AZ Sheriff Sounds Alarm on Biden's Border Crisis: 'We Are Seriously in Trouble'


When asked by a reporter last week if there is a crisis at the southern border, President Joe Biden replied, “No, we’ll be able to handle it.”

But many strenuously disagree.

In an interview Monday with Fox News, Sheriff Mark Dannels of Cochise County, Arizona, said that a “huge crisis” is brewing at the southern border as a result of Biden’s immigration policies.

“What we’re seeing, talking to my federal partners, talking to local law enforcement, talking to our health department — I mean, when it comes to public safety, national security, when it comes to the health pandemic, we’re in trouble — we are seriously in trouble,” Dannels said on “America’s Newsroom.”

“This all started under the word ‘politics.’ When this administration failed to engage with my governor, my attorney general, our health departments, our emergency services coordinator — along with other border states and beyond, that’s when it started,” he said. “So we’re trying to pick up the pieces right now.”

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Even some in Biden’s own party disagree with him.

Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat whose district encompasses a portion of the border, recently warned, “We are weeks, maybe even days, away from a crisis on the southern border. …. Our country is currently unprepared to handle a surge in migrants in the middle of the pandemic.”

To fully understand the current situation, it’s important to look at what Biden has done regarding illegal migration over the southern border since taking office just six weeks ago.

Just hours after Biden’s inauguration Jan. 20, he placed a halt on most deportations — including of felons, MS-13 gangsters and convicted sex offenders — for whom immigration courts, after having provided the full panoply of due process rights, had issued orders of removal. Last month, a federal judge in Texas struck down Biden’s deportation moratorium, allowing the deportations to continue for the time being.

Also on Jan. 20, by presidential proclamation, Biden rescinded the national security travel ban on migrants coming from countries plagued by terrorism.

Last month, the president signed an executive order aimed at revamping the U.S. refugee resettlement program and vastly expanding refugee admissions. Although former President Donald Trump had set the refugee admissions cap at 15,000 for the 2021 fiscal year, Biden aimed to quadruple that number to 62,500 for the current budget year and raise it to 125,000 starting in October, when the 2022 fiscal year begins.

Biden also halted construction of the wall on the southern border even though Congress had already allocated money for that project and despite the fact that holes in the fence are exploited for transnational human trafficking.

Earlier this month, a Ford Expedition crammed with 25 people, whose ages were from 15 to 53, drove through such an opening in the border fence and later collided with a tractor-trailer, resulting in 13 deaths.

Biden also rescinded the “zero tolerance” policy, under which the Department of Justice criminally charged all adult migrants caught sneaking into our country at locations other than designated ports of entry.

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That a federal statute criminalizes illegal border crossings was apparently of little consequence to him.

Biden also quickly jettisoned Trump’s“Remain in Mexico” policy — officially called Migrant Protection Protocols — by which asylum seekers were required to wait in Mexico while their claims were adjudicated in U.S. immigration courts.

Instead, he has reverted to the Obama-era policy of “catch and release,” under which illegal immigrants, upon being apprehended, are issued the equivalent of a summons and released into the American interior — many never to be seen again.

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Worse, Biden reportedly is inviting previously rejected asylum seekers to reapply — something that no previous administration has ever done.

“This is the first time in U.S. history where the federal government has gone back on rejected asylee applicants, in the last year or so, and they’re reaching out to them to bring them back into the United States,” A.J. Louderback, sheriff of Jackson County, Texas, told The Epoch Times.

Biden’s actions, along with his proposal for wide-ranging amnesty for illegal immigrants, are causing a surge of unaccompanied minors at the southern border, and it’s only expected to get worse.

In fact, migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border were photographed last week wearing T-shirts bearing Biden’s name — powerful evidence that the president’s unwinding of Trump’s immigration policies is responsible for the border crisis.

Due to catch and release, the ballooning number of migrants coming across the border is wreaking havoc on American border communities that lack the infrastructure to absorb them. Shelters and hospitals, whose resources were already strained due to the pandemic, are being stretched to the breaking point.

“It’s an unfunded mandate by the federal government to the local communities,” Dannels told Fox News.

The situation is also creating a public health calamity.

The Biden administration is releasing these immigrants into U.S. communities without even giving them a COVID-19 test, Louderback told Fox News.

(While there have been no changes from the Trump administration to the Biden administration when it comes to testing migrants for COVID-19, the fact that the current administration is releasing more of them into American communities indicates a greater risk to Americans.)

Because Customs and Border Protection lacks sufficient staff and equipment to test everyone who is apprehended on the border, “migrants crossing into South Texas are not getting tested for the coronavirus” when they are apprehended, according to Border Report, which documents conditions on the U.S. border with Mexico.

Last week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott criticized the Biden administration for “assimilating Covid positive illegal immigrants in states across the country.”

Abbott is right: Dozens of migrants released into South Texas by border authorities tested positive for coronavirus within the last week, according to Border Report.

Not only is the situation at the border exacerbating the health crisis caused by the pandemic, but it is creating a public safety mess as well.

To begin, the mass migration enriches Mexican drug cartels, which charge a steep fee for passage across the territories adjacent to the border that are under their control. Louderback told The Epoch Times that fee “averages at a low of about $250 per person. So [at] 1,000 [people crossing] a day, you’re looking at a quarter-million dollars a day coming in and funding the cartel for its future violence, and the future enhancement of all things criminal that go on here in Texas [and] in the United States.”

The relaxing of border security measures has also led to a spike in human trafficking and drug smuggling.

“Many of the new arrivals have no contacts in the United States,” the sheriff explained, and the lack of community ties leaves them “vulnerable to slavery and criminality.”

“Where you have a mass of people who come into a community, fresh and new, not knowing anybody or knowing very few people, what’s going to happen with them? Many of them are going to be indentured to the cartel,” Louderback said.

The dramatic reduction in border enforcement also threatens our national security. According to Al Arabiya News, Hezbollah — the terrorist organization and Iran proxy — has been “well entrenched in Mexico” for decades, partnering with the cartels in Central and South America to traffic drugs to the United States to finance its terrorist network. Reduced security at our southern border therefore benefits America’s avowed enemy.

At the onset of the pandemic, Trump invoked a federal statute that allows the government to suspend immigration from designated places to prevent the spread of communicable diseases. This allowed CBP agents to immediately expel immigrants to their last country of transit.

In a Feb. 9 letter to Biden, 52 House Republicans said that law is the only thing “ensuring the southern border is not immediately rushed” and cautioned that if Biden rescinded the Trump administration policy of relying on it, that “the daily illegal flow will become catastrophic overnight.”

Biden has not yet said whether he will end the expulsion policy, but given his contempt for the former president, the pressure imposed on him by the left and his track record of systematically unspooling all Trump-era policies, its revocation is likely just a matter of time.

In his interview with Fox News, Sheriff Dannels said Biden has “made chaos and crisis out of our border.”

Everyone can see it but Biden.

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Ameer Benno is a constitutional law attorney. He was the Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018 in New York's Fourth Congressional District, and he frequently appears on national television and radio to give legal and political commentary.
Ameer Benno is a constitutional law attorney. He was the Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018 in New York's Fourth Congressional District, and he frequently appears on national television and radio to give legal and political commentary.