Biden ‘Outsourced Our Immigration Policy to Criminal Cartels’: Sen. Cornyn

At least 108,000 Americans died last year from drugs coming across the southwestern border, the Texas lawmaker said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
Biden ‘Outsourced Our Immigration Policy to Criminal Cartels’: Sen. Cornyn
Suspected Mexican cartel members drive SUVs containing dozens of illegal immigrants to an open gap in the U.S. border wall near Jacumba, Calif., on Dec 6, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Naveen Athrappully

Sen. John Cornyn accused the Biden administration of allowing criminals to take control of the southern border, triggering a drug crisis in the United States.

“The Biden administration has outsourced our immigration policy to criminal cartels for at least the last three years,” the Texas Republican said during a May 8 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

“Nine million illegal entries into the United States since the Biden administration took over, 108,000 dead Americans last year because of drugs that come across the southwestern border. The criminal organizations that move millions of people across know they’re overwhelming our capacity to deal with it.

“And so when the border patrol is off the front lines, that’s when the drugs come across, including fentanyl that killed 71,000 Americans last year alone.”

In 2023 the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) seized a “record” 79.5 million fentanyl pills and almost 12,000 pounds of fentanyl powder, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there were 105,384 overdose deaths in the United States as of November 2023. Deaths from synthetic opioids during this period, including fentanyl, came in at 73,097.
Most of the illicit fentanyl in the United States is manufactured in Mexico from materials bought from China. The DEA says that 97 percent of illicit fentanyl in the United States originates from entities operating in China.

An April House committee report accused China of fueling the fentanyl crisis in the United States.

China “directly subsidizes the manufacturing and export of illicit fentanyl materials and other synthetic narcotics through tax rebates,” the report said. Beijing even gives “monetary grants and awards to companies openly trafficking” such drugs.

“The fentanyl crisis has helped CCP [Chinese Communist Party)-tied Chinese organized criminal groups become the world’s premier money launderers, enriched the PRC’s chemical industry, and had a devastating impact on Americans.”

In November, President Biden met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and resumed “bilateral cooperation on counternarcotics, with a focus on reducing the flow of precursor chemicals fueling illicit fentanyl and synthetic drug trafficking.”

Beijing “is now taking law enforcement action against illicit precursor suppliers, has issued a notice to industry warning Chinese companies against illicit trade in precursor chemicals and pill presses equipment, and has committed to restart key law enforcement cooperation,” said the White House.

While the Biden administration and Mexico reportedly are cooperating on countering the illicit fentanyl trade, there are challenges to the relationship. Some members of the Mexican cabinet allegedly have ties with the drug cartels, which has triggered tensions between the two nations.

In February, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador warned that cooperation with the United States on drug trafficking will suffer if American media continue to suggest that his presidential campaign received funds from drug dealers.

If Mexico ends the bilateral cooperation, the flow of fentanyl into the United States is estimated to grow significantly.

CBP Action Against Fentanyl

According to a 2022 post by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Mexican cartels smuggle drugs into the United States through secret underground tunnels, flying them over the border through drones or other aircraft, and hiding the drugs in vehicles and maritime vessels.

After traffickers smuggle in large quantities, street gangs take over the distribution, selling it throughout U.S. cities.

Most of the interdicted, illicit drugs are seized at the over 300 official ports of entry, CFR said. Some of the major drug trafficking cartels are the Sinaloa Cartel, Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), Los Zetas, Guerreros Unidos (GU), and Juarez Cartel.

Many cartels have strongholds near the U.S.—Mexico border. For instance, the Sinaloa Cartel is highly active on the northwest Pacific coast and near Mexico’s northern border, while the Juarez Cartel’s stronghold is in Chihuahua, across the border from Texas and New Mexico.

In addition to fentanyl, the cartels also smuggle in cocaine, marijuana, heroin, and methamphetamine. In fiscal year 2023, CBP apprehended 639 gang members nationwide. So far this fiscal year, the agency has apprehended 248 individuals.
The cartels also engage in human smuggling. In an October 2023 interview with The Epoch Times, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said that Mexican drug cartels made around $500 million from human trafficking in 2018, which jumped to more than $13 billion in 2022.
Last month, the CBP announced that it would lead an “expanded, multi-agency effort to target the transnational criminals funneling fentanyl from Mexico into American communities.”

Named “Operation Plaza Spike,” it targets cartels that facilitate the flow of fentanyl as well as precursors, analogs, and tools used to make the opioids. The plan is to disrupt operations at “plazas,” referring to territories south of the United States which are “natural logistical chokepoints within the cartels’ operations.”

“So long as fentanyl and other illicit opioids wreak tragedy across American communities, the men and women of the Department of Homeland Security will remain unrelenting in their work stopping these deadly drugs from hitting our streets and taking lives,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas.

“Operation Plaza Spike is a critical step in our ongoing whole-of-Department campaign to directly attack the transnational criminal organizations that peddle narcotics, death, and destruction for profit. We are sparing no effort to dismantle cartels and ensure everyone from kingpins to plaza bosses are brought to justice.”

Under the operation, CBP intends to seize illicit proceeds from drug sales and scrutinize related cross-border trade and business entities.

In a recent letter to President Biden, 15 Democrats urged him to take swift action against the fentanyl crisis facing America. “Communities across the country are grappling with the fentanyl crisis,” they wrote.

“We urge you to use all tools at your disposal, including executive action, to better address security at the Southern border, interdict illicit fentanyl, and allow for orderly legal immigration.”