well, what happens when hundreds surrender themselves to agents at or between ports of entry? All the places without significant fencing are left wide open for the cartels. Here is a concern from a local rancher, as reported by USA Today:
Adame said she’s not afraid of the asylum seekers, who cross in full view of Border Patrol agents at the port of entry and are immediately captured. But she said that the sudden surge of large groups of migrants means Border Patrol agents are so busy processing asylum seekers that the rest of the border, and the desert beyond, are not adequately patrolled.
“Every time we hear that asylum seekers have turned themselves in, when it’s 100 people or more, they’re pulling the Border Patrol off the road,” Adame said. “So the drug cartels are coming in. The Border Patrol is not catching them. Those guys are the bad guys.
“I’m scared for my life and I’m scared for my kids’ lives. Who knows what’s coming across? They don’t know what’s coming in because they’re not catching them.”
So much for the media’s lie about no drugs coming in where there is no fencing. According to the local Fox affiliate, “Criminal organizations smuggling these groups of people continue to take advantage of them in order to enhance their illicit activities without due regard to the risks to human life. According to BP, in most cases, these smugglers never cross the border themselves and risk apprehension.”
Isn’t that the true government shutdown, when our agents are now pawns for the drug cartels?
And taking care of the poor and sick from Central America is no picnic either. Local media in New Mexico reports that this is the 26th group of 100 or more individuals coming over just since last October. One individual was diagnosed with a flesh-eating disease. On the same day, CBP put out a statement noting that Border Patrol agents are essentially becoming a hospital for contagious diseases: “2,224 subjects (5.3% of all southwest border arrests for the same period) to local hospitals since December 22, 2018.”
The release laments the fact that “USBP has spent a total of 19,299 hours providing various levels of support to these hospital visits” and that in one case last week, “Transporting 50 individuals to the hospital utilized nearly all available agents.” What happens when agents are taken off their field? It’s “severely limiting their ability to process the large group or respond to other border security duties; thus resulting in increased time in custody, delaying custody transfer coordination, and inhibiting response to other illegal cross-border traffic.”
It’s no wonder there’s been a 280 percent increase in family units since this time last year. As we focus on the next caravan of 12,000 headed our way, we must not forget there is a caravan every day. According to CBP, “In the El Paso, Rio Grande Valley, Tucson, and Yuma Sectors over the last four months, smugglers and traffickers have delivered 53 large groups, totaling 8,797 illegal aliens.”
If you look just at the El Paso sector alone, which encompasses all of New Mexico, there has been an insane 1,866 percent increase in family units coming between points of entry relative to this time in fiscal year 2018. That is three times the increase of even the San Diego sector, which had the spotlight as the main target of the caravans.
Can you imagine the drugs, criminals, and security threats we are not catching due to this ultimate shutdown of our Border Patrol?
And even if they are not criminals, can you imagine how many are coming in with dangerous diseases? As the Washington Examiner reports, there’s been a scabies outbreak among the migrants in New Mexico, and there is widespread concern that many of them are not vaccinated.
The lesson of New Mexico is that Trump needs to go big or go home
Migration into New Mexico has been relatively dormant for many years. The fact that the El Paso sector is exploding demonstrates the problem with half measures, partial surges of Border Patrol in some areas, and targeted fencing. The cartels will just send the migrants to the areas without the enforcement. New Mexico has very little substantial fencing, whereas the urban parts of El Paso and other parts of Texas either have fencing or stepped-up enforcement.
This is why it’s time for Trump to declare an emergency at the border and tackle the entire problem along with its source – the cartels. He needs to designate them as terror groups and free up defense resources to combat them. It’s time to stop playing whack-a-mole. If this is really a health, criminal, humanitarian, and fiscal emergency, as Trump clearly believes it to be, it’s time to stop talking. He must start doing. He doesn’t need Congress to beef up our military at our border and threaten the cartels. The State Department can designate the cartels as terrorists without a piece of legislation supported by Pelosi. This is so much bigger than the wall, as Trump said on Friday, but making such a designation will free up more avenues to build fencing as well as deter the cartels.
Nothing can strip the president of his foreign commerce powers to prevent immigration into this country of any sort, and nothing can prevent him from using his powers as commander in chief to deploy the military more aggressively to deter the evil cartels. This is so much bigger than the few billion dollars for which he is begging Pelosi.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.