Democratic policies, not Trump, bear responsibility for the increase in border deaths

Opinion by Zachary Faria

The Washington Post laments the death of migrants attempting to climb “President Trump’s border wall” in San Diego. While those deaths are indeed tragic, they aren’t the fault of former President Donald Trump: The blame lies with the Democratic policies that encourage migrants to cross the border illegally in the first place.

A U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent passes birdwatcher Nancy Hill, 81, along a section of the border wall Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016, in Hidago, Texas.
© Eric Gay/APDemocratic policies, not Trump, bear responsibility for the increase in border deaths

While the Washington Post also notes that migrants have died from drowning and exposure or disappeared in the Pacific Ocean during smuggling attempts, the deaths from migrants falling off the 30-foot wall are “different.” This wall is “a man-made obstacle that poses a lethal danger and public health challenge where one did not exist previously.” It would be better to just open the front door and let illegal immigrants file in safely.

Yet the Washington Post piece does indeed imply that this is the answer. “In locations where gaps remain in the barrier, injuries and deaths appear to be less frequent. But in border areas with new, continuous segments of 30-foot fencing … falling incidents have soared.” The blame for this would apparently belong to Trump, who increased the height of the San Diego section of 9- to 17-foot fencing to a more lethal 30 feet — lethal, that is, if you are foolish enough to try to climb it illegally.

The problem is not that migrants are choosing to risk falling from the top of a 30-foot wall — it’s that they and the smugglers bringing them to the border are incentivized to take this risk in the first place. Democrats fight against the enforcement of immigration law at every turn, and President Joe Biden and his administration have peeled back restrictions since entering office.

That is borne out by the very numbers the Washington Post cites. The trauma ward of one of the doctors interviewed treated 139 people who were injured falling off the border wall last year. In 2020, that same ward treated 41 fall victims. Given that border encounters have risen from 34,000 in March 2020 to 173,000 in March 2021 and then to 221,000 in March of this year under Biden, this isn’t a surprise. More border crossings mean more migrants putting themselves in danger, including by rappelling down a 30-foot barrier with the help of smugglers.

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By revoking the “Remain in Mexico” policy and lifting Title 42, as well as demonizing Border Patrol agents and criticizing Republicans for thinking that immigration law should be enforced, Biden has encouraged illegal immigration and even incentivized it by pushing for blanket amnesty for at least 6 million illegal immigrants. Migrants are putting their lives in danger because Biden and the Democratic Party are promising them they can stay — if only they find a way across the river or over the wall.

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