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In April 2022, U.S. Customs and Border Protection apprehended 234,088 migrants at the southern border. This is the highest number of monthly apprehensions in CBP’s history, and a 1,268 percent increase compared to April 2020.
What has changed over the last two years? In 2020, we had a president who worked to secure our border and shield American citizens from drug traffickers trying to smuggle illicit substances into our country. Now, we have a president who has welcomed illegal immigrants into our country with open arms. Due to President Joe Biden’s open-door immigration policies, every state in America is now a border state. Through his failed border policies, President Biden has surrendered operational control of America’s southern border to drug cartels.
In his first 100 days in office, President Biden issued more than 90 executive actions on immigration, including stopping the construction of President Trump’s border wall, which cost taxpayers $72 million, and ending the Trump administration’s successful “Remain in Mexico” policy, which required migrants seeking asylum to wait in Mexico until their court date in the United States. Because of President Biden’s efforts to dismantle America’s border and immigration enforcement system, drug-overdose deaths reached a new record last year.
The Wall Street Journal reports that over 100,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2021. Provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that roughly two-thirds of these deaths came from synthetic opioids like fentanyl. To date, CBP has seized over 5,000 pounds of fentanyl in Fiscal Year 2022. This is enough to kill 2.4 billion people – nearly one-third of the Earth’s entire population. Fentanyl can be 50 times stronger than heroin, and it is easier for drug cartels to manufacture because it can be made from common chemicals.
Drug cartels are extremely violent and tactical. They have built intricate tunnels that allow them to smuggle drugs into our country undetected, they often send floods of migrants to the southern border to overwhelm Border Patrol agents, and they force their migrants to act as drug mules, carrying marijuana and poppy seeds so their growers can operate on American soil.
Merrick Garland, President Biden’s U.S. Attorney General, has made it clear that the Department of Justice would avoid cracking down on marijuana use in states that have legalized cannabis. This has encouraged drug cartels to produce cannabis “grows” in pro-cannabis states farmed by thousands of migrants illegally trafficked across the southern border.
One prime example is Oregon, which has Mexican, Russian, and Chinese criminal organizations operating in the southern part of the state. In November 2021, Oregon State Police uncovered a massive illegal marijuana operation in Jackson County. A drug bust of five warehouses uncovered approximately 500,000 pounds of illegal marijuana. Authorities estimated the value of drugs captured in just this operation at $500 million.
When he was asked for additional manpower to stomp out the drug cartels abusing the Department of Justice’s hands-off approach toward federal marijuana prosecution, Attorney General Garland failed to respond.
In 2021, the Biden administration reduced deportations by roughly 68 percent – the lowest level in 26 years. With illegal immigrants being able to easily claim that they are “seeking asylum,” and with Speaker Pelosi’s Congress refusing to fix our broken immigration system, more than 2.6 million illegal immigrants have been apprehended at our southern border since Joe Biden took control of the White House. That number represents more than the population of Houston, Texas – the fourth-largest city in America. The asylum laws we have on the books need to be completely gutted and rewritten to address this mass migration catastrophe.
Unless the Biden administration reverses its open-door policy and failed border security agenda, illegal immigrants and transnational criminal organizations will continue to flood across our open border, and every state – no matter where it is located – will be a border state in Biden’s America.
House Republicans have a plan to reverse the Democrats’ self-made border crisis. First and foremost, it is essential that the Biden Administration does not rescind Title 42 of the Public Health and Safety Act. Title 42 prevents illegal immigrants from bringing diseases into America, and this policy has been used to return more than 1.7 million migrants back to Mexico.
Second, end the Biden Administration’s failed “catch-and-release” policy, which illegal immigrants have exploited to escape into the United States. Migrants caught trying to illegally enter our country should not be released into our communities while they wait (many for more than five years) for a hearing.
Finally, once the open-door policy is ended, finish building President Trump’s border wall and hire thousands more CBP officers and agents to enforce our laws and secure America’s southern border. These actions will save lives and play a crucial role in stopping the flow of illegal immigration and illegal drugs into our country.
Republican Cliff Bentz represents Oregon’s 2nd congressional district.