The torrent of illegal immigrants defining the border crisis is drawing human smugglers nationwide to Arizona like moths to a flame.
Last Wednesday, Operation Safe Streets with the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Michigan man smuggling four illegal immigrants. Then on Thursday, their officers arrested a Florida man and woman smuggling eight illegal immigrants with drugs in the car.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reports that smuggling brings in up to $15,000 per illegal immigrant or more, depending on if the individual comes from further away. As some smugglers note to reporters, the cost depends on the risk — which includes distance traveled. Based on what those smugglers shared, an individual smuggler’s cut is likely anywhere from one-third to half of what the illegal immigrant pays.
Last Sunday, CBP officers arrested a New Mexico man smuggling five illegal immigrants while driving under the influence.
Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels told “The Conservative Circus” that 926 individuals were arrested in his county for border-related crimes, 50 of whom were foreign-born. Their county jail can only hold 302 people.
Dannels explained that the high number of Americans involved in smuggling is influenced in part by the poor state of the economy.
“As economies fail, crime increases. This is advantageous to the criminal cartels that are using Americans all over the country to come to Cochise and other counties on the border to exploit their criminal behavior,” said Dannels.
Dannels added that the smugglers are reckless and destructive. He shared that, just last week, smugglers damaged two of his officers’ vehicles by driving into them and injured one of his officers.
Dannels said that the Biden administration refuses to mitigate the border crisis. He opined that the only possibility of improvement would come from a change in elected officials.
“The only change that’s ever going to take place, they’ve made it clear, is that people need to get out and vote in November,” said Dannels. “Border security is community security.”
Dannels stated that Biden needed to make a public statement condemning illegal crossers and declaring that the current border activity constituted a crime.
“It’s almost like we’re America second on this border down here. We have been the forgotten Americans on this border,” said Dannels.
These apprehensions are in addition to the many Arizonans arrested for smuggling illegal immigrants and drugs.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Tuesday it will lift the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” program, formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP).
The program required non-Mexican migrants seeking asylum to wait in Mexico while their claims were processed.
The DHS changes followed a Monday ruling from Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk with the Texas Northern District Court, which lifted his previous injunction from last August requiring DHS to reimplement the MPP in good faith. Kacsmaryk’s recent ruling aligned with the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) reversal in June of his August ruling.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has stated that the MPP stands in the way of the immigration system’s improvement.
“The MPP has endemic flaws, imposed unjustifiable human costs, pulled resources and personnel away from other priority efforts, and did not address the root causes of irregular migration,” stated Mayorkas.
Mayorkas cited the Biden administration mantra on immigration — “safe, orderly, and humane” — to contrast MPP with their reform goals.
The “safe, orderly, and human” slogan is cited frequently in left-wing circles. Immigration reform activists, like the Hope Border Institute, used it to praise the Biden administration’s initial rollback of MPP last March.
Catholic bishops along the southern border also cited the slogan while advocating for illegal immigration.
CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus — formerly Tucson’s controversial police chief who told officials not to enforce immigration laws and instead uphold sanctuary city policies — also used the slogan to describe their ideal reimagined approach to border security.
Over 5,700 migrants were enrolled in the MPP from December through June. That’s about 60 percent of initial MPP enrollments, totaling over 9,600, with the remaining 40 percent (over 3,400) disenrolled.
MPP enrollments make up less than one percent (.6 percent) of all illegal immigrant encounters along the southwest border since December: over 1.4 million. As of press time, the southwest border encounter totals for July have yet to be released.
There have been over 3.2 million southwest border encounters since President Joe Biden took office.
Monday, the National Border Patrol Union (NBPC) advised New York Mayor Eric Adams to blame President Joe Biden of the bused-in migrants in his city. The NBPC also said that Adams’ problems were paltry compared to those facing the southern border states.
“[W]hat’s ‘horrific’ is dead bodies piling up in border states, truckloads of people suffocating in heat, the lawlessness and trashing of our border areas, courtesy of Biden,” tweeted the NBPC. “A few people getting off a bus in NYC instead of Long Island or upstate NY is not ‘horrific.’”
The NBPC’s criticism intones a similar message to that of Governor Doug Ducey. Last month, Ducey issued similar responses to Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Adams. The two mayors have complained about Ducey and Texas Governor Greg Abbott busing migrants to their cities.
Ducey clarified to Adams that Arizona didn’t send any migrants to New York. He told Bowser that she should take her complaints up with the leader of the nation and her party, Biden.
