Reckless Border Policies Led To Senior Couple’s Deaths


November 17, 2023

By Dale Wilcox

The vast majority of Americans have likely never heard of the Lermas, but their story needs to be told.

Jose Lerma, 67, and Isabel Lerma, 65, from Dalton, Georgia, were on their way to Mexico earlier this month when a car carrying suspected human smugglers smashed into their SUV, which proceeded to burst into flames. The couple, who had been married for nearly 50 years, were killed in the wreck along with six other people. The accident was allegedly caused by human smugglers attempting to flee from law enforcement. This incident is further evidence that America’s anti-border policies have invited lawlessness, recklessness, and ultimately, tragedy.  

It is an example of what happens when policymakers in the federal government dismantle basic security measures and allow millions of illegal aliens to cross the border. The Lermas are the latest victims of the destructive policies that have been implemented in the last few years. The same anti-border policies that led to this tragedy have also resulted in a record amount of migrants dying while making the dangerous trek through Latin America to the U.S.

From its very first day in power, the Biden Administration has been on a mission to surrender America’s operational control of its border. From ending deportations, to terminating the Remain-in-Mexico program to blocking further construction of the border wall, this White House has invited chaos and disorder at the southern border, and the results have been tragic but predictable. The administration and influential anti-border advocates love to cloak their policies in the veneer of compassion, but the end result is death and broken families. Tragedies wrought by illegal immigration pre-date the current administration but have been exacerbated by its policies.

The deaths of Kate Steinle and Mollie Tibbetts at the hands of illegal aliens led to national outrage and drew attention to the plight of angel families across the country who have lost loved ones due to illegal immigration. After Steinle’s death, several members of Congress introduced legislation to enhance punishments for criminal illegal aliens, although it has remained stalled.

The national outpouring of grief and demands for action we witnessed following the deaths of Steinle and Tibbetts have largely been missing following this latest tragedy. The deaths of the Lermas have mostly been ignored by the corporate media, and few members of Congress have taken notice. This is troubling, not just because it represents a failure to pay tribute to an American couple who tragically and unnecessarily lost their lives, but because it suggests much of the country has become numb to these avoidable tragedies.

Anti-borders forces have done grave damage to the country over the past few decades, but their biggest sin may be the normalization of American deaths caused by illegal immigration.

Every country in world history has dealt with the problems of violence and crime domestically. The U.S. is certainly no exception, with rates of violent crime in the country having skyrocketed in recent years. What no nation, including the U.S., should ever accept is violence perpetuated by foreign nationals in the country illegally. Anti-borders forces have done grave damage to the country over the past few decades, but their biggest sin may be the normalization of American deaths caused by illegal immigration. Every such death is avoidable, and none should ever be accepted.

The loss of Jose and Isabel Lerma should be a wake-up call for all Americans who believe the crisis at the southern border does not affect them. No matter who you are or where you live, the lawlessness emanating from the southern border can affect any one of us. While this tragedy happened near the southern border, illegal immigration has been responsible for the deaths of countless Americans all over the country. Because of the wide-open U.S.-Mexico border, every American now lives in a border state, and every American has a vested interest in ending the crisis. This has been illustrated by the growth of human trafficking to the U.S., as well as the growing threat of terrorism at the border. The federal government’s dereliction of its duty to secure the border has put the safety and security of the American people in peril.

The deaths of the Lermas are a tragic reminder that every day Americans are the ones who ultimately pay the biggest price for the crisis at the border. May their memories be a blessing and may their legacies serve as a reminder of the urgent need to secure our border.

Dale L. Wilcox is executive director and general counsel at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration.

Also published at AMAC, November 16, 2023.

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