The human cost of the Biden administration’s disastrous immigration policy was once again on full display after a young national guardsman drowned trying to save migrants in the Rio Grande. National Guard Specialist Bishop E. Evans was a 22-year-old from Arlington who joined the Texas National Guard in 2019 and served in Iraq and Kuwait. His heroic actions must never be forgotten.
Shortly after Mr. Evans’ body was found last week, a troubling detail emerged: The two migrants who Mr. Evans tried to rescue turned out to be drug smugglers. This unfortunate episode emphasizes the broader inhumanity and insanity of President Biden’s self-created border crisis.
None of this had to happen. Mr. Biden inherited a border that had been brought under operational control by the actions taken by his predecessor in the summer of 2019. In May 2019, The New York Times stated that the border was at a “breaking point” after U.S. Customs and Border Protection tallied 76,000 apprehensions in a single month. The Trump administration responded by creating the successful Migrant Protection Protocols program and by striking novel asylum agreements with the northern triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, whose nationals drove the spike in apprehensions.
Mr. Biden wasted no time unraveling successful policies that maintained control of the border, thereby inviting a wave of asylum-seeking illegal aliens. He campaigned on a promise to amnesty every illegal alien in the United States, no doubt incentivizing people to rush our border. Since taking office, apprehensions at the border have never dipped below 100,000 a month and spiked to more than 220,000 in March.
People are not the only thing coming across the border. Cartels — which profit from human smuggling — traffic enormous amounts of fentanyl and other illicit narcotics into the country. Between 2016 and 2020, fentanyl trafficking increased by 1,890% — and it only continues to grow. Communities across America feel the impact of drug trafficking. Overdose deaths reached a record high in 2021, with fentanyl overdoses becoming the number one cause of death among American adults aged 18-45. Mexico is the primary source of fentanyl in America. Powerful drug cartels manufacture the drug in Mexico before trafficking it across the southern border, often evading Border Patrol agents overwhelmed by the sheer number of asylum-seeking aliens who also cross the border.
The death and destruction wrought by the Biden administration’s elimination of immigration enforcement reverberate throughout the country, whether an overdose death in Maine or the drowning of Specialist Evans in Texas. Yet the Biden administration rejects any responsibility for the chaos at our border. When asked if the Biden administration felt responsible for Mr. Evans’ death, White House press secretary Jen Psaki deflected, saying that “the National Guard work for the states, so he is an employee of the Texas National Guard, and his efforts and his operation were directed by there [sic], not by the federal government.”
Of course, Ms. Psaki never bothered to ponder why Texas felt the need to deploy its National Guard in the first place. The Biden administration’s abandonment of immigration enforcement leaves border states like Texas holding the bag when Border Patrol releases hundreds of thousands of aliens into their states every month. Arizona attorney general Mark Brnovich even issued a legal opinion stating that the federal government is failing to protect the states against an invasion driven by drug cartels and criminal gangs.
It is clear and plain that the Biden administration’s refusal to enforce our country’s immigration laws has created an untenable, dangerous and tragic situation at our border. Mr. Evans is one of an untold number of Americans who lost their lives due to this administration’s failure to address the humanitarian and national security crisis at the southern border.
The administration claims that it is creating a “fair, orderly and humane” immigration system. This is a complete fantasy. There is nothing fair about unleashing unimpeded drug smuggling and unchecked illegal immigration onto the United States. There is nothing orderly about encouraging hundreds of thousands of people to journey to the United States every month, creating chaos at the border, and expecting average Americans to accept this as a new status quo. And there is nothing humane about an immigration process that leads to the deaths of National Guardsmen, Border Patrol agents, the migrants themselves and American citizens.
The death of Mr. Evans — an American hero who drowned trying to save drug-smuggling aliens — illustrates explicitly the sheer inhumanity of the administration’s deliberately-inflicted border crisis.
When will it end?
• Preston Huennekens is the government relations manager of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
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