Migrant smuggling in vans is common, but one case captured national interest in June when two smugglers abandoned a tractor-trailer filled with illegal immigrants. 53 of the illegal immigrants inside died from heat stroke.
Also common along illegal immigrant routes: trash. Illegal immigrants discard trash as well as money, clothing, and any personal items that could identify them.
In April, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) warned the Biden administration that it should improve its data collection, reporting, and evaluation of migrant deaths. Data on migrant rescues and deaths, available through the Border Safety Initiative Tracking System (BSITS), hasn’t been sufficient for several years now, according to the GAO.
The Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office partnered with a Tucson nonprofit, Humane Borders, to create a public tracker of illegal immigrant deaths in Arizona: the “Arizona OpenGIS Initiative for Deceased Migrants.” Since January, their tracker reported 126 illegal immigrant deaths. Total deaths for 2021 were 225, and 223 in 2020; prior to that, deaths last reached over 200 in 2010.
Officials share repeatedly that the surge in illegal immigration from the ongoing border crisis imposes an unprecedented burden on local resources, like first responders.
Last week, Tucson Sector agents apprehended smugglers fleeing law enforcement: a dangerous chase that ended in a crash.
Governor Doug Ducey criticized Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s request for National Guard troops to mitigate about 4,000 migrants in her city, noting that Arizona bears a far greater burden and that her party could solve the root cause. Since January, there have been over 1.4 million encounters along the southwest border; that’s well over 3.2 million encounters since President Joe Biden took office.
Ducey noted that Arizona endured just shy of 43,600 border encounters in June — not including the far-greater estimates of “gotaways,” or those illegal crossers spotted but not apprehended.
The governor noted that the Biden administration hasn’t declared a national emergency over the border crisis. Ducey issued a state of emergency last April. He also recounted how Arizona used its own state resources to deploy its own National Guard troops to handle the mass border invasion.
Ducey has consistently accused Democratic leadership of failing to take action. He advised Bowser that her plea for troops was only a temporary solution to a problem that her party could solve.
“Mayor Bowser is right. This is a humanitarian crisis. Yet her allies in the White House and Congress refuse to act,” stated Ducey. “If the Mayor really wants to address the issue, she can join us in calling for President Biden to take action at the root of the problem, and secure our southern border.”
AZ Free News reported earlier this month that the Border Patrol (BP) Yuma Sector reported over 235,000 encounters — a 300 percent increase from this same time last year. Nationwide, that number grew to over 1.7 million encounters this fiscal year, October to June.
In May, the Arizona House Republican caucus submitted a legislative proclamation denouncing the current state of the border. The proclamation exhorted President Joe Biden’s administration to act.
Both of Arizona’s Democratic Senators, Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema, took action to mitigate the illegal crossings. The pair announced in March that they secured budget provisions to increase border security, though none were allocated to finishing the border wall.
YUMA – On Friday, Rep. Tim Dunn called out the Biden administration for their policy of releasing detained immigrants into southern Arizona communities, which include Yuma.
According to data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), in January, more than 5,700 unaccompanied minors crossed the border, up from 4,850 in December and 4,500 in November.
On Thursday, a CBP staffer reportedly told top Biden administration officials to expect a peak of 13,000 unaccompanied minors to cross the border in May — the highest level ever, according to the New York Post.
Then Biden admitted on Friday that thousands of unaccompanied children were coming and are expected to come across the border as part of migration surge.
Those migrants are being released into many of the communities Dunn represents. In fact, the Yuma Sector of the U.S. Board Patrol has apprehended over 8,600 illegal immigrants this fiscal year, up from 4,400 the previous year.
Dunn says the Biden policy has led to “burdensome challenges of adhering to COVID-19 guidelines at facilities, as well as to house a growing number of individuals here illegally.”
Latest reports show over 240 releases in the past few weeks.
“President Biden’s irresponsible policy to release immigration detainees freely into the community is already having predictable negative results,” said Dunn in a press release. “This is particularly the case in Yuma and other southern border counties who are left to manage the consequences. With Yuma County having one of the highest rates of COVID-19 in the state, our hospitals and city services are overwhelmed and could put care for Arizonans in jeopardy.”
“The Biden Administration needs to take responsibility for the consequences of its damaging policies,” continued Dunn. “I call on U.S. Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema in Washington to work on our behalf to ensure the federal government is testing the immigrants it releases and provides us the appropriate financial resources to cover other costs being incurred.”