Beware, the crisis at the southern border may be much worse than it appears.
Free Apple watches, bus and plane tickets all across the continental United States, and sophisticated lawyers standing by to counsel migrants on how to best navigate border officials’ scrutiny of asylum on the occasions when they are actually required to defend their asylum claims. These benefits being offered to illegal border crossers have left the public shocked, angry, and in many cases, feeling the issue closer to home than ever before. Many cities and states have also been overwhelmed as the consequences of the crisis have migrated well beyond the southern border states. Recently, New York City Mayor Eric Adams made news when he emphatically declared that the now-regular stream of migrants into the Big Apple “will ruin the City!”
It’s not just local budgets and social services that are being squeezed to the breaking point, although those are nothing to sneeze at and will have to be addressed. The increase in crime may be the biggest concern. Violent crime rates are up, and violent incidents are prominent on the nightly news. Less visible are the other criminal enterprises causing ripple effects. Human trafficking has gained more attention as its shocking reality is (very) slowly exposed. The recently released independent film, “The Sound of Freedom,” struck a chord for this very reason – human trafficking is striking too close to home for most Americans’ peace of mind.
Then there are the drugs. The opioid epidemic has gotten substantially worse in the last few years, with annual overdose deaths, after a slight decline from 2017 through 2019, increasing dramatically in the last several years. As if this isn’t bad enough, the opportunities for smuggling in other illegal contraband have increased as well.
Experts speculate that the drug cartels have collaborated with hostile actors, including Chinese Communists, to further take advantage of what they (rightly) view as a U.S. government intent on not enforcing the laws at our southern border. Notably, illicit tobacco and vaping products appear to have become a prime fundraising target for the burgeoning Chinese drug cartel alliance. While teenage vaping and flavored tobacco products have become a major concern for federal regulators, it is projected that most vaping products being sold are illegal and that 90% of the vaping products originate in China. Ironically, the reaction of federal authorities and policymakers has been to propose more prohibitions on legal products – overwhelmingly used by adults and lifetime smokers to transition away from cigarettes – rather than addressing the source of the problem: the flood of illegal products through our open border. It’s another example of the dangers that come from a dysfunctional government.
To elaborate, federal tobacco regulators appear set on using the robust cartel-supported black market in vaping products aimed at kids to further their long-time prohibitionist agenda (and one of Michael Bloomberg’s favorite pet projects). These regulatory efforts have been bolstered by user-fee supported special interest groups who fund splashy ad campaigns highlighting teen vaping use as the basis for their actions. Yet, the regulatory agenda seeks to outlaw a whole host of products used by adults, for which abolition seems certain to offer an even greater market opportunity for the Chinese drug cartel alliance and likely to increase access to illicit products by youth.
This may be a shocking observation to some, but this example and others indicate that senior government officials may see the lawlessness stemming from the border as a feature rather than a bug. Take Claire Trickler-McNulty, the Biden administration’s assistant director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Officials like Ms. Trickler-McNulty appear set on turning law enforcement agencies into social services organizations. Before joining the Biden administration, Trickler-McNulty worked for an organization that advocated for the abolition of the agency she now helps lead – in the spirit of the “defund the police” movement. Unsurprisingly, the overrun southern border has given her social service aspirations lots of prospective “clients” seeking federal assistance.
While Trickler-McNulty has faced criticism for the so-called transition from a traditional law enforcement focus, she appears unfazed. The same could also be said of her former employer, Kids in Need of Defense, a major recipient of George Soros’s Open Society Foundation that has also benefited handsomely from its influential role in the Biden administration’s open border policy with a $13 million contract.
The ways in which American families and businesses are being harmed by the open border policies could fill volumes. But it’s clear that state budgets, neighborhood safety, and our children’s futures are all being endangered while the drug cartels and our most powerful foreign adversaries become enriched and empowered. Instead of using these tragedies to advance the special interest agendas of Michael Bloomberg and George Soros, perhaps we could all agree that the American chapter on human trafficking, opioids, and open borders should be relegated to the history books.
This article was originally published by RealClearPolitics and made available via RealClearWire.