The situation at our southern border negatively affects the lives of illegal immigrants as well as U.S. citizens. Although residents of other countries always have faced challenges in their journey to become American citizens, the Biden administration’s policies have exacerbated human and drug trafficking.  

Migrants face several challenges on their trip to the U.S.-Mexico border. Since President Joe Biden took office Jan. 20, 2021, about 3,250 acts of violence against migrants, including kidnapping, have been reported in Mexican border cities.

Coahuila, Mexico’s northern state, is the last stop for Central American migrants before they attempt to cross the U.S. border unlawfully. By the time they get there, many men, women, and children have suffered assaults, robberies, and abductions at the hands of criminal gangs.

Some migrants are killed before they reach the southern U.S. border. Many organized crime groups see migrants as a revenue stream, according to the Migration Policy Institute. The lack of border security, created under the Biden administration’s misguided and dangerous policy decisions, has fueled human trafficking.

The Biden administration has terminated Migrant Protection Protocols with Mexico and Asylum Cooperative Agreements with the countries of northern Central America. It also has attempted to end Title 42 public health restrictions, imposed by the Trump administration in 2020 to allow quick deportation of illegal aliens during the COVID-19 pandemic and now set to be lifted Thursday.

Under the ended protocols, migrants seeking asylum at the southern border were returned to Mexico after making an asylum claim illegally or without the necessary documentation. Similarly, cooperative agreements allowed the U.S. to send asylum-seekers to neighboring countries or deny their applications if they hadn’t applied for asylum in other nations before reaching the U.S. border.

These U.S. policies stopped the caravans of illegal aliens coming to the U.S. because would-be migrants saw the Trump administration protect asylum integrity and apply consequences instead of allowing illegal immigrants into the U.S. by default each time an alien says a few words about fearing conditions in his homeland.    

With the Biden administration’s removal of consequences, the result was an increase in human trafficking. The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women estimates that 60% of Latin American children who intend to cross into the U.S. alone or with smugglers have been caught by the cartels and are abused in child pornography or drug trafficking.

Border agents also report that child rape is prevalent along their journey to the border. As just one such example, Border Patrol agents said they found two little girls, ages 5 and 3, wandering the Texas desert along the border. Both had been raped.

The exploitation of children is sickening. Smuggling organizations use it as leverage to achieve the release of these kids into the U.S. Incentivizing this type of behavior, which is what the Biden administration’s policies do, must end. 

Meanwhile, drug trafficking continues to increase across our border, directly affecting U.S. communities. Fentanyl seizures increased 203% from June 2022 to July 2022, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, identified fentanyl at our southern border as a primary driver of the serious increase in drug crimes in his state.

Border states aren’t the only ones affected by the influx of illegal immigrants. The Biden administration refused to add one of Idaho’s counties to the designated Oregon-Idaho High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, despite fentanyl’s persisting as the main avenue for drug-related deaths and overdoses.   

With these horrendous human rights violations occurring at our southern border, it is clear that support for border security is a pro-life position.

Proponents of a woman’s right to choose, including many so-called feminists, often claim that those who are pro-life care only about those in the womb. Pro-Choice America, for instance, claims that anti-abortion activists can’t call themselves “pro-life” when they’re “tearing babies away from their parents and locking them in cages, with no plan to reunite them.” 

Yet, when it comes to life-protecting immigration policy and the crisis at our southern border, these so-called feminists are noticeably absent, particularly those in elected office. In a recent interview, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, pointed out that Vice President Kamala Harris has yet to visit his state’s Rio Grande Valley even once, although it is the epicenter of this crisis.

Feminists, however, actually could aid women by recognizing the issue at stake and achieving better border policies. Caring about peoples’ lives means caring about how we can minimize the negative impacts of an open border and recognizing the life-threatening conditions encountered by immigrants as they attempt to cross our southern border unlawfully.  

Biden prides himself on being a practicing Catholic, but his policies on illegal immigration represent anything but a Catholic position. The Catholic Church recognizes that individuals migrate because they are desperate, and the opportunity for a safe and secure life doesn’t exist in their land.

As Americans, we should cherish and celebrate the contributions of immigrants and their cultures; however, we should work to make it unnecessary for people to leave their homeland. As Catholics, or those of other established religious faiths, we shouldn’t be welcoming the poor and vulnerable through greater illegal immigration until we first have secured the border and slowed the rates of human and drug trafficking.

Virtually unrestricted illegal immigration puts the poor and vulnerable at risk for such trafficking because they fear the risk of deportation. Many will do anything to avoid being sent back to the disorderly state of their home countries. Catholic social teaching is realistic: Although people have the right to move, no country has the duty to receive so many immigrants that its social and economic life is jeopardized. 

If Biden, along with those seeking to defend life at all stages, wanted to see true protection of lives, they would put an end to this horrible state of affairs. An open border incentivizes transnational crime and makes crimes against human rights easier to commit.

At the individual level, we need to realize that the Biden administration’s policies aren’t the best way to protect all lives. Instead, securing our nation’s borders is paramount to reducing harm to migrants and our own citizens alike.   

Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.

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