In order to protect ourselves from the various means by which terrorists seek to harm Americans, we have implemented any number of security measures. For instance, when traveling domestically or internationally through the Transportation and Safety Administration checkpoints, citizens encounter measures designed to stop the importation of weapons of asymmetrical warfare. Such intrusions are permitted, however grudgingly, because Americans know there are terrorists and rogue regimes who firmly intend to find any means they can to kill Americans and harm our strategic interests.
The assumptions underlying these national security measures, especially those adopted after the heinous terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 are, first, that an administration will prioritize the protection of the American people against an enemy’s deadly dissemination of lethal pathogens and dirty weapons. Second, citizens will demand that an administration does so, because they do not want to be killed by smuggled biological or other sorts of weapons.
Are these assumptions still operative at a time when Americans have an administration that fails to do everything it can to secure the border; and fails to prevent smuggled fentanyl streaming across the border as millions of citizens do everything they can to obtain it?
For ideological reasons, the Biden Administration has prioritized open borders. Entering not through but between ports of entry that screen Americans, foreigners, and commercial goods (usually through truck traffic), illegal immigrants bring very little fentanyl into the country. The bulk of fentanyl is smuggled across the Mexico-U.S. land border by drug cartels through ports of entry. As reported by CBS News, “Mexican cartels and transnational criminal organizations producing synthetic opioids next door are now largely responsible for fentanyl production, according to the DEA.” (Communist China is also involved in smuggling fentanyl into the United States via air and collusion with the drug cartels.) Last year, 14,104 pounds of fentanyl were seized by authorities at these ports of entry. “At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, from 2019-2021, fentanyl seizures at ports of entry nationwide quadrupled.”
Yet, both illegal immigration and drug smuggling are border issues within the brief of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection. Consequently, resources expended on one crisis—illegal immigration—leave fewer resources fentanyl and other drug smuggling. Per CBS News:
But federal law enforcement concedes that the Department of Homeland Security is working with a ‘finite number of resources’ to tackle simultaneous challenges of record-breaking fentanyl trafficking and migrants seeking asylum in the United States.
‘If we have a group of 200 migrants turn themselves in, we of course have to process and transport them, etc.,’ one CBP official said. ‘When we’re doing that, we don’t necessarily know what’s going on the rest of the border.’
In interviews with CBS News, DHS officials expressed a greater need for resources, including personnel and technology enabling greater ‘situational awareness’ at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Thus, the Biden Administration’s patent ideological commitment to open borders and the ensuing response of hundreds of thousands of migrants who then embark upon a treacherous journey to reach the United States in pursuit of a better life depletes the resources available for fentanyl interdiction at ports of entry. Contrarily, an open commitment to actually enforce lawfully enacted U.S. statutes regarding immigration would help reduce both illegal immigration and fentanyl smuggling.
But just how big a reduction can any administration make in fentanyl smuggling? It is a question that is less affected by the drug cartels or even the communist Chinese regime than it is by the American people—specifically, those who create the demand for the smuggled importation of this century’s weapon of mass destruction.
CBS News recounts the grim statistics of a fentanyl pandemic that is steadily consuming a staggering host of lost souls:
Last year, the DEA seized enough fentanyl to kill every American—more than 50 million fentanyl-laced pills and over 10,000 pounds of fentanyl powder.
More than 70,000 people died of overdose from synthetic opioids alone in 2021, according to the CDC—a number representing two out of three of all fatal drug overdoses and more lives lost than the combined equivalent of U.S. military personnel killed during the wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
During the pandemic, from 2019-2021, annual deaths from fentanyl nearly doubled.
Along with the COVID-19 pandemic, overdose deaths have driven average life expectancy down in the U.S. over the past two years.
When any product is highly sought, the demand creates a market that will be serviced, regardless of the legal niceties or the lethal consequences. Those who crave this toxic substance for use and/or profit will do anything to get it; as a result, the fentanyl pandemic won’t be stemmed by merely preventing foreign drug cartels and the communist Chinese regime from smuggling the drug into America. Why? “Data from the U.S. Sentencing Commission shows that between 2017–2021, 86% of fentanyl trafficking offenders were American citizens . . . [C]artels routinely ‘utilize, organize and recruit American citizens’ to smuggle drugs into the U.S.”
The brutal truth, then, is that the importation of the weapon of mass destruction that is fentanyl, which is killing our fellow citizens and abetting our enemies, is a crisis of America’s making. The question is whether the fentanyl pandemic will also prove our undoing.
In his address to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield in 1838, Abraham Lincoln condemned the absence of self-government—namely, mob rule—and its deleterious effects upon the republic. His remarks are also apropos of the fentanyl pandemic:
At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.