Airlines that inadvertently bring illegal aliens to our country are fined heavily and required to bear the cost of repatriating the violator. So, airlines tend to be very diligent in ensuring that their passengers hold valid visas and other travel documents. That leaves two ways that illegal aliens can enter the United States covertly: By land or by sea.
The landward approach requires would-be illegals to traverse rugged, primarily undeveloped territory – most of which consists of deserts and mountainous terrain. The seaward approach demands that prospective migrants navigate treacherous waters. Accordingly, it is no surprise that many people die each year while attempting to enter the U.S. undetected. Many succumb to thirst, heat-stroke, hunger or injury. Many more are raped, killed or otherwise abused by the very criminals they pay to smuggle them over our border.
Fox News recently reported on the death of 13 migrants who drowned, in the same incident, while attempting to cross the Rio Grande. Another Fox report noted that there have been more than 200 migrant deaths just in the Del Rio Border Patrol sector. In June of this year, a report cited a total of 609 migrant deaths along the entire U.S. border. By some estimates, the year-end total could double, reaching as high as 1,300 lives lost. Meanwhile, a report from the University of Arizona’s Binational Migration Institute found that the Border Patrol chronically underestimates the number of migrants who become stranded in the desert and die alone.
In recognition of these dangers, the Border Patrol maintains the elite Border Patrol Search Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR) team, which is dedicated to finding, treating and rescuing aliens who are injured while making their way to the U.S. However, even if the entire Border Patrol abandoned its law enforcement duties and dedicated itself full-time to search and rescue missions, it still wouldn’t be able to save the majority of the aliens who die on their way to the U.S.
So, is the federal government doing anything to deter people willing to throw caution to the wind for a chance at life as a law-breaker on the U.S. side of the border? No, in fact, the Biden administration is doing the exact opposite. Even amidst record illegal immigration, it has doggedly insisted that the border is secure. And it has repeatedly taken actions that send a clear message to prospective immigration law-breakers that they will never face any form of punishment for violating America’s immigration laws. In short, Team Biden has rolled out the red carpet for illegal aliens – but it doesn’t seem to care that its lawless immigration policies are killing immigrants.
Compare the American approach to that of Australia: Back in 2014, Australia launched an ad campaign entitled “No way. You will not make Australia home.” It relied on posters showing a tiny ship on the storm-tossed Indian Ocean accompanied by warnings – written in 17 different languages – about the dangers associated with attempting to reach Australia by sea. The message was abundantly clear, as IrishCentral.com put it, “Don’t come to Australia, you’ll drown.”
The Australian government distributed these posters to media outlets throughout the relevant markets. And the immediate result was a drastic reduction in the number of asylum-seekers attempting to reach the Land Down Under by boat. In fact, the campaign was so successful, that it was followed by a series of YouTube videos that featured Australian border security officials delivering the same message. The Australian government continues to produce posters, videos and a government website reinforcing one simple message, “Australia’s borders are closed to illegal immigration. There is only one way to gain entry to Australia – with an Australian visa.”
Australia’s clever and effective multimedia messaging campaign wasn’t inspired by any form of racism. It was a compassionate response to the loss of human life that occurred when a number of refugee boats sank in 2012 and 2013.
If it wanted to, the United States could use its considerable, worldwide media influence to launch a similar program. Instead, while hiding behind a mask of false compassion and an unachievable fantasy of a borderless world, the Biden administration prefers to pursue policies that result in the unnecessary deaths of illegal aliens.
• Matt O’Brien is the director of research at the Immigration Reform Law Institute. He is a former Immigration Judge who was assigned to the Arlington Virginia Immigration Court.