Senator Bernie Sanders came late to the Democrats’ open-borders party, but his lifelong penchant for extremism is allowing him to fit right in, even though it might be a put-on.
Bernie used to be strongly opposed to mass immigration, accurately pointing out that low-wage immigrants undercut the wages of American workers. Just as Bernie helped to drag the Democrat Party to the extreme left on economic issues, though, the Party has succeeded in getting Bernie to join its embrace of far-left immigration policies.
“We’re going to overturn everything Trump has done to demonize immigrants,” Sanders pledged in a tweet, explaining that he intends to end Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids, put “a moratorium on deportations,” “restore and expand DACA,” and “decriminalize and demilitarize the border.”
Each of these proposals would exacerbate the crisis on our southern border and make American communities less safe. As the first stop for many illegal immigrants, Texas would bear the brunt of this danger.
The promise to halt deportations, for instance, would compel the federal government to release thousands of criminal aliens into the U.S. interior, including convicted murderers and sex offenders. ICE arrests more than 6,000 violent criminals every single year. In December 2018, ICE held more than 6,100 convicted criminals designated as “Level 1” offenders, a category reserved for career criminals and those who commit particularly violent crimes such as murder and rape.
Of course, Sanders isn’t the only prominent Democrat candidate who has pledged to stop deporting people who break our laws. At a recent campaign event, Sen. Elizabeth Warren also revealed that she is “open to suspending deportations, particularly as a way to push Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.” What she’s talking about is amnesty, no two ways about it.
Even more worryingly for the State of Texas, a majority of the Democrats competing with Bernie for the nomination have also embraced the idea of “decriminalizing” the U.S.-Mexico border — essentially promising to tear up federal immigration law. This insanely reckless policy would leave Texas even more exposed to multinational drug organizations, human traffickers, and international terrorists, who would be able to use our border communities as veritable rest stops on their way to destinations throughout the country.
Not one of the 2020 Democrat candidates has meaningfully acknowledged the rampant violence in Mexico, which became the second-deadliest zone of armed conflict in the world in 2016. Some estimates suggest that the Mexican border town of Ciudad Juárez — which lies just across the Rio Grande from El Paso — has experienced nearly 8,500 deaths as a result of armed conflict since 2008.
That violence often spills over into Texas. Our local authorities frequently find dead migrants who have been abandoned by human smugglers on Texas ranches, or who have fallen prey to cartel-related violence.
Bernie and the other open-borders Democrats refuse to acknowledge this grim reality, and their obstinacy could end up costing Texas dearly.
Paul Perez is Executive Vice President of the National Border Patrol Council and US Navy Veteran.