State needs a leader to secure our border from human, drug trafficking - Albuquerque Journal

State needs a leader to secure our border from human, drug trafficking

The Biden administration announced this month it will roll back Title 42 restrictions along the southern border. These restrictions were put in place during COVID and allowed Border Patrol to immediately return migrants back to their countries of origin. The rollback of Title 42 will mean these migrants will now be released into the United States to await asylum hearings years in the future for which they may never actually show. Human and drug traffickers are already promoting this, and it will undoubtedly lead to another huge flood of migrants into border states already overwhelmed by the failed policies of this administration.

Thanks to the federal government failing to do its job to secure the border, our state has become a superhighway for human trafficking and drug smuggling. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has been complicit in the failure. Unlike our neighboring states, Lujan Grisham removed the National Guard from the border and has stood silently by during the dereliction of duty of the Biden administration.

Fentanyl trafficked here from Mexico now causes one death each day in New Mexico. We see the effects of this dangerous drug on our city streets, where petty crime helps buy fentanyl pills and quickly evolves into more serious and violent crime.

New Mexico’s youngest residents are increasingly caught in the crossfire. In February, Ava Kersey, 14, was found unresponsive in her Albuquerque home and rushed to the hospital. She died two days later of a fentanyl overdose. In Carlsbad, Brent Sullivan, 12, died in his grandmother’s backyard. Yet another victim of the deadly drug.

Rolling back Title 42 restrictions with no alternative response to the border crisis is another massive mistake by the Biden administration. Our border communities are already in a very difficult spot. It’s long past time for Lujan Grisham to stand up for our state and demand the Biden administration engage the communities their policies are destroying.

The El Paso sector of the southern border, which includes all of New Mexico and portions of West Texas, is currently down 600 Border Patrol agents as it faces another likely surge of migrants in the coming weeks. The sector has already seen a 232% increase in apprehensions since 2020, and that could represent just the tip of the iceberg with the rollback of Title 42.

If elected governor, I will immediately enact a plan to step in with state resources where the federal government is clearly failing. If President Biden won’t secure the border, I will.

Our Border Plan will:

• Dispatch the New Mexico National Guard to the border to help with immediate staff shortages.

• Create a Border Strike Force of 150 officers under the New Mexico Department of Public Safety. The Strike Force will focus on the seizure of fentanyl and other illicit drugs. The Strike Force will also target human smuggling operations across the Southwest.

• Increase state investment in K-9 and drug interdiction units to help nonborder counties seize more illegal drugs as they pass through New Mexico. In addition, increase coordination with Arizona and Texas border security forces leading to a more effective border security apparatus between states.

• End sanctuary policies that allow illegal immigrants who commit crimes to avoid facing deportation.

When Lujan Grisham took office she immediately pulled the National Guard from the border. That, combined with the Biden administration’s open border policies, has left New Mexico at a crisis point. Sadly, Lujan Grisham has shown no interest in securing our southern border and keeping New Mexicans safe. I will change that. Our families deserve no less.

Learn more about the campaign at:

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