“We’ve been hungry, cold, hot, but here we are chasing the American dream, for a better life for our family,” a migrant seeking to illegally enter the U.S. recently told CNN.
It’s an understandable instinct. All parents want a better life for their children. Over three billion people live on less than $6.85 a day. There can be no doubt that economic ruin across the developing world is spurring mass migration. And America, no matter what people say, remains a beacon of hope, freedom and opportunity for those in desperation.
We are the most generous country on Earth, admitting more than one million immigrants each year. But even America cannot open its doors to everyone.
For all the Biden administration’s talk of wanting to help stabilize poorer nations, the administration’s policies are doing just the opposite. (Katie McTiernan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images | Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images )
Yet for more than two years, “open doors” is exactly what the Biden administration has messaged to the outside world. When Joe Biden ran for president in 2020, he declared that he would welcome all people fleeing conflict and oppression. Illegal immigration at the southern border rose.
In short, human smuggling is now one of the most lucrative criminal enterprises on the planet, and our southern border is the coyote’s equivalent of a gold mine. The cartels, which already have decades of experience in trafficking drugs like cocaine, meth and fentanyl across our border, are seizing the moment.
Smuggling humans earned the cartels $500 million in 2018. Today, it earns them an annual $13 billion or more. That’s a nearly 3,000% revenue increase in five years – a thriving business by anyone’s standards.
For all the Biden administration’s talk of wanting to help stabilize poorer nations so their citizens don’t want to leave, the administration’s policies are doing just the opposite. Luring people away from their homes with political promises and fueling cartel industries are making things worse in Mexico, Guatemala and beyond. And yes, it is making things worse in the U.S. as well.
What kind of world do we want to leave to our children? One with an increasingly large and increasingly desperate pool of would-be migrants? Or one in which people do not feel the need to flee their communities for a better life elsewhere? The latter sounds a lot better than the former to me. But we will not reach it unless we secure the border and starve drug dealers and human traffickers of their largest source of cash.