American border with Mexico. Illustrative image. Photo: EFE / Luis Torres

The crisis on the southern border of the United States continues to spiral out of control. The US Department of Customs and Border Protection recently announced a July record of 212,672 immigrants found.

The more than 1.3 million meetings so far in 2021 are a stark reminder that “free entry” into the country’s currencies continues unabated, incessantly.

The humanitarian crisis that this situation created has received a lot of attention, and in particular at the border itself. But the failure to ensure its security also deeply affects the United States.

Specifically, transnational criminal organizations took advantage of the chaos at the border and parts of it became a paved road with various smuggling and drug trafficking.

These cartels quickly profit from overloaded patrols. The Border Patrol acted valiantly in the face of the unprecedented increase in illegal immigration, but its resources were extremely scarce.

U.S. Customs and border protection resources are being used to address the migration crisis, leaving critical vulnerabilities elsewhere along the border.

The result has been an exponential growth in the capture of illicit drugs in the surrounding area, including the extremely dangerous cocaine, heroin and fentanyl.

NBC News recently reported that federal agents in El Paso have seen a 4,000% increase in seizures of fentanyl over the past three years. Federal agents have seized approximately 0.5 kg at ports of entry throughout 2018 and 18.6 kg so far in 2021 alone.

Fentanyl is a particularly dangerous drug. Just 2 milligrams can produce a lethal dose. It is increasingly incorporated into other illicit drugs, providing cartels with a cheap and powerful means of increasing drug production and financial gain.

Tragically, the incorporation of fentanyl into other illicit drugs has also contributed to the increase in overdose deaths. Unconscious users often ingest a lethal dose of fentanyl along with any other medication they intended to take.

The opioid crisis has affected hundreds of thousands of Americans in recent years, with tens of thousands of people dying of overdoses every year. While attention has already been paid to the role of opioid prescribing in the context of this crisis, the rise of illicit fentanyl and its harmful introduction into other illegal drugs – including methamphetamine, cocaine and fake drugs. pills – has become the real driver of this crisis. .

Although the number of overdose deaths involving prescription opioids has declined, it has been offset by a dramatic increase in overdose deaths from synthetic opioids, particularly fentanyl.

In recent years, illicit fentanyl and its precursors have increasingly been smuggled into the United States from China, most often via Mexico and eventually the southwest border. More recently, transnational criminal organizations in Mexico have started producing fentanyl and smuggling it directly into the United States.

This has resulted in a struggle for local communities – of all sizes and in all 50 states – to provide assistance and services to those affected by drug addiction.

A recent $ 26 billion deal between state attorneys general and pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson, along with three major US drug distributors, is expected to provide participating states and localities with the influx of financial resources needed to deal with the the crisis at the local level. But the scourge of opioid use will not abate until the crisis on the southwestern border of the United States is properly addressed.

The Biden government must take seriously its obligation to protect national security interests. This includes providing adequate resources to federal drug interdiction officers along the southwestern border of the United States.

Unfortunately, until that happens, we will likely continue to suffer the tragic consequences of this pernicious crisis.

Scott Erickson is the former Acting Team Leader of the US Department of Homeland Security and the former Senior Law Enforcement Advisor to the Secretary of Homeland Security.

© 2021 The Daily Signal. Posted with permission. Original in English.