Uvalde and the Collateral Damage of Loose Borders

By now most Americans have become familiar, through news reports or personal experience, with the most obvious consequences of not enforcing our borders. They include higher crime in our communities, more competition for jobs and social services, and the abandonment of our national sovereignty. Because our current leadership has chosen to implement unprecedented levels of permissiveness with illegal immigration, we are now seeing the collateral damage caused by this policy, and the astronomical costs we are paying for them.  

Authorities are still analyzing the conditions that led to the nightmarish school shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24. Like many similar incidents, there are a multitude of factors: the school’s safety procedures, law enforcement response to the incident, and the failure to recognize warning signs telegraphed by the shooter, among others.

But now, in a preliminary report on the incident, the Texas State House of Representatives has identified another, previously unreported factor. 

Since they have become ground zero in the Biden Administration’s immigration disaster, Texas border towns have seen increasing numbers of “bailouts.” This refers to incidents where law enforcement attempts to pull over vehicles suspected of human smuggling. The drivers will refuse to stop and speed away. The result is often a vehicle crash where driver and passengers “bail out” of the vehicle and flee to avoid arrest.

Such bailouts trigger security alerts at schools. According to the report, the frequency of bailouts—reportedly around 50 in Uvalde from February to May this year—ended up causing security alerts at schools to be treated like false alarms. This resulted in a “diminished sense of vigilance about responding to security alerts,” the report said.

Is the prevalence of bailouts in South Texas the sole reason for the tragedy in Uvalde? Of course not. But we must live with the reality that the law enforcement response to the security alert on May 24 would likely have been far more serious and intentional if our federal government had a serious approach to border enforcement. That advocates for current policies claim they are done out of compassion for children is sickening in light of the lost children of Robb Elementary.

Texas has also been the front line of another collateral issue of the border crisis, the influx of illegal aliens infected with COVID-19. In the final year of the Trump Administration, the COVID threat at the border was mitigated through a White House order using the Title 42 process to prevent aliens infected with COVID from entering.

Not only did Joe Biden’s advisers seek to rescind the Trump order, they are also fine sticking border states with the colossal healthcare price tag incurred by the spread of the virus and other health problems of illegal border crossers.

In a lawsuit brought against Biden by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, for which the Immigration Reform Law Institute serves as outside counsel, a case brief gives an idea of such costs.  

The most recent estimate of the bill for uncompensated medical care by state public hospital facilities to illegal aliens was in 2008, when Texas incurred a cost of over $718 million. Given the scope of the pandemic, the bills for each of the last two years will easily be north of $1 billion. Expect the free-spending Biden White House to be uncharacteristically tight-fisted when it comes to compensating Texas for the bad outcomes of policies hatched in Washington.

Other collateral damage from current border policy is the environmental impact of unchecked immigration. To those on the extreme Left, the environment is their raison d’etre, the cornerstone of all their big government goals. Yet they turn a blind eye to the fact that another one of their pet issues, rampant mass migration, is an increasing force for environmental regression.

Research shows that the carbon emissions of migrants from developing countries are four times greater once they come to the United States. One of the popular talking points of Climate Change, Inc. is that the United States has less than five percent of the world’s population, yet consumes about a quarter of the world’s fossil fuel resources. If that is true, then why do some of the same people support immigration policies that significantly increase American fuel consumption as well as its carbon footprint?

All of this exposes the utter dishonesty of the claim that illegal immigration is a “victimless crime.” This is a problem that breeds many levels of bad consequences, created intentionally by the toxic agenda of self-serving politicians, activists and media figures. We deserve, and must demand, much better.

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About Brian Lonergan

Brian Lonergan is an adjunct fellow of the Center for American Greatness and director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, and co-host of IRLI’s “No Border, No Country” podcast.

Photo: A group of migrants runs across a street after illegally crossing into the U.S. from Mexico on May 03, 2022 in La Joya, Texas. Brandon Bell/Getty Images

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