Early Sunday morning, a commercial boat in the San Diego Bay called to report a distressed vessel near Point Loma. The vessel, maneuvering in seven-foot swells, fog and light rain, broke apart after hitting rocks.San Diego Lifeguard Lt. Rick Romero said that people were flailing about, drowning and getting sucked under by the currents.
Four people died, and 28 survived, five of whom were transported to a local hospital, one in critical condition. The smuggling boat was dangerously overcrowded, and had inadequate safety equipment on board.
When the U.S. Border Patrol arrived at the scene, it advised in a statement made later that all but two of the passengers were Mexican foreign nationals with “no legal status to enter the U.S.” The two remaining non-Mexicans were a Guatemalan national and a U.S. citizen identified as the boat’s captain who was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations.
Jeff Stephenson, a Border Patrol supervisory agent, said that human and drug traffickers have found the Pacific Ocean a more expeditious smuggling route than land, especially after President Trump began wall construction, tightened enforcement and initiated Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as Remain in Mexico. In fiscal 2020, Border Patrol agents detained about 1,200 people during maritime trafficking efforts – a 92 percent increase over fiscal 2019.
The chances are excellent that if the trafficking vessel hadn’t capsized, the smuggler would have succeeded in his effort to get more than 30 illegal immigrants ashore, and into the general population. If President Biden has shown no interest in strengthening border patrol agencies, then he isn’t concerned about ocean or waterway smuggling either.
Through their refusal to enforce immigration laws, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris actively protect illegal immigrants, and encourage criminal human trafficking. A U.S. Attorneys’ Annual Statistical Report concluded that illegal immigration leads to myriad other federal felonies, including more trafficking. From the report: “Illegal immigration provides the initial foothold which criminal elements, including organized crime syndicates, use to engage in a myriad of illicit activities ranging from immigration document fraud and migrant smuggling to human trafficking.”
Whenever President Biden lectures the nation about its humane immigration policies, or hectors that enforcing immigration laws “isn’t who we are,” remember Point Loma, the tragic, avoidable loss of life, and the flagrant disregard a U.S. citizen had for following federal laws Congress passed, and a U.S. president signed.
The White House can manage immigration in any of three ways. First, declare the borders open which would immediately put traffickers out of business. Second, shut the borders, clamp down on interior enforcement and pass mandatory E-Verify to remove the jobs magnet. Or Biden can continue along his current path that winks at the border crisis, encourages human trafficking with its inevitable loss of lives, and enables, as the Department of Justice predicted, future immigration-related crimes.
To date, Biden is comfortable with his steadfast refusal to acknowledge the border mess, and content to let his immigration czar Harris shirk her responsibilities as the administration’s designee in charge of border control.
If nothing else, Biden is tone deaf. A new Harvard-CAPS Harris Poll found that 80 percent of respondents consider the Southwest border surge “a crisis that needs to be addressed immediately.” About 170,000 migrants were apprehended at the U.S. southern border in March, a 15-year high. Moreover, 22,000 unaccompanied migrant children are currently residing in the U.S.
Going into the 2022 mid-term elections, the party in power almost always pays a price. Presidents Clinton, Obama and Trump suffered major congressional losses. None had as glaringly visible failures as Biden’s border breakdown. Biden has time to recover, but he’ll need to reverse himself quickly, something he’s shown no sign of doing.
Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at [email protected]