This week, President Joe Biden and the Democrats will make one of the most far-reaching and consequential decisions for our nation. A decision that will, in my mind prove a detriment to us all and will undermine the very people they seek to help, the removal of Title 42 and the return of open borders.
I am an immigrant. I came to this country in search of opportunity in 2012 and I am proud to live here. My family is a mixture of Irish and Canadian immigrants. I would be a tremendous hypocrite if I was anti-all forms of immigration.
My issue is with illegal immigration, which undermines our communities, undermines our workers, undermines our ability to keep our public safe and does nothing to help genuine refugees.
In fact, all it does is increase human trafficking and the exploitation of people.
What I am against is opening our borders for a free-for-all, especially in the middle of a fentanyl drug crisis, a crisis that President Biden and the Democrats both nationally and locally are totally inept at solving.
Last week, all the tough bills proposed to deal with the fentanyl crisis crippling California did not get out of committee. All the weaker ones did.
Republicans have sensible solutions. Assembly Bill 367 to add sentencing enhancements for those who seriously injure or kill through fentanyl poisoning. AB 955 to increase penalties for dealers who sell fentanyl over social media (held for study). AB 1058 to increase penalties for those possessing a large amount of fentanyl.
Four Senate bills were shot down recently, too:
• Senate Bill 44 is a bipartisan measure requiring the courts to advise individuals convicted of fentanyl sales and manufacturing-related offenses that subsequent offenses could result in a charge of voluntary manslaughter or murder.
• SB 237 would increase penalties for any person who possesses fentanyl for sale or purchase for sale.
• SB 325 would add penalties of three, four, or five years of additional punishment for the buying, selling and transporting of “rainbow” fentanyl.
• SB 62 would add fentanyl to the list of controlled substances (currently heroin, cocaine base and cocaine) that are eligible for an additional prison term based on the volume of the controlled substance.
Simply establishing another task force isn’t going to cut it. Issuing a press release calling for a “big table” isn’t going to cut it. Calling for a “holistic solution” isn’t going to cut it.
As our state Sen. Scott Wilk says, “Fentanyl is pure poison, and it is now the leading cause of death for young people in the United States. The very least we should do is hold dealers accountable for their deadly actions. Standing back and doing nothing is frankly a slap in the face to victims and their families.”
Now on top of the damage done by Progressive Democrats in Sacramento, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are about to make everything 10 times worse.
Removing Title 42 without any replacement or plan to control our southern border is going to be a disaster of epic proportions. Vice President Harris was supposed to be the “Border Tsar” but has no idea, no plans, just more buzzwords on how to control the border and how to ensure we support legal immigration.
Thankfully, there are two splendid examples we can look at.
Florida has implemented e-verify as part of recent immigration measures. It is now a felony if you traffic an undocumented immigrant into Florida and hospitals are required to ask for your immigration status.
All of these are sensible measures. We should not be letting people be human trafficked and then be paid a pittance to work without any labor protections.
A Republican bill introduced in the House of Representatives would end catch-and-release and introduce a system of verifying migrants’ status before they could work in the U.S. The bill would restrict eligibility from migrants who have traveled through another country en route to the U.S. and had not first attempted to seek protection in the other country.
It would also require migrants to seek asylum at a designated port of entry, rather than after crossing the border at any point, and revise a standard used by asylum officers as they evaluate a migrant’s initial eligibility for asylum.
Again, sensible measures.
We have a choice ahead of us. We cannot as a country afford more of the same. Radical action is needed to secure our border, clamp down on illegal immigration, and to stop the fentanyl crisis.
Neil Fitzgerald is an international nonprofit leader having served in the U.S., U.K. and globally for various nonprofit and charity boards. He served as a conservative council member in the U.K. and as a campaign manager. “Right Here, Right Now” appears Saturdays and rotates among local Republicans.