Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels was asked to address the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary last week about the southwest border crisis, and he did not waste the opportunity, expressing frustration with how the Biden administration is avoiding the situation.
“Our southern border, against all public comfort statements out of Washington, D.C., is in the worst shape I have ever seen it,” Dannels testified. “When one looks at Public Safety, National Security, and Humanitarian, our southern border is the largest crime scene in the country.”
Dannels, who is the immediate past-president of the Arizona Sheriffs Association and chair of the National Sheriffs Association Border Security, told Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan and the committee he has personally experienced “the good, the bad, and the ugly” while working in border communities for nearly 40 years.
The sheriff acknowledged there “has always” been some border-related crimes such as illicit drugs, human smuggling, and weapons trafficking by Cartels. But prior to President Joe Biden taking office in January 2021, Cochise County was “one on the safest border counties” thanks to a cooperative effort that included enforcing the law, Dannels explained.
But Dannels told the Congressional committee he and other sheriffs have had “little to no success” in trying to partner with the White House to address the growing crisis caused by Biden’s open border policies the last two years.
As a result, the “intellectual avoidance” of border issues by Biden is being exploited by the Cartels to support their reign of “violence, fear, and greed,” Dannels said.
“Violence against innocent citizens, public officials, law enforcement, and rival drug / human trafficking groups in Mexico continues to escalate,” Dannels testified, adding it has left communities in Cochise County feeling “neglected and abandoned.”
Cochise County typically does not experience the type of mass self-surrenders seen in Yuma and some border crossings in Texas. Instead, the county’s 80 miles of international border are preferred by what Dannels called “Fight & Flight” crossers, many of whom are convicted criminals who go to great lengths to avoid detection.
This has now resulted in an all-time high of border crimes in the county, Dannels testified. And it is not just property crimes the sheriff was referring to – he pointed to a significant uptick in aggravated assaults, injury traffic accidents, and homicides directly related to Cartels exploiting the border.
According to Dannels, Mexican drug trafficking organizations operating in Cochise County “are highly sophisticated and innovative in their transportation methods” and utilize “sophisticated and technical communications and counter surveillance equipment to counter law enforcements interdiction tactics and strategies.”
It raises the question, the sheriff noted, of who actually controls our borders.
“By allowing our border security mission and immigration laws to be discretionary, these Criminal Cartels continue to be the true winners,” Dannels testified, adding that the continuance of deaths and hardships as Congress and the Biden administration “intentionally avoids reality is gross negligence.”
Dannels provided the House Judiciary Committee with several suggestions for how the federal government could quickly secure the border and address the violence.
“One would hope the priority of securing our border doesn’t become just about a price tag and/or political posturing, but rather the legal and moral requirement to safeguard all of America, which so many heroic Americans have already paid the ultimate price for,” Dannels said.
Dannels reiterated his frustration later in the week during an interview with KFYI’s James T. Harris.
“We have a border that is out of control,” Dannels told Harris, adding that his pleas did not appear to resonate with many of those in power in the Beltway because “it’s not in their Washington, D.C. backyard.”
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05) filed impeachment articles against Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday.
In a press release, Biggs accused Mayorkas of intentional dereliction of duty and committing crimes against the nation.
“Secretary Mayorkas is the chief architect of the migration and drug invasion at our southern border. His policies have incentivized more than 5 million illegal aliens to show up at our southern border—an all-time figure,” said Biggs. “Instead of enforcing the laws on the books and deporting or detaining these illegal aliens, the vast majority of them are released into the interior and never heard from again.”
Biggs also claimed that Mayorkas was facilitating drug trafficking by stalling border wall construction and pulling law enforcement away from the border.
“His conduct is willful and intentional. He is not enforcing the law and is violating his oath of office,” said Biggs.
Biggs was joined by 28 legislators, including fellow Arizona Reps. Eli Crane (R-AZ-02), Paul Gosar (R-AZ-09), and Debbie Lesko (R-AZ-08).
Other legislators that cosponsored the resolution were: Reps. Jeff Duncan (R-SC-03), Mary Miller (R-IL-15), Ralph Norman (R-SC-05), Michael Cloud (R-TX-27), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA-14), Lauren Boebert (R-CO-03), Andy Ogles (R-TN-05), Bill Posey (R-FL-08), Matt Gaetz (R-FL-01), Andrew Clyde (R-GA-09), Nancy Mace (R-SC-01), Claudia Tenney (R-NY-24), Brian Babin (R-TX-36), Matt Rosendale (R-MT-02), Troy Nehls (R-TX-22), Ryan Zinke (R-MT-01), Randy Weber (R-TX-14), Glenn Grothman (R-WI-06), Pat Fallon (R-TX-04), Greg Steube (R-FL-17), Ronny Jackson (R-TX-13), and Kevin Hern (R-OK-01).
This resolution is the latest in Biggs’ ongoing effort to impeach Mayorkas since 2021. In an op-ed last March, Biggs outlined how Mayorkas contravened federal law.
