A photo of a skeleton laying in the Texas dirt flashed across the screen, followed by another, and another – all images of the remains of migrants who died from exhaustion or other causes after entering America illegally.
“[President] Joe Biden is responsible for more dead people on the Texas border than any time in the history of Texas,” Mike Vickers, founder of the Texas Border Volunteers, told a crowd at a pro-border security rally in Austin, Texas, Saturday.
During the “How Many More?” rally outside the Texas Capitol, Vickers, a veterinarian from Brooks County, about 180 miles south of San Antonio, spoke to the hundreds gathered. Vickers explained that 16 years ago, he and others in his community started the Texas Border Volunteers as they grew concerned about the number of illegal aliens, both dead and alive, being found on ranches and private property in the local community. The group conducts watches and deploys teams to private property to report illegal aliens trespassing to Border Patrol.
In 2022, the bodies of 91 illegal migrants were found in Brooks County, Vickers said, adding that in his county “under Biden, in two years, we’ve had over 200 dead bodies show up on private property.” In 2020, when President Donald Trump was in office, “we found only 32 bodies,” Vickers said.
About a dozen speakers took to the stage over the course of the three-hour rally aimed at bringing attention to the humanitarian crisis at the southern border and the scourge of fentanyl flooding across the border.
The Biden Administration Is Responsible
“The Biden administration, they’ve intentionally abdicated their constitutional responsibility to protect our nation’s border,” Mark Morgan, former acting Customs and Border Protection commissioner, said during Saturday’s rally.
Since Biden took office, CBP reports encountering about 5 million illegal aliens at the southern border, and since the start of fiscal year 2023, the agency has encountered a record 1.2 million illegal migrants. The Center for Immigration Studies estimates there have been 1.3 million “gotaways,” illegal aliens who have successfully evaded Border Patrol, since Biden took office.
“Drugs are pouring across the border,” said Morgan, who is also a visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation’s Border Security and Immigration Center. Among the “gotaways” and other illegal aliens, “we know that there are some bad people,” Morgan said, adding that it is “not hyperbole to say that we could have the next sleeper terrorist cell somewhere in the United States, planning the next terrorist attack, and we would have no idea because this administration has abandoned their constitutional responsibilities.” (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)
Morgan tore into Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, claiming the secretary views border security law merely as an “advisory opinion.”
Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution says the federal government “shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion.”
“Enough is enough,” Morgan said. “How many more Americans have to die? How many more migrants have to die? The time of talk is over. We’ve got to force politicians to stop playing this deadly political game, and I’m talking to both Republicans and Democrats,” Morgan said as the crowd cheered.
The former acting CBP commissioner added that the government needs to “go after the cartels with the same whole-of-government approach, level of commitment, resources and tenacity just like we do terrorist organizations.”
Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, told the crowd, “We are a compassionate country, but we are a sovereign county. We should export the rule of law rather than importing fentanyl and lawlessness and dangerous cartels.”
Fight Against ‘Narco-Terrorists’
Convention of States President Mark Meckler, who organized the rally, asked the crowd to consider “how many more families am I willing to see ripped apart by fentanyl deaths? What’s the number?”
Fentanyl is now the number one cause of death among adult Americans under the age of 50, according to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. In 2022, 107,375 people the U.S. died of drug overdoses or poisonings, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and “67 percent of those deaths involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl.”
CBP seized less than 5,000 pounds of fentanyl in fiscal year 2020. Already in fiscal year 2023, which began in October, CBP has seized nearly 14,000 pounds of fentanyl. That may not sound too consequential, but it is enough to kill millions, considering that just 2 milligrams of fentanyl can be lethal.
“We’re not just fighting Mexican drug cartels, we’re fighting the world’s most powerful and prolific narco-terrorists who happen to be based in Mexico,” Jeffrey Stamm, former Drug Enforcement Administration deputy chief of international operations, said during Saturday’s rally.
Stamm cited estimations that various Mexican cartels have a presence in over 3,000 U.S. cities and towns, going on to advocate for an education campaign to bring awareness to the harms drugs cause to individuals, families, and communities. Stamm also called on Americans to create a culture that helps and does not stigmatize those seeking to find freedom from addiction, but instead stigmatizes media that glamorizes drug use. A commitment to personal responsibility and support for local and state law enforcement, Stamm said, are also necessary to stop America’s drug epidemic.
For mother Virginia Krieger, co-president of the Lost Voices of Fentanyl, the issue of illicit drugs coming across the border is personal.
In 2015, Krieger’s daughter was offered a pill she believed to be a Percocet. The young woman had injured her back and took the pill in hopes of it easing her back pain. The pill was pure fentanyl, Krieger said, and it killed her daughter.
Because fentanyl, and the precursors to make fentanyl, are made in China, Krieger said “the greatest danger to our society today… is coming directly from China in collaboration with Mexico’s drug cartels.”
Lost Voices of Fentanyl represents more than 26,000 family members who have lost loved ones to fentanyl poisoning, Krieger explained.
The organization is calling on the government to name “fentanyl a weapon of mass destruction,” Krieger said, “so that we can free up federal resources to go after the purveyors of these deadly products.”
Call to Action
The rally aimed not only to draw attention to the crisis on the southern border that is affecting communities across America, but some speakers also called on the Texas legislature to pass a bill that would designate the Mexican cartels terrorist organizations and provide additional support and resources to secure the border by establishing a “Border Protection Unit” in Texas.
Meckler challenged all in attendance to call their elected leaders in Texas and demand they pass legislation to secure the border.
“We’re asking our legislature and our governor to start seizing the assets of these terrorist cartels,” Meckler said. “We’re asking our government to step into the breach, and no, we’re not just asking, but we’re demanding that.”
Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.