AMAC Exclusive – By Shane Harris
Earlier this week, a United Nations study officially labeled the border between the United States and Mexico as the deadliest land route in the world, the latest evidence of just how dire the situation is at the country’s southern border. But even the harrowing number of individuals – many of them children – who have died trying to enter the United States illegally doesn’t fully capture the tragic consequences of the rapidly worsening border crisis. America’s border disaster does not only impact the United States; it has ripple effects throughout the hemisphere.
According to data from the Missing Migrants Project, an initiative run by the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration, at least 1,238 people died on migration routes in the Americas in 2021, including 728 on the U.S.-Mexico border crossing. In 2022, the crisis only appears to be getting worse. In the latest shocking example of the consequences of mass illegal migration, dozens of migrants were found dead in the back of a tractor-trailer outside San Antonio, roasted alive. The incident was the single deadliest incident related to a smuggling migration inside the United States.
Such a dramatic increase in deaths is hardly unexpected given the unprecedented levels of illegal immigration since Joe Biden took office. According to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol statistics, there were 239,416 land encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border in May of this year alone, a 25% increase over May of 2021 and a staggering 40% increase over May of 2019. Every other month this year has shown a similar trend over past years.
The record-breaking influx has overwhelmed law enforcement and border officials, particularly following the Supreme Court’s ruling last week that the Biden administration can proceed with ending the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy, which forced migrants to wait in Mexico while their asylum claims were processed. Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the minority, highlighted how the Biden administration’s decision to end Remain in Mexico poses a dire threat to both migrants and American citizens amid the ongoing border crisis, arguing that “Due to the huge numbers of aliens who attempt to enter illegally from Mexico, DHS does not have the capacity to detain all inadmissible aliens encountered at the border, and no one suggests that DHS must do the impossible.” The Court’s decision, Alito writes, will allow the Biden DHS to “release into this country untold numbers of aliens who are very likely to be removed if they show up for their removal hearings.” (Which is why they generally don’t show up.)
At the same time, the Biden administration has moved to end Title 42, which allows Border Patrol agents to swiftly expel migrants trying to enter the country illegally, rather than requiring that they be held in processing centers in the United States. Combined with Biden’s promise to roll back Trump’s immigration policies during his presidential campaign in 2020, Biden’s approach to immigration has only further encouraged more migrants to make the risky journey north and try their luck at crossing into the country illegally.
Even those who do make it alive often face dangerous conditions as they pay thousands of dollars to drug cartels and human smuggling rings for passage to the United States. While the number of deaths along migration routes is an easier number to capture, an untold number of rapes, beatings, and other horrific crimes also occur. In one harrowing story told by an Arizona sheriff, a woman carried a bag of “Plan B” pills with her across the border because she knew she would be raped multiple times.
At the same time, increased smuggling operations have emboldened criminal enterprises in Latin American countries, destabilizing already precarious and often corrupt governments. Gangs like MS-13 have found a major source of income from smuggling people across the border and have found new life after former President Donald Trump made targeting their operations a central component of his foreign policy in the Western Hemisphere.
The most deadly effects of Biden’s border crisis may occur within the United States, however. Along with the wave of illegal migrants has come an avalanche of illegal drugs, including fentanyl, which contributed in large part to the record 107,000 Americans who died of overdoses last year. In California, two smugglers were caught with 150,000 fentanyl pills – enough to kill at least that many people. (They were released after just a few days in prison thanks to California’s liberal bail laws.) In American communities large and small throughout the country, the effects of the disaster at the U.S.-Mexico border are being felt in very real ways, destroying lives and tearing families apart.
Despite all of this, the mainstream media, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and Congressional Democrats have by and large ignored the border altogether, apparently convinced that they can get away with simply pretending the issue doesn’t exist. For the countless people who are suffering as a result of their policies, however, the depths of this crisis are all too clear.
Shane Harris is a writer and political consultant from Southwest Ohio. You can follow him on Twitter @Shane_Harris_.
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