The news of 53 dead migrants found in a refrigerator truck in San Antonio Tuesday was a painful reminder of my own experience investigating similar horror nearly 20 years ago.
I know what it’s like to stand in the back of a tractor trailer, with 19 dead migrants at my feet, including a 5-year-old boy who had suffocated to death in 170-degree heat. In a steel box. In total blackness.
A boy whose last words, according to one survivor, were, "Daddy, Daddy, I’m dying."
In 2003, I was flown to that crime scene in Victoria, Texas, and walked it as the first step of my investigation into a human smuggling bust. It changed me forever.
We ultimately arrested more than a dozen individuals responsible for the tragedy, sending one man to prison for life.
This tragedy is far worse.
The horror discovered on the side of the road in San Antonio is quite possibly the worst such tragedy in the history of this nation. I and others who have worked in border security and immigration enforcement for decades have been warning since President Joe Biden took office and undid President Donald Trump’s border security policies, that a tragedy like this was going to occur.
The increase in truck smuggling in recent months has been pronounced. Thanks to the Biden administration’s open-borders policies, especially the return of catch-and-release, the most vulnerable people in the world are putting themselves in the hands of criminal cartels to take advantage of what Biden, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and this administration have promised.
And the cartels have been happy to oblige, finding creative ways to increase their bottom line.
Illegal crossings continue to skyrocket, with an all-time monthly apprehension number near 240,000 last month. More than 800,000 individuals have evaded Border Patrol altogether and entered this country since Biden took office. More than 100,000 Americans died from drug overdoses last year, a historic number largely driven by fentanyl flowing across our southwest border.
And the migrants themselves are suffering and dying in record numbers. The number of migrants found dead on U.S. soil has hit a new high under the Biden administration—well over 700—but we rarely hear about that.
Most corporate media reported on every death and negative headline during the Trump administration. Far-left bomb-throwers like Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, and Ilhan Omar, D-MN, and others ran to the border for photo ops and blamed the Border Patrol for crises caused by left-wing judges who made it nearly impossible to enforce the law.
Now we have record deaths, and you almost never hear a word about it from most news outlets. And meanwhile, migrants continue to entrust themselves to the bloodthirsty animals who run the cartels, who have made record profits on smuggling people and drugs since Biden took office. To whom the lives of these migrants mean less than nothing once they’ve paid their smuggling fee.
For months, the Biden administration has lied to the American people about creating a "moral and humane" immigration system. How is any of this humane? How is any of this moral?
Biden’s and Mayorkas’s policies are responsible for this incredible suffering. Since day one, they have actively conspired to undo nearly every single Trump policy that gave us the most secure border in our lifetimes and brought illegal immigration to a 40-year low. And Thursday, the Supreme Court issued an unfortunate ruling greenlighting the Biden administration’s ending of the "Remain in Mexico" program—one of the most effective policies used by the Trump administration to secure the border.
The Biden administration must be held accountable for doing so. Mayorkas should be impeached by the next Congress once it is seated. Those involved in forcing these policies on the American people should be forced to testify to Congress on why they abandoned their oath and made this country less safe. And the president, at minimum, should acknowledge the crisis he has created, go to the border, and apologize to the Border Patrol agents he has thrown under the bus.
But ultimately, the most humane thing we can do is secure the border, stop catch-and-release, and reinstate the Trump-era policies. That will immediately decrease the crossings and the number of deaths. It will turn off the incentives to make the dangerous journey to the border, and it will rob the cartels of billions of dollars in ill-gotten profits.
This will not be the last such tragedy that we witness. Even with the best, most effective laws on the books, evil sometimes finds a way. But our leaders have an obligation to implement policies that give law enforcement the tools to fight and prevent it. To make it the exception, not the norm.
Sadly, Biden’s open-borders policies are making devastation and death the norm at our southern border.
This piece originally appeared in Fox News