Here’s What I Witnessed at the Most Lawless Part of the U.S-Mexico Border

May 7, 2021

By Buck Sexton

I recently traveled down to the McAllen sector of the U.S.-Mexico border in southeastern Texas to see the crisis firsthand. It’s where the highest number of illegal migrants are entering the United States.

The illegal crossings mostly occur at night, and often in remote areas. This seemed counterintuitive to me at first… I’d already seen many family units and unaccompanied minors surrender themselves to the Border Patrol in broad daylight right next to official ports of entry.

Why was I witnessing rafts of illegal immigrants crossing the Rio Grande in Fronton, a remote region more than 70 miles west of McAllen, Texas?

My answer came in the sound of small arms fire that broke out just across the river… the cartels. First, there was the popping noise of semiautomatic weapons, then the elongated crackling of a belt-fed automatic weapon maybe 300 yards away. One of the National Guard soldiers standing nearby said out loud “probably a 240,” referring to an FN MAG machine gun.

Buck Sexton at the U.S.-Mexico border

That’s a heavy military weapon associated with national militaries around the world… But the cartels have plenty of them, too. We were just across the Rio Grande from a territory fully at the mercy of warring Mexican cartels – the richest, most powerful, and vicious drug gangs in the world. And they’re exploiting our open border at every opportunity.

But this is nothing new…

A Borderline History

The U.S. established the Border Patrol in 1924… a federally armed force solely dedicated to policing the border year-round. Initially, these officers had their eyes more on Prohibition-era bootleggers than Mexican immigrants.

During World War II, our country looked to Mexico to keep America fed and our railroad running… This birthed the Bracero Program guest-worker treaty in 1942, allowing Mexican farmworkers to cross the border to provide more labor. But by 1954, the regrettably named Operation Wetback launched, deporting millions of Mexican immigrants.

America’s timeline of border wars seems filled with inconsistencies like this, where we can’t seem to reconcile viewing immigrants from below the Rio Grande as a hindrance, help, or both.

In 1965, Congress passed the Immigration and Nationality Act, easing restrictions for those crossing the border… And by the 70s, the number of illegal immigrants had tripled.

This decade also coincided with America’s longest-running war: the war on drugs. Since its Nixon-led inception in 1971, this effort has cost the United States an estimated $1 trillion (pocket change for Biden, but still).

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And there’s a human cost as well… In the past two decades, more than 100,000 people are dead and 70,000 missing due to Mexican drug trafficking.

The narco element has further complicated the already messy U.S.-Mexico relationship in the last few decades, overlapping with Clinton’s NAFTA, George W.’s tightening of the border post-9/11, and Trump’s unfinished efforts of The Wall.

And now, this nuanced border history has arrived at Biden’s (or Kamala’s) feet.

Death and Darkness at the Rio Grande

The scant media coverage of what’s happening has tried to avoid focusing on the record-breaking number of illegal crossings underway daily.

Journalists portray the situation as desperate women and children rushing to our border in order to seek a better life. Now, no doubt, that’s a part of the equation… There have never been more unaccompanied migrant children showing up at the border, or taken into U.S. custody.

There are also record numbers of family units – at least one adult with a dependent child – surrendering to the Border Patrol. It’s a tidal wave of humanitarian need that’s swamping the enormous federal resources that have already been devoted to the problem.

But there’s another critical piece of the crisis that gets largely overlooked: the endless loads of narcotics that are transiting the southern border every day. These drugs – mostly cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and fentanyl – end up in cities and towns across America. According to the CDC, America had more than 80,000 fatal drug overdoses in 2020… this nation’s highest ever.

It’s the enormously profitable illegal drug trade that is behind this surge of death… The opioids that are the primary culprit in fatal overdoses are often made in large laboratories in Mexico and southern areas controlled by the cartels. Here in the states, gangs fighting turf wars over distribution of these drugs has lead to so many fatal shootings in urban centers with high crime rates like Chicago, Baltimore, and Detroit.

And that takes me back to the rafts of illegal immigrants that I watched crossing the Rio Grande river…

The cartels orchestrate all the unlawful cross-border activity from the Mexican side. Nobody crosses without paying fees for transiting the cartel “plaza,” their term for territories under their control. They even distribute wristbands to all migrants, including children, so they can prove that the cartels have gotten their payoff.

The migrant children and family units are an enormous drain on Border Patrol resources. At any given time, the Border Patrol estimates that it has to take 40% of its agents away from security missions to focus on the humanitarian one. Instead of stopping drug shipments or preventing illegal alien adult males from crossing, Border Patrol agents are changing diapers and filling out mountains of paperwork.

Cartels know this and take full advantage of it… They spread out the migrants along the border and have them cross at night because it makes it harder to observe (and stop) their other illegal smuggling activities.

While our Border Patrol and other law enforcement agencies are taking custody of shivering children who the cartel delivers – often terrified by their journey – into American hands, the drug lords of Mexico are running their poison through the gaps in our security. It’s a very effective system they have.

The Biden administration is entirely ill-equipped to handle this… And even if they had the know-how, they don’t have the political will. Vice President Harris is the “border czar” who so far has refused to go to the border. They’re hoping the media will continue to cover for them and ignore this catastrophe, at least until after the midterm elections. Then the solution offered will be amnesty.

In the meantime, the flood of illegality and lawlessness at our southern border will only get worse, and people on both sides of it will suffer.

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Buck Sexton
Executive Editor, American Consequences
With Editorial Staff
May 7, 2021

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