President Joe Biden authorized Defense Department officials on Thursday to deploy active duty and reserve soldiers to the U.S.-Mexico border amid an international drug trafficking crisis overwhelming the southern border and American communities.
Biden issued an executive order enclosed in a letter to Congress authorizing Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to “order to active duty units and individual members of the Ready Reserve … to ensure DOD can sustain its support of DHS concerning international drug trafficking along the southwest border.”
@POTUS authorizes @SECDEF and Homeland Security SEC “to order to active duty such units and individual members of the Ready Reserve to ensure” DoD can “properly sustain its support” of Homeland Security “concerning international drug trafficking along the Southwest Border.” pic.twitter.com/FZlBwfYWSO
— Howard Altman (@haltman) April 27, 2023
Since Biden took office over two years ago, lawmakers estimate up to six million illegal immigrants have crossed the southern border, which has drawn wide criticism from critics of the administration who argue drug cartels have taken advantage of Biden’s open border policies by smuggling deadly narcotics inside the U.S.
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Anne Milgram told Republican members of a House Appropriations Committee panel during a budget hearing on Thursday that authorities estimated more than 107,000 Americans died last year from violence and drug overdose at the hands of two major Mexican drug cartels — the Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation criminal organizations.
Milgram called both organizations “the greatest drug threat this country has ever faced.”
“The drug cartels responsible for bringing fentanyl into this country are ruthless and extremely violent criminal enterprises,” Milgram said. “They rely on a global supply chain to manufacture and distribute fentanyl, and they rely on a global illicit financial network to pocket billions of dollars.”
DEA officials mapped out the multi-faceted fentanyl crisis three years ago as the flow of the deadly opioid became more diverse compared to its start in 2014. According to the agency, Mexico and China are the primary sources, along with India, for fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances trafficked directly into the United States.
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Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador blamed “a lack of love” in American families for the deadly fentanyl crisis ravaging the U.S., saying the country does not produce fentanyl, calling the crisis America’s problem.
“Here, we do not produce fentanyl, and we do not have consumption of fentanyl,” López Obrador said, suggesting that the U.S. instead take care of its problem of “social decay.”
The State Department estimated that $154 billion in illicit funds pass through China annually, labeling the nation as a global hub of money laundering activity.
Health Care and Financial Services Subcommittee Chairwoman Lisa McClain (R-MI) said during a House oversight hearing on Wednesday that drug cartels and Chinese money laundering organizations have partnered together and created a system that uses Chinese banking apps and other popular Chinese encrypted communications technology, like WeChat.
“Prior to the rise of Chinese Money Laundering Organizations, cartels laundered their profits on the black-market peso exchange and had to wait at least a week before they received their ‘clean’ funds,” McClain said. “Now, Chinese Money Laundering Organizations have a system that ensures that cartels receive their profits within hours of handing over illicit drug funds to a courier.”
“Not only are these Chinese Money Laundering Organizations able to do this quickly and with incredible efficiency, they do it at a fraction of the cost that cartels were previously forced to pay,” she added.
Biden’s authorization of deploying soldiers to the southern border comes as his administration braces for another record surge of migration when the Title 42 COVID restrictions officially end May 11, which has blocked immigrants from crossing the U.S.-Mexico border more than 2.5 million times before the pandemic.
“We do anticipate a surge in the number of encounters,” Mayorkas told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Tuesday.
Estimates reported by media say internal projections show that arrivals could spike to between 10,000 and 13,000 per day next month.
DHS Secretary Mayorkas said the U.S. would establish regional processing centers for immigrants seeking entry to reduce the number of arrivals after the restrictions end.
“Our border is not open and will not be open after May 11,” Mayorkas said.
MAYORKAS: “Our border is not open and will not be open after May 11th.”
More than 6.3 million illegal immigrants have crossed the southern border since Biden took office. pic.twitter.com/7jAN8wyW9c
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) April 27, 2023