Not to make light of the deadly global coronavirus pandemic, but it has inadvertently engendered one rather serendipitous side effect for the United States: It’s led illegal border crossings to plummet to levels not seen since the Sept. 11 attacks.
“It’s like next to nothing,” an anonymous high-ranking border official said to the Washington Examiner. “For almost a week, their apprehensions have been under 150.”
“This is what happened on 9/11 — on steroids. Mexico has locked down a lot of their country … and then they [migrants] think if they come to the U.S., they’re going to catch the virus.”
To put this in perspective, in February border officials apprehended 30,000 illegal aliens, whereas in May of last year they apprehended a whopping 132,000 illegals.
— TheNewMovement.org (@TNMORG) April 29, 2019
Yet at the current rate of an estimated 150 apprehensions per week, border officials are slated to apprehend fewer than 1,000 by the end of the month.
While this is clearly great news for the nation as a whole, it’s not so great for those Americans employed with U.S. Border Patrol.
“The issue is what to do with everyone on the border since there’s no one to arrest,” a top Border Patrol official based out of Texas said. “They flushed out the academy, and they need places for them to go. People are on the payroll, and you have to have them start doing work.”
All this comes amid an effort by President Donald Trump to send even more troops to the border.
“The US military is deploying an additional 540 troops to the US-Mexico border to assist Border Patrol agents handling migrants who may be COVID-19 positive,” Business Insider reported last Thursday.
They will join the roughly 5,000 U.S. troops already stationed at the border.
“As the US deploys troops, hospital ships and other military assets across the US to combat the rapidly spreading COVID-19, Gen. Terrance O’Shaughnessy, the commander of US NORTHCOM told reporters Wednesday that there was also an ‘increased demand signal’ for support to help secure the southern border over COVID-19 concerns,” BI added.
Of course, it’s not clear whether their services are really needed, as border traffic is so low that some Border Patrol officials have reportedly been assigned to patrol beaches for shutdown scofflaws:
— Hallandale Beach PD (@HallandaleBchPD) March 28, 2020
The top Border Patrol official mentioned earlier reportedly said illegal crossings have dropped “tremendously” to “single-digit” numbers “per shift” versus the hundreds that used to occur only months earlier.
“It’s just more proof that it’s a trillion-dollar business model,” he said. “It’s all a business, and it’s going down just like any other business model right now.”
“The onslaught of the coronavirus has not only sent the global economy tumbling — it has also hit the black market where it hurts, and Mexican cartels are no exception,” BizPac Review reported last week.
“The outbreak of COVID-19 has sent the price of heroin, methamphetamines and fentanyl soaring, as the likes of the Sinaloa cartel – and its main rival, the Jalisco ‘New Generation’ – struggle to obtain the necessary chemicals to make the synthetic drugs, which typically come from China and are now in minimal supply.”
“The cartels have suffered from COVID-19 due to the inability to get the regular shipments of synthetic opioids and precursor chemicals for the massive production of meth from China,” former DEA official Derek Maltz said.
“The cartels have continued their production at a slower rate, but the demand seems to be increasing during these times of uncertainty in America. The shutdown of cities in China and travel in and out of China have also negatively impacted the flow of chemicals and drugs to Mexico.”
And less supply means fewer drugs to illegally transport across the border. It also means less profit — a lot less profit, to be exact.
However, the drop likely also stems from the Trump administration’s tough policies, including its immediate deportation of all border crossers — a successful policy that’s raised the ire of left-wing activists:
Deported amid coronavirus: US sends Guatemalan family home to face new threat https://t.co/IYcv099O1P
— Guardian US (@GuardianUS) April 2, 2020
Trump has used emergency powers during the pandemic to implement the kind of strict enforcement regime at the US-Mexico border he has long wanted, suspending laws that protect minors and asylum seekers so they can be deported or turned away immediately. https://t.co/ybqE2zQd9p
— Rosental (@Rosental) April 3, 2020
Disturbing news: As the world confronts #coronavirus, unacccompanied migrant children are being deported without due process.
— UNICEF USA (@UNICEFUSA) March 31, 2020
Despite the drops in border crossings, the Trump administration remains wary.
“As governments and nations focus on the coronavirus, there’s a growing threat that cartels, criminals, terrorists, and other malign actors will try to exploit the situation for their own gain. And we must not let that happen. We will never let that happen,” the president announced during a briefing last Wednesday.
“Today, the United States is launching enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere to protect the American people from the deadly scourge of illegal narcotics. We must not let the drug cartels exploit the pandemic to threaten American lives.”
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