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The border crisis is 100% on Biden, and it's high time we build a wall.
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Todd Bensman of the Center for Immigration Studies first spotted twenty-three-year-old Jose Antonio listening to mariachi music on a truck stereo and swigging beers. He was with a group beneath the four-lane international bridge connecting the Mexican town of Ojinaga to Presidio in wild West Texas. Tall and narrow-shouldered with crooked discolored teeth, Jose offered Bensman the two women he was with and some of the brilliant white cocaine they were snorting.
Bensman had come to Ojinaga with an interpreter in April 2021 because the flood of immigrants coming from the surrounding region had reached historic heights. He stumbled across Jose and his group along the blue-green Rio Grande while looking for people who might be able to illuminate what was happening. Jose turned out to be exactly the right guy for that. But a sense of panic struck Bensman when his interpreter informed him that Jose was a foot guide, or guia, for the ultra-violent La Linea cartel. Cartels did not take kindly to American reporters. Fortunately, one of the men with Jose recognized the interpreter as a regular customer at a mechanic’s shop in town and enthusiastically greeted him.
Despite the risks, Bensman decided to break one of his top personal security rules — Avoid Cartel People at All Costs — in order to speak with the young foot guide, who had just returned from a trek guiding immigrants through the desert and across the border. Getting to interview a cartel human smuggler about business was rare. After receiving permission from his boss, Jose began telling Bensman about the enormous economic windfall the surge of immigrants was creating for La Linea in just the past few months and how he was about to buy a brand-new truck.1
“What do you owe all this to—the money and all the new business?” Bensman asked.
Jose shrugged. “La invitación.”
The foot guide explained that this was what he and his cartel buddies were calling the newly elected President Joe Biden’s welcome to immigrants to cross the border illegally and stay.2 He then offered, unsolicited, that one of Biden’s early moves had proven especially inviting: the new president ended interior deportations so that ICE officers would leave his clients alone once they’d gotten into American cities. News had quickly spread that Biden’s follow-through on his “deportation moratorium” promise had indeed hamstrung ICE officers.
In response to that extraordinary development, Jose explained, people were coming in droves and paying fortunes for his services. He had never seen anything like it. Business in Mexico’s Chihuahua State was “como nunca!”—like never before. He and his crew in the cartel couldn’t keep up. Every house in the region was packed with smuggled human beings.
Snorting a bump of cocaine from the flattened head of a sixteen-penny nail, Jose smiled. “They just keep coming and keep coming and keep coming.”
Bensman’s reporting, much of which is based on immigrant testimony, shows that Biden’s messaging about warm welcomes and good treatment, and then the follow-through policies,3 were la invitación that sparked a mass migration that quickly broke every U.S. record and still goes on amid widespread denial. According to the New York Post, nearly 7 million illegal aliens have been “encountered” on Biden’s watch, the highest number ever, with millions released into the country.4 During fiscal year 2021, there were 1.72 million Border Patrol apprehensions—then a record, and 400% more than fiscal year 2020. The 2021 record didn’t last long. It lay shattered in fiscal year 2022 when the numbers reached 2.37 million. None of this counts “got-aways,” immigrants who eluded capture.
Biden’s time in office is also historic in that for the first time ever, an American presidency defaulted to a position in polar opposition to federal law. Instead of the conventional “block, detain, deport and deter of all previous Democratic Party presidents,” the Biden administration has taken the formal stated position that southern border traffic should be made “safe, humane and orderly” into the nation’s interior. No American president has ever decided that, as a matter of national policy, the executive branch would abdicate the enforcement of immigration statutes and basically erect turnstiles at the border, refusing to stymie illegal immigration as required in well-established federal laws. For the first time since federal immigration laws were passed in 1903, a president effectively ended deportation of every kind and established in its place a first-ever sanctuary nation.5
Biden’s administration is also the first to drastically reduce deportations of the illegally present and of foreign national criminals who prey on Americans. The Department of Homeland Security sandbagged a traditional annual ICE deportations report last year that would have shown how many criminal aliens it deported. The reason became clear when ICE insiders leaked the data and when federal records requests showed what had befallen the country. Deportations of convicted criminal aliens and aggravated felons — killers, slavers, child molesters, rapists, armed robbers, and drunk drivers who killed — sharply plummeted. Under Biden, ICE arrested 48% fewer convicted criminals, deported 63% fewer criminals, and issued 46% fewer requests to other law enforcement agencies to detain criminals for them, according to a Washington Times report based on the leaked data.6
And things aren’t getting any better. There was an average of nearly 6,000 border-infiltrators a day last month. For comparison, Obama Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson said that a thousand apprehensions a day overwhelmed the system. Things have gotten so bad that the Biden administration is hiding border numbers.