Awaiting illegal immigrants on the U.S. side of the border are bus stops, portable toilets, washing stations, relief workers, water and food, and more. Foreigners who break the law are rewarded under Mayorkas, Biggs argued.
However, Mayorkas worked hard to target and punish American citizens who refused executive dictates and guidance on COVID-19.
Under the Biden administration, border numbers are at an all-time high across the board. Over 4.6 million illegal immigrants were apprehended at the border as of December, with over 1.2 million “gotaways” estimated. At this rate, there may be over 9.2 million illegal immigrants by the end of Biden’s first term in 2024. The Biden administration’s current policy usually results in catch and release for most of these illegal immigrants.
Illegal immigrants aren’t the only ones taking advantage of the Biden administration’s border policy: terrorists have benefitted as well. There were seven times more terrorists apprehended at the southern border in fiscal year 2022, and more than double apprehended in this current fiscal year, than in all the years of Trump’s administration combined.
Drug trafficking is also at an all-time high. This has led to a surge in fentanyl overdoses and deaths in border states like Arizona.
Terrorists appear to be making the most of the ongoing border crisis, according to the latest illegal immigrant encounter data from Customs and Border Patrol (CBP).
Terror watchlist arrests have increased over sixfold since President Joe Biden took office. CBP apprehensions increased from 15 in the 2021 fiscal year to 98 in the 2022 fiscal year. Since October, there have been 38 arrests of illegal immigrants on the terror watchlist. From 2017 to 2021, four years, CBP only arrested 26 from the terror watchlist.
CBP told Fox News that they estimate approximately 1.2 million “gotaways,” in addition to the over 4.6 million illegal immigrants that have been apprehended at the southern border.
December’s total apprehensions nearly doubled last year’s record for that month; it also marked the highest single month of apprehensions on record.
Nearly 70 percent of the 2022 fiscal year illegal immigrants were single adults (nearly 64 percent in the 2021 fiscal year). Family units accounted for 23 percent of the 2022 fiscal year southwest border encounters.
At this rate, there may be over 9.2 million illegal immigrants by the end of Biden’s first term.
The illegal immigrants aren’t the only increase in border activity since Biden took office. Drug trafficking has also reached historic highs.
The drug traffickers have gotten creative with their outsized shipments, disguising their cargo as commercial goods like rocks and cotton candy.
Harder drugs are taking precedence over others, as reflected by CBP drug seizure statistics. This includes fentanyl, meth, and cocaine. Marijuana dropped off in seizures around 2021.
Vice President Kamala Harris visited Arizona last Thursday. Although Biden designated Harris as the “Border Czar,” Harris did not visit the border while in Arizona. Rather, the vice president came to the state to discuss “clean” energy.
When asked why she and Biden weren’t taking more steps to secure the border, Harris said that Congress needed to act. Harris also indicated that it wasn’t important for her to visit the border during last Thursday’s trip, since she went in June 2021.
“The reality is, the people in Washington, D.C., the people who walk around the halls of Congress need to do something,” said Harris.
A week prior to her visit, Harris told reporters that the border was one of her highest priorities.
Nobody seems to know what to do about our illegal immigration crisis. Somehow, no other nation in the world seems helpless to control unlimited, illegal immigration. Democrats alternately claim it is being handled, and that it is the fault of uncooperative Republicans, who in turn can only agree that “something” must be done.
It’s time for a Great Reset, to rethink the basics of how we treat illegal immigration. Here’s an idea: Follow The Law. Just Say No.
It starts with refuting the notion that noncitizens, who have followed none of our rules for legal entry, have a natural right to come here anyway, and we have a corresponding duty to oblige them. Like all other nations, we have no such moral burden.
We make an effort to prevent entry for some. But most immigrants, when they reach American soil, are meekly processed through and provided food, shelter, and transportation into our country, as if that doesn’t incentivize their coming.
Among other obfuscations, open border advocates claim our immigration laws need a complete overhaul to mitigate our ongoing catastrophe. Nobody ever specifies exactly what those new laws are.
Reforms initiated by Democrats when Biden took office included eliminating the Remain in Mexico policy, and anything else with the taint of Trump about them. Predictably, conditions at the border worsened. The only “solution” Democrats have any interest in is amnesty, which is no solution at all.
We have adequate laws in place. Illegal immigration is already illegal. We just need to execute those laws.
Today, the operating principle of our immigration policy is sanctioned asylum fraud. Instead of a good faith effort to legally control our borders, illegal immigrants are coached to state “I am in fear,” and we pretend to believe them.
But accepting the same lie millions of times is simple abuse of asylum. Asylum, unlike illegal immigration, is a compassionate process administered internationally to provide safe harbor to individuals suffering persecution, or a credible fear of persecution, due to one of five specific causes: race, religion, nationality, social group, or political standing.
Persons claiming asylum have their cases heard in court. If they prevail, they are granted “indefinite” asylum with the tacit understanding that the asylum lasts until the threat is removed.
That’s a far cry from the daily mobs at our border, who, understandably, for economic reasons, would rather live in the U.S. than in their home country. It would be wonderful if we could save every person in the world living in poverty by bringing them here, but that’s not the way it works in our world of corrupt socialist autocracies.
