(The Center Square) – President Joe Biden issued an executive order authorizing active-duty armed forces reservists to be called up to address “international drug trafficking” at the southern border. He did so ahead of the public health authority Title 42 ending in less than two weeks, on May 11.
Biden issued the order under the National Emergencies Act and in furtherance of an executive order he issued on Dec. 15, 2021, “Imposing Sanctions on Foreign Persons Involved in the Global Illicit Drug Trade.” That executive order “declared a national emergency to address the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States posed by international drug trafficking.”
The latest executive order, issued Thursday, authorizes the Defense Secretary “to respond to the national emergency.” It directs the secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force to call up active-duty reservists who would likely be sent to the southern border. The order also authorizes the Department of Homeland Security Secretary to direct the Coast Guard to call up active-duty reservists.
In a subsequent letter to Congress, Biden wrote, effective April 27, he was “authorizing the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security to order to active duty such units and individual members of the Ready Reserve under the jurisdiction of the Secretary concerned” as each “considers necessary.”
Calling up the reserves “will ensure the Department of Defense can properly sustain its support of the Department of Homeland Security concerning international drug trafficking along the Southwest Border,” he wrote.
He did so two years after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott directed Texas Army and Air National Guard to the southern border through the state’s border security mission, Operation Lone Star, which launched in March 2021. Texas has taken the lead on securing the border, doing the job the federal government has refused to do, Abbott maintains.
Title 42 is a Trump-era policy that allowed Border Patrol to return illegal border crossers to Mexico during the COVI-19 pandemic.
Biden’s December 2021 order authorized the Treasury Secretary to impose sanctions on foreign individuals and entities involved in the global trafficking of illicit drugs, including fentanyl. In it, he wrote that the trafficking of illicit drugs, including fentanyl and other synthetic opioids, “is causing the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans annually, as well as countless more non-fatal overdoses with their own tragic human toll.”
The order doesn’t identify the origin of the fentanyl crisis stemming from Mexico and Mexican cartels. It states, “Drug cartels, transnational criminal organizations, and their facilitators are the primary sources of illicit drugs and precursor chemicals that fuel the current opioid epidemic, as well as drug-related violence that harms our communities.”
Biden issued the orders after Abbott repeatedly called on him to designate Mexican drug cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations, something the Texas governor did through executive order last September. Abbott also has sent eight letters to the president related to border security and has still received no response.
Since March 2021, Texas Operation Lone Star officers have seized more than 382 million lethal doses of fentanyl, enough to kill more than everyone in the United States. This excludes the volume of fentanyl seized by U.S. Border Patrol agents, Drug Enforcement Agency and other federal and state law enforcement agencies that’s enough to kill the entire U.S. population multiple times over.
OLS law enforcement officers have also apprehended more than 367,000 illegal foreign nationals and made more than 27,000 criminal arrests, with over 25,000 felony charges reported, as of April 21, according to the governor’s office.
Since Biden’s been in office, well over 6 million foreign nationals have been apprehended or reported evading capture at the southern and northern borders, with both borders reporting record numbers of apprehensions and gotaways. Gotaways are foreign nationals who don’t arrive at ports of entry, don’t file asylum or other immigration claims, and illegally enter the U.S. intentionally attempting to evade capture by law enforcement. The majority aren’t caught, and law enforcement officials have no idea who or where they are.
It’s the gotaways that law enforcement officers have expressed concerns about, describing them mostly as single military age men. They are described as illegally entering the U.S. between ports of entry carrying fentanyl and other drugs in backpacks and trafficking women and children.
While several Democrats in Washington, D.C., have claimed that 90% of fentanyl being trafficked across the southern border is seized at ports of entry, Border Patrol agents and state and local law enforcement fentanyl seizures between ports of entry or several hundred miles from the border disprove this claim. In the southern border states of California, Arizona and Texas, law enforcement officers in single operations nowhere near ports of entry or the border have seized enough fentanyl, methamphetamine and other drugs to kill entire towns, regions and state populations.
By Bethany Blankley | The Center Square contributor