The president, his staff, and Democratic media figues denied for years that anything was amiss at the border and refused to go there. In fact, Biden himself didn’t make a visit until January 2023. Memorably, Kamala Harris, whom the administration tapped to serve as the face of the administration’s response to that crisis (which tells you everything you need to know), skipped a high-level meeting on the subject with the Mexican president to visit a daycare facility in New Jersey.
Biden continues to barely engage on the border issue, and when he does it’s in a halting and antagonizing fashion that privileges setting the right narrative over establishing a coherent policy. Led by Karine Jean-Pierre, who maintains no fidelity to facts, the administration is treating every news cycle that erupts around this ongoing crisis as little more than a recurring political headache that can be addressed with obfuscation and deft messaging. The result is a chaotic policy tainted with an air of contemptible disregard.
But now, thanks to governors Abbott, Ducey, and DeSantis taking it upon themselves to ship illegals to Blue enclaves, the border has become an issue in places far removed from the border. We’re witnessing a sea change in how Democratic officeholders talk about illegal immigration. The mayors of New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C.,7 and Los Angeles have all protested against the situation and even taken legal action to avoid having to shelter a growing population of illegal residents, as have the governors of Massachusetts and New Jersey. This has stoked tensions between Democrats at the municipal and state levels on the one hand and the White House on the other over resources and border policy.8
By forcing Democratic officials in America’s “sanctuary” states to admit, implicitly and explicitly, that migrants are a burden on public services and taxpayers, the bussing program has turned out to be a masterstroke in political strategy. In addition to inadvertently popularizing the case against lax immigration policies, the Democratic lamentations have rendered the crisis a far more visible nightmare by breaching the radically closed and homogenized information ecosystem of the nation’s political and media professionals, the latter of whom have long refused to cover the issue for fear of lending credence to conservative talking points.
For decades, the Left’s policy on the border and illegal immigration was to point to the Lazarus poem on the Statue of Liberty and call their opponents xenophobes and racists. But the moment immigration became a strain on their local government services and a burden to their lives, they suddenly declared there was no more room for any new arrivals. The reactions do a better job than any other tactic of exposing that the people with “All Are Welcome” yard signs and “No Human Is Illegal” bumper stickers are really imposing onto others the consequences of their pious virtue signaling. They continue to dismiss the shipping of illegals to Blue enclaves as a “cruel stunt,”9 but it has successfully highlighted an ongoing crisis that the Biden administration is wholly responsible for, and that the preening, sanctimonious moralizers and smug, self-righteous progressive mouthpieces don’t care about illegal immigration or the consequences until it slightly affects them.
We need to build a wall. It’s really as simple as that. No other solution would be as effective at stemming the biblical Noah’s flood of humanity crossing the border. These immigrants, the vast majority of whom fraudulently claim asylum in pursuit of greater material wealth, free education, and the famed indulgent American lifestyle, are virtually all destitute, often with low levels of education, few job skills, and a rudimentary grasp of the english language. At the current rate, a reasonable projection is seven million total admittances from Biden’s inauguration to January 2025 term completion. That’s a megacity on the order of Los Angeles and Chicago combined, of mostly unskilled, uneducated, uninsured people speaking myriad languages and in need of public welfare assistance and medical care for which many will never pay.
