The Heroin Epidemic by David P. Ward
The borders of the United States (U.S.) consist of 1,989 miles with Mexico, 5,525 miles with Canada, and more than 95,000 miles of shoreline. In order to legally enter the U.S., foreign nationals and commerce alike must come through a port of entry (POE) and be inspected by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Foreign nationals and commerce must meet specific CBP guidelines, regulations and laws to be admitted into the U.S. If they do not, the foreign nationals could be refused admittance into the U.S. and/or could be deported if they violate the terms of admission. Additionally, commerce could be seized and destroyed.
Unfortunately, our borders are exploited every day by foreign nationals and “traffickers” of illegal commerce. The number of illegal aliens within the U.S. continues to increase; in effect, the presence of illegal aliens in the U.S. is now at the point of inundation. In response to the 1vast number of illegal aliens in the U.S., the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has reprioritized the deportation criteria for illegal aliens. An illegal alien must [now] be convicted of an aggravated crime. Lesser crimes no longer warrant deportation under the new Obama Administration guidelines, known as the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP). Subsequently, illegal aliens with outstanding orders of deportation are no longer being pursued, unless they are deemed “a serious threat”. By law, the mere presence of an illegal alien in the U.S. is subject to deportation. But, you know this, yes?
Of late, a great deal of discussion has arisen with the increasing epidemic of heroin addiction and overdose within the U.S. This epidemic has led to thousands of deaths in the U.S. every year. Who is responsible? Prior to the election of President Obama, during the period of 2001 to 2008, the average number of heroin related deaths was approximately 2,300 per year. During 2009, heroin related deaths increased to an average of 3,200; and, by 2014 the [heroin related] death toll has essentially tripled to more than 10,000 per year. Noteworthy is the Asian heroin supply market was replaced by Mexican Cartels during that same time period. Up until 2010, heroin had generally been supplied by Southeast Asia—in particular, Afghanistan. Since 2014, heroin production and trafficking has been completely overtaken by Mexican Cartels. They are responsible for supplying the heroin for distribution within the U.S. to-date.
How is this the case? There are 3 key factors: (1) the current, careless enforcement of U.S. immigration laws; (2) the current, negligent U.S. border security; and (3) the existence of4“sanctuary cities” within the U.S. These shameful factors point directly to the doctrine of the Obama administration. The presence of sanctuary cities (and the supporters thereof) have created, in effect, “safe zones” within which foreign national drug traffickers can conduct business. This leads to the next question, “How do the drugs get into the U.S.?” The answer is rather obvious; however, let’s look deeper into what is at play.
Criminal aliens live with impunity in 2”Sanctuary Cities”—havens for those who violate immigration law. Sanctuary cities play an integral part in the proliferation of heroin and other illicit narcotics brought into the U.S. by foreign nationals. Transnational crime organizations have taken advantage of the sanctuary city “hospitality” and have set-up their distribution operations in these cities. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has identified more than 350 U.S. cities that are influenced by Mexican Cartels. Coincidently, the Center for Immigration Studies, has produced a map of Sanctuary Cities. If one were to overlay the DEA map of cartel influenced US cities with the CIS map, one would plainly see that they are one in the same.
Mexican Cartels have established routes and methods from Mexico into the U.S.; thereby, exploiting the weaknesses in U.S. border security by covert and somewhat overt means. (This is glaringly apparent based on the saturation of heroin now available throughout the U.S. and it’s “dirt cheap” prices.) U.S. Border Patrol Agents (BPA’s) discover tunnels regularly, almost weekly and usually by accident. As such, it is difficult to determine the amount of illicit contraband or other nefarious commerce transported into the U.S.; and, it is just as difficult to determine the number of illegal aliens that transit through these clandestine tunnels. Obviously, such tunnels are a covert form of circumventing U.S. laws. However, there are more overt forms of exploit often used by Mexican Cartels, and they involve our own POE’s.
As previously mentioned, CBP is responsible for the security of POE’s, assuring compliance with relevant U.S. laws. At the Canada and Mexico POE’s, every vehicle that crosses into the U.S. is to have been properly inspected by CBP officers; unfortunately, inspections of every vehicle are NOT being conducted. Proper inspections of each vehicle, would result in complaints to the U.S. from Canada and Mexico for the resulting traffic tie-ups and the deemed “affront to our neighbors”.
CBP’s posture now is to do random searches; that is, the only exception to random searches is when an inspector is drawn to a suspicious vehicle as directed by DHS policy. The procedure by which these random searches are conducted would be laughable were it not true: a random vehicle is selected for inspection; and, the inspection takes place using X-ray or other detection methods. To make matters worse, an agreement was signed years ago, entitled FAST: Free and Secure Trade for Commercial Vehicles to fast-track commercial vehicle inspections using an “honor system” approach. The U.S. is foolish to subscribe and agree to any such honor system. Important to mention is the DHS Office of the Inspector General has determined this fast-track approach is flawed and subject to exploitation. Unsurprisingly, the U.S. Federal Government again caters to the “whining of inconvenience” instead of to the security and safety of U.S. citizens.
Another form of overt exploitation by Mexican Cartels is by gaining entrance into the U.S. through remote regions of our borders. Along with this, a method known as “body carry” is employed to transport narcotics and contraband into the U.S. It is not uncommon for BPA’s to encounter 15 or so illegal aliens carrying 80 pound packs full of narcotics. Sadly, those are the illegal aliens who are actually apprehended. On average, for every illegal alien who is caught by BPA’s, 5 others avoid apprehension.
The U.S. Border Patrol Agency consists of more than 18,000 BPA’s. Remarkably, BPA’s are not often aggressively working those remote regions of the border, so encounters and resulting apprehensions are, in reality, infrequent occurrences. What is regrettable, by design, is that the Obama Administration has inhibited the ability of BPA’s to have presence in the field. Prior to the inception of DHS, a BPA could completely process an illegal alien within an hour—including the completion of an arrest report, charging documents, detention, and bond paperwork. Currently, it takes almost entire shift to process just one illegal alien. What is the ill-fated result? For every BPA engaged in processing an illegal alien [with the new regulations], there is less protection for U.S. borders. Ridiculously, if a shift apprehends a smuggling load of 10 or so aliens, there will be few BPA’s, if any, available to protect our borders during the remainder of that shift.
In summary, there is a never-ending supply of proof that U.S. borders are not secure, U.S. immigration violations are not being enforced, and Americans are killed daily at the hands of corrupt/failed U.S. policies and U.S. political indifference. The 2016 U.S. presidential election will either make or break America for generations to come. If U.S. borders are not secured and the U.S. government continues to look the other way on immigration violations, the sacrifice of those who protect America will be for naught, and the nation built by America’s Founding Fathers will cease to exist.
1There are 12 to 20 million by most estimates, depending on who you believe—U.S. politicians or U.S. Border Patrol veterans.
2Sanctuary Cities are self-imposed by the U.S. as safe havens for illegal aliens. Unless an illegal foreign national commits a noteworthy crime, they are basically safe from law enforcement encounters. With this comes the undermining of law based on ideology—nothing short of politically imposed anarchy.
David P. Ward is a Director with the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers, an organization of former Border Patrol Supervisors and Managers, which advocates secure borders and interior immigration enforcement. David has over 33 years field experience with the US Department of Homeland Security and US Border Patrol, as an agent and field manager of enforcement operations. His experience is unique in that it covers both Border Security issues and Interior Enforcement.