August 9, 2023
By Brian Lonergan
Given the stunning collapse of once-great metropolises like New York City and Chicago, it is hard to ignore the role that sanctuary policies and loose border enforcement have played in the decline. Crime is on the rise, shelters and hotels are beyond capacity with migrants, and city budgets cannot meet the increasing demand for social services. Even worse, more Americans than ever are dying from overdoses of illegal drugs that arrive here largely from our open southern border.
Rather than defend what is clearly indefensible, anti-borders activists have resorted to distraction by insulting the public’s intelligence and shameless gaslighting.
When Republicans in Congress held a hearing following the House homeland security committee’s report that criticized Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for a “dereliction of duty” on border enforcement, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) dismissed the inquiry as a “political stunt.”
After Florida Governor Ron DeSantis organized a meeting in Arizona of sheriffs from around the country to discuss the role of the border crisis in the nation’s drug overdose problem, Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) derided the meeting as an attempt “to pander to the same old race-baiting anti-immigrant extremist politicians and officials in southern Arizona.”
It is no secret that America is suffering from an epidemic of deadly fentanyl overdoses, which is now the leading cause of death for Americans 18-45. The poisonous narcotic is primarily manufactured in Mexico with chemicals made in China, then transported into America via our southern border by the same cartels that traffic human beings for enormous profit.
These are facts to which anyone on the ground in immigration enforcement and border protection can attest. So why are anti-borders politicians in Washington denying the obvious reality that border security, or a lack of it, is one of the chief reasons our country is awash in fentanyl?
America has a long history of drug addiction and the importation of illicit drugs to meet the demand. However, in the case of fentanyl, there is a direct connection between the Biden Administration’s surrender of the southern border and the spike in fentanyl overdoses.
In 2021, Biden’s first year in office and with his lax border enforcement policies in place, 70,601 people died from fentanyl overdose in the U.S. That is a 25 percent increase from 2020 and nearly double the number of fentanyl overdose deaths in 2019.
White House allies retort that under Biden, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has discovered three times as much fentanyl so far this year compared to the same period last year. However, it is common knowledge in border enforcement that whatever quantity of illegal drugs are seized, multiples of that amount usually make it across the border. It is the only explanation for the fact that fentanyl seizures are up, yet the number of fentanyl overdoses have dramatically increased.
Others defend the current border policies by arguing that most fentanyl trafficking goes through points of entry, not unmanned areas of the border. Mayorkas has made this point, citing CBP data showing 84 percent of fentanyl seized was found at official border crossings.
This is a distinction without a difference. Try telling grieving parents the good news that the fentanyl that killed their child came from an official border checkpoint and not an unmanned desert area. Does it matter? The drugs are still getting in over the chaotic border area.
If more fentanyl is indeed coming through official checkpoints, the relentless border surge of migrants is a major reason why. When overwhelmed CBP staff at border checkpoints are occupied with changing migrant baby diapers, processing families and looking for children who may be trafficked by cartels, there is less manpower to defend the border and search trucks and cars for hidden caches of fentanyl. It is also a known tactic of cartels to strategically direct swarms of migrants to checkpoints to distract agents while quantities of illegal drugs are sent across other neglected areas of the border.
To say the Biden Administration’s border policies have not resulted in more fentanyl in the United States is to deny the obvious. The extremists on this issue are those who would obstruct efforts to halt the importation of the fentanyl that is killing of our fellow citizens. Their inability to put the welfare of our children above partisan politics is a great example of all that is rotten in Washington today.
Brian Lonergan is director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) in Washington, D.C, and co-host of IRLI’s “No Border, No Country” podcast.
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