But we can, and are, making our own country less safe and free, less fit to be a beacon of liberty under law to others.
In spite of the fact that only a minuscule percentage of the millions of asylum claims made at the border are ever substantiated, border patrol agents are instructed to continue to process them as potential claims with a deferred court hearing and release into the U.S.
Although the asylum status claims at the border are transparently bogus, the scofflaws rarely face consequences for failure to appear at their subsequent hearing. They will eventually be offered amnesty, then citizenship, then registration as a Democrat, if all works as planned.
There’s a better way, simple and legal. We should require all asylum claims to be made in their home country. Refugee processing centers could be established in the common countries of origin, where applicants would have their status determined. Unaccompanied minors at the border would be sent home.
This would greatly benefit legitimate asylum seekers. They could be assured of their status before beginning the journey to safety. The rest could be politely turned away at the border as the law requires. Word would quickly spread that the rules have changed. The crowds at the border would soon dissipate.
Americans are beginning to appreciate the stress unlimited migration places on our education, medical, and judicial systems. Barring a major course correction, it is bound to get much worse.
But we can end the misery if we just have the will to do so. Follow The Law. What a concept!
Dr. Thomas Patterson, former Chairman of the Goldwater Institute, is a retired emergency physician. He served as an Arizona State senator for 10 years in the 1990s, and as Majority Leader from 93-96. He is the author of Arizona’s original charter schools bill.
Former Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus resigned Saturday, less than one year after being confirmed as commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), capping a tumultuous and controversial tenure for the longtime city cop.
His resignation was effective immediately, less than one week after the General Election in which border security, or insecurity, was a hot button topic along the southwest border.
The timing of Magnus’s departure raises serious questions about the priorities of President Joe Biden and U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to whom Magnus reported.
Mayorkas always expressed public confidence in Magnus, despite intense public objection to the nomination. And neither Biden nor Mayorkas appeared concerned month after month with the increase in the number of large shipments of fentanyl and other illicit drugs making it through the CBP-controlled ports of entry.
In fact, there was little comment from the White House after CBP announced its FY2022 statistics last month. It showed more than 2.2 million “encounters” or apprehension by U.S. Border Patrol along the southwest border, along with more than 172,000 encounters with “inadmissables” at the southwest ports of entry.
Those statistics do not include the estimated 600,000 – 700,000 “gotaways” who were never apprehended at or near the border.
As previously reported by AZ Free News, Magnus came under renewed scrutiny in recent weeks for his lack of attendance at key CBP meetings.
The final straw, however, may have been Magnus’s tone deaf response to a very public incident when outnumbered USBP agents were forced to deploy less-than-lethal munitions to quell an incursion of several hundred border crossers near downtown El Paso on Oct. 31.
Magnus issued a statement the next day in which he noted the CBP Office of Professional Responsibility—which is an internal affairs type of unit—was “reviewing this incident.”
Nowhere in his statement did Magnus bother to comment on whether all agents emerged from the situation uninjured.
Yet it appeared Biden was not willing to suffer any political egg on the face until after last week’s General Election. It was not until Nov. 11 that the first outward signs of discord became public, when it was reported that Magnus rejected an ultimatum from higher up officials in the Department of Homeland Security that he resign.
That same day, his official CBP Twitter account was reportedly archived and his access was blocked.
It is unclear whether the resignation demand was made directly by Mayorkas, but Magnus finally submitted his resignation Nov. 12. It was accepted the same day by Biden, according to a White House press release.
Many eyebrows were raised when Biden nominated Magnus back in April 2021 to head the agency’s 60,000 employees at U.S. Border Patrol, CBP’s Office of Field Operations, and Air & Marine Operations. The agency is also in charge of facilitating international travel and trade.
Organizations such as the Western Sheriffs Association criticized the nomination, pointing out Magnus had no management experience with such a large and critical federal agency.
Others, such as the National Border Patrol Council, pointed to the fact Magnus never worked in federal law enforcement.
There were also concerns about the occasional public disdain Magnus expressed toward the role federal border policies play in protecting national security. Having Magnus at the helm of CBP was seen as proof for some who live and work along the U.S. southwest border that Biden had no concern for their communities reeling from an unending influx of border crossers and illegal criminal activity.
The criticism continued after Magnus was confirmed in December 2021. He was seen as preoccupied with internal issues and establishing a strong esprit de corps rather than ensuring CBP officers and USBP agents have the resources and support needed to do their job.
The announcement of Magnus’ resignation provided no reassurance to CBP’s employees nor the public that new leadership has been identified. For now, it is assumed Deputy Commissioner Troy A. Miller will once again serve as Acting CBP Commissioner, a position he held for nearly 12 months until Magnus was confirmed.
Miller’s official biography shows he began his federal law enforcement career nearly 30 years ago as a Customs Inspector. He has held a number of CBP positions in the years since, including Director of Field Operations for CBP’s New York Field Office where he oversaw a district that included John F. Kennedy International Airport and the New York / Newark container seaport.