I recently returned from a trip to a Customs and Border Protection Processing Site in McAllen, Texas. I surveyed the lacking border fencing and watched as illegal migrants were allowed to walk into the United States. The message I received from Border Patrol is that under this administration, there are no consequences for illegal immigration, but deathly consequences for American citizens.
The CDC estimates that in the 12-month period ending in October 2021, more than 105,000 Americans died of drug overdoses, with 66 percent of those deaths related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Last year, the United States suffered more fentanyl-related deaths than gun and auto-related deaths combined.
Just last week in West Texas, a police officer in Seminole, Texas, was shot by an illegal immigrant on a routine traffic stop. It was an illegal immigrant who went on a stabbing spree in Las Vegas, killing two people and brutally injuring six others. How many Americans have to die before this president will acknowledge the national security crisis he has created with his policy of no consequences?
It is chaos and a crisis like none other.
Since President Biden has been in office, there have been nearly 3.6 million migrant encounters at the Southwest border and over 900,000 known gotaways who evaded U.S. Border Patrol agents. This means that 4.5 million illegal migrants have exploited the lack of law and order along our border.
Coyotes and cartels have been put in control of our border, and members of these criminal gangs are operating freely inside the United States without consequences.
The journey of getting to the border is heartbreaking. I saw children as young as 9 and 10 years old who were trafficked to our border alone. At least 30 percent of the women who are trafficked by cartels and coyotes to the border are sexually assaulted, and the 30-day journey continues to get more dangerous by the day. Estimates suggest that at least one-third of all migrants have been the victims of severe brutality or sexual violence.
Studies done by the Latin American branch of the Coalition Against Trafficking In Women also estimate that 60 percent of Latin American children who set out to cross the border alone or with smugglers have been caught by the cartels and are being abused in child pornography or drug trafficking. In addition to this terrible reality, these migrants are not free and clear when they make it to America. Many of them still owe debts to the cartels and coyotes that they will spend years or the rest of their lives repaying. This means there are millions of undocumented migrants living in the shadows evading the American rule of law but continuing to answer to the cartel system of chaos.
One of the most sickening things that I came across was a Mexican national and convicted felon who was living illegally on the American side of the border. On his wrist was a tattoo of a skull being crushed, which is indicative of his job as a “punisher” for the Mexican cartels. This felon enforces cartel laws within the United States.
It is striking that the Mexican cartels have more political will to enforce their own laws than the Biden administration. Cartels are making billions profiting on the backs of the most vulnerable population while abusing, assaulting, and driving them into pseudo-slavery. They are dropping dangerous drugs like fentanyl over our borders using drones, tracking shift changes, and conducting crimes in understaffed areas.
Before January 2021, there were 30,000-40,000 illegal crossings on average per month. The level of Border Patrol agents and processing staff are equipped to handle this number. However, under the Biden administration, an average of 200,000 have crossed in a month. Now the same agents are expected to handle six times the number of illegal migrants, as well as the traffickers and cartels who have also been emboldened by the lack of consequences. Even more harrowing is that roughly 60 percent of agents are relegated to administrative duties, leaving an incredibly frightening gap in those continuing into the national security aspects of border security.
We do not need new laws. We need President Biden to have the political will to enforce the laws we do have. If he refuses, Congress must use the power of the purse to compel him.
Republicans have a Commitment to America. One of the key pillars within our plan is a nation that is safe, and that starts at our southern border. There is no other crisis more important to our national security. We want to fully fund effective border enforcement strategies, infrastructure, and advanced technology to prevent illegal crossings and stop trafficking by cartels.
Americans have had enough of these open border policies. Let’s get back to order at our border.
Rep. August Pfluger represents Texas’ 11th congressional district in the U.S. House.