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The recent discovery of 53 illegal aliens dead in an abandoned tractor-trailer in the scorching heat of the San Antonio, Texas, summer is the latest example of a failed border security strategy by the Biden administration. Eleven others remain hospitalized.
This is the single largest casualty event involving human traffickers and smugglers in our country. There is little doubt that the inaction, mixed messaging, and gross incompetence of the Biden administration led to this tragedy.
Chaos at the southern border has ensued over the past 16 months. The drug cartels and trafficking rings are businesses; cruel, illicit businesses but businesses nonetheless. Like legitimate businesses, they depend on predictability in the market to maximize profits. When it comes to immigration, there has been nothing more predictable since January 2021 than the federal government’s refusal to enforce U.S. immigration laws.
TEXAS TRACTOR-TRAILER MIGRANT DEATHS TIED TO BIDEN’S BAD BORDER POLICIES
As a result, business is booming for the cartels, smugglers and traffickers. By some estimates, the cartels are raking in billions of dollars with no end in sight.
While these nefarious actors financially profit, they leave behind a path of human suffering and death. Every illegal alien smuggled or trafficked to the southern border is subjected to some form of mental, emotional or physical abuse. Many women, including young girls, are sexually abused along the journey north.
Unaccompanied alien children, a particularly vulnerable population, are being smuggled and trafficked in record numbers because of the Biden administration’s decision to exempt them from Title 42 expulsion authority. Other children are recycled by traffickers because of the lax enforcement treatment given to “family units.” Guaranteed entry into the U.S. is the greatest marketing message to ensure the human trafficking business model continues to thrive.
But the carnage doesn’t end there. The cartels use the humanitarian crisis at the border as an opportunity to pour drugs into American communities. They accomplish this by using the illegal aliens as drug mules, or they take advantage of the gaps in the border caused by Border Patrol agents apprehending and processing illegal aliens.
SECRETARY MAYORKAS HAS FAILED TO DEFEND OUR HOMELAND AND MUST BE IMPEACHED
In 2021, annual drug overdoses in the United States exceeded 100,000 for the first time ever. Fentanyl, which is manufactured in China and moved by the Mexican cartels, is now the leading cause of death for young Americans. U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized more than 10,000 pounds of fentanyl in FY 2021.
Every pound of fentanyl is roughly equivalent to 250,000 lethal doses. That means enough fentanyl was caught crossing our border to kill 2.5 billion people or every American seven times. And that’s just the amount caught. There is no telling how much of this lethal drug is circulating in our communities.
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Let’s be clear – every illegal alien who crosses our southern border must pay smugglers and traffickers. The policies we implemented at the Department of Homeland Security during the Trump administration, including the Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as “Remain in Mexico,” the Asylum Cooperative Agreements with the Northern Triangle countries, and streamlined asylum processing to root out fraudulent and frivolous claims, disrupted the cartel-run smuggling and trafficking networks.
The Biden administration inherited the most secure border ever and then promptly threw the playbook in the trash.
Predictably, the White House response to the Texas tragedy misses the mark. President Biden’s press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, continues to push misinformation to the American people by saying “the fact of the matter is the border is closed.” With record-high human smuggling, trafficking, and illegal narcotics flooding across the border, this statement is beyond belief.
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The American people deserve political leadership that tells them the truth and implements effective policies to restore law and order.
Make no mistake, the human trafficking catastrophe at the border is the direct result of today’s failed border security strategy. We deserve better.
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Robert Law is the director of the Center for Homeland Security and Immigration at the America First Policy Institute and a former senior official at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services during the Trump administration.