I just got back from another fact-finding trip to our disintegrating southern border, this time in Arizona where I was part of a group that met with scores of elected sheriffs at the Southwest Border Sheriff’s Coalition conference. What I discovered was terrifying. With Biden and Congress refusing to act to secure the border, what can be done?
Former Congressman John N. Hostettler, a vice president with the Texas Public Policy Foundation, briefed the gathered sheriffs on one potential action.
A federal statute passed in 1952 and amended in 1996—8 USC Sec. 1324—allows state and local law enforcement to arrest those who move and house aliens who have illegally entered the U.S. Unlike other federal statutes that require federal permission to enforce federal law, this statute allows state and local law enforcement to make arrests.
Further, the element of conspiracy added in the 1996 amendment means that illegal immigrants themselves can be arrested since they paid Mexican criminal drug and human trafficking cartels up to $8,000 to unlawfully enter America.
Unfortunately, while local law enforcement can arrest, the authority to prosecute under this law remains with the federal government. Practically, it means that local law enforcement—sheriffs and highway patrol, for example—can throw a wrench into the Biden administration’s efforts to hide the vast extent of the border crisis from the American people.
Illegal immigrants arrested can be held in local jails until federal immigration agents arrive to pick them up while the Biden administration’s likely refusal to prosecute lawbreakers adds further evidence as to the administration’s refusal to enforce the law.
All it will take is one elected sheriff to lead by example, using this federal law to counter the mounting invasion of criminals and deadly drugs orchestrated by violent transnational cartels. The only question is when.
The sheriffs also heard from Democratic Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly who called in, and under increasingly direct questioning, finally admitted that our southern border was “out of control.”
Every day, while scant attention is paid to the thousands of illegal immigrant families and single men who turn themselves in to the Border Patrol, thousands of military-age men cross the border between ports of entry in camouflage, some carrying deadly fentanyl and methamphetamine.
As a result of this flood of drugs—much of it made in China—107,000 Americans were killed last year from overdose, 20,000 more than the toll of our wars combined since the end of World War II in 1945.
When an illegal immigrant makes it to America, virtually all of them owe the Mexican cartels thousands of dollars. Many will pay off their debts for decades in a newly established slave system on American soil. If they refuse to pay or can’t pay, the cartels threaten harm to their relatives back home. One-in-three women and girls who cross are raped—many repeatedly—as the consequence of President Joe Biden’s new “humane” immigration policies.
We then drove to the border. We saw Trump’s 30-foot-high border wall run up to Obama’s 15-to-20-foot wall, where it stopped cold after Biden halted construction the day he took office.
We heard from Cochise County Sheriff Mark J. Dannels and his deputies, most born in the area with decades of valuable experience in the complex terrain of southern Arizona. I spent about eight months in the area myself in the U.S. Army—though the highlight of my time in the brush was a faceplant dismount out of helicopter atop the Huachuca mountains while laden with a machine gun and radio.
The Cochise Sheriff’s deputies briefed us about their system of AI-enhanced trail cameras they developed—so sensitive and accurate, the system can automatically detect the difference between a human or an animal.
Frustratingly, the deputies also told us that the Trump border system was to feature a fiberoptic sensor system that could detect when people were on the wall—or even approaching from three miles out. They showed us the line of lights that were to be erected behind the wall to enhance Border Patrol agent safety. Biden stopped that as well. Huge piles of uninstalled barrier material lay about.
In Cochise County alone, some 300 military age men in full camouflage, most wearing booties with shag carpet soles to hide their tracks, head north daily. We saw the deputies’ trail-cam system alert constantly, showing groups of men making their way through the dense brush.
All the personnel, technology, and barriers in the world mean nothing if there is no will to enforce the law and would-be migrants believe the border is open.
The Border Patrol is so overwhelmed processing illegal immigrants, that it has virtually abandoned border enforcement. We saw no Border Patrol on the border while their roadside checkpoints were abandoned—leaving drug smugglers and previously deported criminals—murderers and child rapists—to slip back into America.
President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas say the “border is secure.” They are lying.