With a decided lack of support from the Obama administration, the underfunded Border Patrol deserves a great deal of respect. These officers have had their morale crippled by a president who refuses to follow the law and a leftist narrative that paints strict border enforcement as a tool of racist nationalism. That they can do their jobs at all is amazing given the circumstances.
But even if every Border Patrol agent was the living embodiment of Rambo, they can’t secure our country without the proper resources. Just look at the case of Efrain Delgado-Rosales, a 35-year-old Mexican who has made a career out of exploiting our soft immigration laws. Since 1999, Delgado-Rosales has been caught and deported 23 times. And on all of those occasions, he was found with several other illegal immigrants in his company. Delgado-Rosales has made a fortune over the years by charging Mexicans thousands of dollars for safe passage into the U.S.
That scheme came to an end last week when Delgado-Rosales, caught for the 24th time, was sentenced to five years in prison.
“This case serves as an example of the extreme dangers associated with crossing illegally into the United States. Smuggling activities are run by criminal organizations that have little concern over the welfare of their charges,” said U.S. attorney Laura Duffy. “Our office will aggressively prosecute those who smuggle illegal aliens into the United States for financial gain, place those in their company in grave danger and needlessly cause deaths.”
This time around, Delgado-Rosales was caught by Border Patrol agents in November as he trekked through the Otay Mountains with four illegals in tow. The four men with him told authorities that they had been robbed and left behind in the wilderness on their way into the country. For this treatment, they each paid the criminal $5,000.
Hopefully, Delgado-Rosales will serve out every last minute of his sentence before being deported back to Mexico. But this story is bigger than one opportunist. The distressing thing here isn’t this guy’s audacity but a system that has allowed him to get away with it for so long. Why did it take 24 times to put this guy in prison? Why not 10? Or 3? Or less? What would our illegal immigration problem look like if we started putting offenders in prison instead of sending them back?
Unfortunately, we’re going in the opposite direction. Half the time, we don’t even send these people back. We release them into the wild, never to be seen again. And meanwhile, we talk about granting amnesty to the 10-20 million illegal immigrants already in America, giving would-be fence-jumpers all the incentive they need to take their chances.
A wall alone won’t solve this problem. But a president who views illegal immigration with the gravity it deserves can do much better than the one we have now.