Dick Durbin Exploits Tragedy to Push Amnesty
FAIR Take | July 2022
This week began with a horrific tragedy that is a direct result of the Biden Border Crisis. On June 27, law enforcement discovered an abandoned tractor-trailer in San Antonio, Texas carrying about 80 illegal aliens. The death toll is staggering. At the time of this writing, 53 people lost their lives after cartel smugglers abandoned the trailer.
In short order, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) tied the tragedy to the need for amnesty, calling what happened in San Antonio the “Uvalde moment” for immigration reform, referring to the school shooting that prompted the passage of a bipartisan gun control and mental health bill. In an interview from Europe, Durbin said that he hopes the San Antonio incident “sparks an interest in finding a bipartisan approach to dealing with immigration.”
Nothing would increase illegal immigration – and thus more human trafficking – than voicing support for an amnesty. Illegal immigration at the border is already out of control, and has been for some time. Since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has encountered nearly 3 million illegal aliens. Through the first eight months of the 2022 fiscal year, CBP has encountered over 1.5 million illegal aliens. May 2022 was the highest number of encounters in American history – and June will likely beat that total.
The last two years have been the deadliest for migrants trying to illegally enter the United States with hundreds of deaths each year, and scores that go unaccounted for. Now more than ever, the incentive to come to the United States has never been stronger. When faced with a border crisis that now pales in comparison, former President Donald Trump restored order at the border by implementing the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program, letting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) do its job in the interior of the country, and entering into asylum agreements with Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.
President Biden, on the other hand, told voters he would move to legalize every illegal alien in the country. Migrants waiting to cross the US-Mexico border wore t-shirts that read “Biden, please let us in!” immediately after he became president. As soon as he took office, encounters at the border began rapidly increasing. His administration moved to end MPP and issued enforcement guidance preventing ICE from deporting almost any illegal alien, except for those with outstanding violent felonies. Morale at our immigration enforcement agencies plummeted, with Border Patrol agents physically turning their backs on Alejandro Mayorkas, the Secretary of Homeland Security.
The decisions and policies of the Biden administration have incentivized people to enter the U.S. illegally. That is not open for debate, given the extreme increase in illegal alien encounters under his watch. Even worse, the drug cartels that control human smuggling at the border profit enormously from this chaos.
Reporting from Vice found that the Cartel del Noreste oversaw the San Antonio smuggling operation, charging Mexicans $3,000 for the trip and Central Americans $8,500. The cartel used a truck designed to look like it was part of a prominent South Texas trucking company’s fleet.
Cartels – and the smugglers who they employ – feel emboldened by the lack of enforcement at the southern border. Incidents such as this will continue to occur unless the Biden administration decides to take the border crisis seriously.
Calling for “immigration reform” – in other words, amnesty – would not prevent these horrific incidents from occurring. It would only embolden the cartels and incentivize millions of people to try their luck at getting to the United States and be a path to citizenship. This is nothing more than an outrageous attempt to politicize a tragedy for a long-sought goal of his party. Moderate Republican senators should not fall into the trap.