By this point, we’ve heard it all. First, we were told there wasn’t really a crisis going on at the southern border at all, that this is just a cyclical thing and it too shall pass. It didn’t.
We’ve heard that the Administration is making “progress” to solve it. They haven’t.
Now, we’re hearing calls from the left to completely defund Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection, and any other agency that does anything to slow down the wave of illegal immigrants crossing into this country illegally. Apparently, the radical open-border policies that have caused this crisis just aren’t enough for them.
I’m sure all these folks have good intentions. They talk about how it would be more “humane” and “compassionate” if we just opened our hearts and opened our borders. But as they say, the road to ruin is paved with good intentions. And well, the numbers don’t lie.
We’re just a few months into the new Administration and in May, CBP reported 180,034 encounters at the border, a 674 percent increase over last May and a new 21 year high. It isn’t just the sheer number of illegal immigrants crossing the border that’s concerning though, it’s the deplorable conditions they’re subjected to by drug cartels and human traffickers on the journey here, ranging from assault to sexual abuse, rape, kidnapping, and worse.
The real tragedy is that the number of unaccompanied minors, that is, children who are found without any parent or close relative is already up 163 percent over last year. There’s nothing “humane” or “compassionate” about young children, some of whom are infants and toddlers, being kidnapped, trafficked, abandoned, and dying at our southern border. Now those same “progressives” will tell you that it’s “none of our business” because what goes on at the border doesn’t impact folks that live in Missouri. Well I’m here to tell you they’re wrong.
Not only is the humanitarian crisis driven by this administration’s crisis concerning for every American who cares about the sanctity of human life, it’s also providing drug cartels with the perfect cover to smuggle tons of their poison across our border. Already this fiscal year, CBP agents have seized more fentanyl than they did in all of 2020. We still have 4 months of reporting left to go and that just tells part of the story. We have no idea how much is being smuggled across our border undetected.
Those drugs aren’t just staying in Texas, California, Arizona, and New Mexico, they’re being trafficked across the United States, even right here to Missouri. They’re fueling addiction, crime, and overdose deaths, ripping families apart and destroying lives.
None of these problems are going to solve themselves. We can’t just ignore this crisis and expect it to get better. We must start taking concrete steps to really end it, once and for all.
Step one should be reinstating President Trump’s Remain in Mexico policy, which made a huge impact on ending the 2019 surge at the border. We also need to finish construction of the border wall. Perhaps most importantly, we need to start enforcing our immigration laws again. After all, America is a nation of laws. We can’t be a nation of laws if we don’t follow those laws.
Sam Graves is the Mo. Sixth District U.S. Representative.