Think of the fiscal drain on states and municipalities, on school systems and hospitals, on local utilities and services, that will result for decades, all of it paid for by ordinary Americans. Building a wall would obviously be expensive, but it would end up saving us billions of dollars a year.
But far from building a wall, the Biden administration is putting its head in the sand and trying to ignore the border crisis while turning a blind eye to its associated ills, such as the influx of opioid narcotics.
The book Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opioid Epidemic should be required reading for anyone who thinks we shouldn’t build a wall. People have no idea how sophisticated the heroin/fentanyl operation in this country is, and the vast majority of the product comes across the southern border. Black tar heroin can be traced all the way back to a middle-of-nowhere little Mexican town called Xalisco, a place where kids grow up with the dream of becoming blue jean-wearing drug mules in America.
Their success is based on a system they’ve learned. It’s a system for selling heroin retail. Their system is a simple thing, really, and relies on cheap, illegal Mexican labor, just the way any fast-food joint does.
From then on, Chavez sat with the informant, at bars and in a truck outside the man’s house, as the informant talked on about these guys from Xalisco and their heroin retail system—which was unlike anything the informant had seen in the drug underworld.
Think of it like a fast-food franchise, the informant said, like a pizza delivery service. Each heroin cell or franchise has an owner in Xalisco, Nayarit, who supplies the cell with heroin. The owner doesn’t often come to the United States. He communicates only with the cell manager, who lives in Denver and runs the business for him.
Beneath the cell manager is a telephone operator, the informant said. The operator stays in an apartment all day and takes calls. The calls come from addicts, ordering their dope. Under the operator are several drivers, paid a weekly wage and given housing and food. Their job is to drive the city with their mouths full of little uninflated balloons of black tar heroin, twenty-five or thirty at a time in one mouth. They look like chipmunks. They have a bottle of water at the ready so if police pull them over, they swig the water and swallow the balloons. The balloons remain intact in the body and are eliminated in the driver’s waste. Apart from the balloons in their mouths, drivers keep another hundred hidden somewhere in the car.
The operator’s phone number is circulated among heroin addicts, who call with their orders. The operator’s job, the informant said, is to tell them where to meet the driver: some suburban shopping center parking lot—a McDonald’s, a Wendy’s, a CVS pharmacy. The operators relay the message to the driver, the informant said.
The driver swings by the parking lot and the addict pulls out to follow him, usually down side streets. Then the driver stops. The addict jumps into the driver’s car. There, in broken English and broken Spanish, a cross-cultural heroin deal is accomplished, with the driver spitting out the balloons the addict needs and taking his cash.
Drivers do this all day, the guy said. Business hours—eight A.M. to eight P.M. usually. A cell of drivers at first can quickly gross five thousand dollars a day; within a year, that cell can be clearing fifteen thousand dollars daily.
The system operates on certain principles, the informant said, and the Nayarit traffickers don’t violate them. The cells compete with each other, but competing drivers know each other from back home, so they’re never violent. They never carry guns. They work hard at blending in. They don’t party where they live. They drive sedans that are several years old. None of the workers use the drug. Drivers spend a few months in a city and then the bosses send them home or to a cell in another town. The cells switch cars about as often as they switch drivers. New drivers are coming up all the time, usually farm boys from Xalisco County. The cell owners like young drivers because they’re less likely to steal from them; the more experienced a driver becomes, the more likely he knows how to steal from the boss. The informant assumed there were thousands of these kids back in Nayarit aching to come north and drive some U.S. city with their mouths packed with heroin balloons. — Dreamland
Let’s look at some recent fentanyl busts while we’re at it. Last year, officers with the Colorado State Patrol seized 114 pounds of pure fentanyl—enough to kill 25 million people. I’ll let you guess the nationality, but here’s a little hint: His name has been withheld by the cops “to protect him from Mexican cartels, who may want to hurt his family.” A couple of weeks later, the California Highway Patrol found enough fentanyl on one dude to kill 12 million people. Again, I’ll let you guess what country he was from. Back in April, Buena Park, CA police officers recovered 821 pounds of meth, 189.7 pounds of cocaine and 20.5 pounds of fentanyl pills (enough to kill 4.7 million). Again, guess.
