Mexican police officers were arrested last week and charged in the killing of more than a dozen Guatemalan migrants on the way to the United States.

Their bodies were shot and burned near the U.S. border in a violence-riddled corridor frequently used by smugglers.

Such tragedies are not uncommon. Mexican police particularly at the state and local level have often been accused of exploiting and killing migrants. Criminal organizations routinely prey on vulnerable people who are smuggled through violent and cartel-controlled areas.

The left often paints amnesty as a humanitarian act, but clearly, the facts paint a darker reality. Promises of mass legalization and weakened enforcement lead to these tragedies.

But pushing amnesty and permitting catch-and-release in the middle of a pandemic will lead to far greater human misery with the spread of COVID-19.

Migrant caravans transiting through the region operate as mobile, active petri dishes. As thousands travel by land, and often in confined spaces, cases are bound to rise.

While regional governments—El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, as well as Mexico—are now demanding negative COVID-19 tests, such measures are futile. Massive numbers of would-be illegal immigrants easily overpower border officials and enter unlawfully by both sneaking through and in between points of entry.

The Northern Triangle of Central America is still reeling from the pandemic and a vaccine campaign is years away. Mexico is registering the world’s third-highest COVID-19 death rates, though official numbers are inaccurately low, as testing is limited.

For comparison, the U.S.’ national positivity rate is 9.7%, but in Mexico it is roughly 40% to 50%. Making matters worse, Mexico could be home to a new strain of COVID-19.

A massive border crisis is at hand, and the Biden administration is adding fuel to the fire. Daily, more than 3,500 illegal immigrants cross into the U.S. That figure would be closer to 4,500 if it included the individuals expelled and those who evaded apprehension.

Just for context, Jeh Johnson, former President Barack Obama’s Department of Homeland Security secretary, said 1,000 daily apprehensions overwhelm the system.

In spite of these facts and the public health risks, the Biden administration is pushing its amnesty agenda forward.

It is systematically removing the tools needed to effectively address illegal immigration with no policy in its place besides telling migrants “now is not the time.”

By reducing border security, stopping deportations, and promising legalization, the Biden administration encourages illegal immigration. With catch-and-release back in play as well, U.S. policies are a stronger recruiting tool for human smugglers and traffickers.  

Right now, Title 42 is keeping a worsening crisis at bay, but not for long. That public health order enables Customs and Border Protection to rapidly return illegal immigrants to Mexico. Yet the Mexican government has stopped accepting some families along various parts of the southwest border when they are expelled from the U.S.

The weakening of Title 42 poses serious public health concerns for the U.S.

Would-be migrants are often kept in overcrowded and unsanitary “stash houses,” on both sides of the Mexico-U.S. border, for days and weeks. They are also often tightly cramped into tractor-trailers as they are smuggled across the border.

Once they reach the U.S., they are clear public health risks to front-line personnel. Customs and Border Protection has registered more than 6,708 positive cases, and 23 officers have died in the line of duty. To date, there is no plan in place to test the migrants once they arrive before releasing them into the U.S.

Nor is there a plan to examine for fraudulent family units engaged in child trafficking. Smugglers and human traffickers have long exploited our laws and know that kids are a rapid “get out of detention” card.

During a two-month DNA-testing pilot program in El Paso and McAllen, Texas, in 2019, upward of 20% of families tested were fakes.

The DHS found children were repeatedly “rented” by smugglers to cross the border with nonrelative adults. In one case, a 51-year-old Honduran man was apprehended while trying to cross into Texas via the Rio Grande River carrying a 6-month-old baby. He purchased the infant in Guatemala for upward of $80.

Open-borders advocates radically overhauling our immigration system are endangering lives throughout the region and at home. President Joe Biden’s self-inflicted border crisis will reaffirm how necessary the Trump administration’s immigration policies were.

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