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VIEWPOINT: Open border costing South Dakota millions
Guest column by Sheriff Fred A. Lamphere
My first trip to the southwestern border was at the end of the Obama administration when I also attended a ranchers forum. At that point I had a clear understanding of what illegal border crossing can cost the U.S. – not only in the drug trade and human trafficking, but also in the lifestyles of the residents along the border. That experience was the first of many border visits, along with an understanding about American politics that, in a way, is very disturbing.
The Trump administration was making leaps and bounds in efforts to secure our border; not only in the physical structure of a border wall, but in policy to stop the flow of illegal crossing. I know that not everyone is a fan of Donald Trump, but he had a clear understanding of the effects of an unsecure border.
I was president of the Western States Sheriffs Association when the Biden administration took office. Since that time, millions of people have entered the U.S.; the federal government estimates those that have been processed to be between 6 and 7 million.
The alarming concern to all of us are the estimated one million “got-aways.” Got-aways are the people caught on camera or eluding capture. These people do not want the government to know they are in our country. This should awaken all our senses, especially with the recent attack on Israel. I personally feel we are as vulnerable to an inside terrorist attack as we have ever been. I also feel the next attack will be spread out across America to create fear and chaos to the citizens. I pray I am wrong about this.
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Right now, when an illegal alien is caught, they are turned over to the Border Patrol for processing, which includes feeding them, clothing them, issuing them prepaid credit cards and a bus or plane ticket to their desired destination in the U.S. So again, if that is the only consequence of getting caught, then why did those 1 million not want to get caught?
There are many NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organizations) that are assisting travel to these immigrants. They provide transportation to Central America from their Country; they then provide money to these immigrants to pay the Cartels out of Mexico to get them to the Border. A disturbing fact of this part of their journey to the U.S. is that 80 percent of the females are raped during the venture. It is so predictable that the United Nations Humanitarian Organization provides daypacks in various locations in Central America and other countries headed north.
These daypacks include condoms, disinfectant wipes, creams, and morning after pills. Family groups have been held at gunpoint while wives and daughters were raped. All these people are now in debt to the Cartels. They are raped and murdered along the way to instill fear and intimidation to the migrants.
Now for the drug issue, mainly Fentanyl. In 2014, 10.7 kilos of Fentanyl were seized in the U.S. Year to date in 2023, 27,000 pounds of Fentanyl has been seized, of which approximately 80 percent are in pill form, mostly disguised as Percocet tablets.
The concerning issue is the raw powder form of the drug. Fentanyl is the most powerful and lethal painkiller in our society right now. In the past two years, the U.S. has had over 100,000 Fentanyl overdoses each year, and 2023 is looking to be even higher,
The media kept a daily tally of Covid deaths; I am not sure why they won’t give a report about an illegal drug that is coming across an unsecured border and killing 300 Americans every day.
Texas Gov. Gregg Abbot started Operation Lone Star; this involves sheriffs offices, police departments, U.S. Border Patrol, National Guard and the Department of Homeland Security. They work as a Task Force and share information on Illegal Immigration, Human Trafficking and Drug Trafficking. The state of Texas has started a Border fence along areas that they can, and it assists in apprehending criminals transporting drugs and humans.
In summary, here are some of the things that South Dakota residents need to understand about the consequences of an unsecure border on our state. It is estimated that we have 9,000 illegal aliens in South Dakota and roughly 3,000 of their U.S. born children. Those households add 3,875 students to local schools. The average cost to South Dakota per illegal alien is $4,742.00 annually, that is $56.9 million, or $165.00 per household in South Dakota.
I would like to see our legislators bring an anti-sanctuary bill to the Capitol this next session. That bill, if carefully written, will help keep South Dakota from becoming a safe haven for illegal immigrants.
In closing, I spoke to many legal immigrants that live in the United States; this group is the group that is most offended by the inaction of the Biden Administration. They did it right and earned the right to be a proud American.
Butte County Sheriff Fred A. Lamphere has worked in law enforcement since 1989 and was first elected as county sheriff in 2002.