Build the wall.
The border crisis is 100% on Biden. Short of any appreciable congressional action, the White House is the default location where a mass migration is started and stopped. And make no mistake about it, come election time the administration’s decision to wittingly facilitate a stratospheric and ongoing cavalcade of foreign nationals will matter. Notably, a majority of voters in seven key Electoral College battleground states disapprove of how the president is handling immigration.
The Left’s over-the-top displays of effrontery and indignation at the very suggestion that we enforce our immigration laws puts them on the wrong side of the public. And the idea that it’s inherently xenophobic to have anything but an open border is ridiculous. America is the least xenophobic nation on the planet. Every year since the millennium, between 703,000, and 1.2 million immigrants have been granted legal permanent residence here. No other country comes close to welcoming this many legal immigrants annually. The United States now has roughly 50 million immigrants, or foreign-born residents (legal and illegal). The next-highest is Germany at about 15 million. In other words, we’ve welcomed 35 million more people from other countries than any other country on Earth.
But the American public didn’t sign on for a policy that would welcome and care for anybody and everybody, regardless of circumstance and without background checks. We have limited resources, and we have the right to turn away anyone whom we deem a potential threat or problem and to prioritize the immigration of those whom we deem most likely to benefit our country. It’s time we start doing so.
For the first time in memory, the cartel proceeds from human smuggling are said to have surpassed those from drug smuggling. ICE’s Acting Deputy Director Patrick Lechleitner told Congress the human smuggling industry was generating somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 million a year for the cartels prior to 2018. But ICE intelligence estimated the revenue was $13 billion through the end of 2021.
During the September 2019 Democratic presidential-primary debate, Biden quite literally promised that he would make sure there was a “surge” to the border, and that all who came would be allowed entry into the country. And many of the illegal immigrants Todd Bensman interviewed explicitly stated that they’d seen every Democratic candidate raise their hand — Biden and Kamala Harris among them — when asked if they’d give free health care to illegals and decriminalize border crossing.
When Biden entered office, he rolled back hundreds of Trump-era actions on immigration. He put a halt to the deportation of certain non-citizens, put an end to the “remain in Mexico” program, and lifted restrictions on foreign workers and students seeking visas. Chief Border Patrol Agent John Modlin of the Tucson Sector told Congress that “All I know is what we’re being told by people who have crossed and they absolutely unequivocally crossed because they felt like law and policy had changed.”
The administration was releasing illegals into the country without even a notice to appear in court until a federal judge issued a restraining order in May.
Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas announced that simply being present in the country without legal permission “should not alone be the basis for detention and deportation.” Meanwhile, the Biden administration has argued that we should extend permanent legal status to all illegals because of the “economic benefits.” The Immigration and Nationality Act requires the American government to detain every border jumper, put them into deportation proceedings, and keep them detained throughout those proceedings. No Democratic Party–led government had ever seriously considered ignoring or dismantling that law until Biden.
Only Texas tracks much of its crime by noncitizenship. Between June 1, 2011, and July 31, 2022, 259,000 illegal aliens were charged with more than 433,000 unnecessary, preventable criminal offenses. Those included 800 homicide charges, 822 kidnapping charges, 5,470 sexual assault charges, 6,485 sexual offense charges, and 4,945 weapons charges. If the past is any indicator of the future and the Texas numbers indicate problem scope, America is in for a sustained unnecessary crime wave. Recall that Trump was lambasted when he said, “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” Recent stories of tragedies that deportation would have prevented abound nationwide.
It’s worth pointing out that the migrants sign waivers and pick which city they want to go to. The accusations of “inhumane treatment” are false.