Democrats' border message translates to ‘no big deal’ to victims

Democrats' border message translates to ‘no big deal’ to victims
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Well, thank you Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump's intraparty feuds divide Republicans House leaders need to modernize Congress for the sake of America 4 in 5 Americans say they support net neutrality: poll MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis Schumer4 in 5 Americans say they support net neutrality: poll GOP senator: Trump's criticism of McCain 'deplorable' Schumer to introduce bill naming Senate office building after McCain amid Trump uproar MORE (D-N.Y.) for a few days of a comic meme-fest. Your ride-sharing podium and funereal demeanor provided a haunting close encounter that even Steven Spielberg might envy.

Unfortunately for you, most of your messaging was swallowed up while the nation giggled over imagery. If there were good points that you made, you may want to try again. However, there was one point you both shoved forward that is now cutting through the mirth, thanks to the media adding it to the echo chamber. And it’s not so funny.

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For a while you appeared to focus on, alternately, the efficacy and morality of a border wall. Fair enough. There’s room for intellectual engagement from both perspectives.

However, in your rebuttal to the president’s address last Tuesday you seemed to pivot to a new tack. Now you both claim that the president is “manufacturing a crisis” around illegal immigration. Congratulations. If there is a box with Pandora’s name on it for the left, you just found it and opened it. You just undercut any of your party members who would like to move away from the traditional perception that Democrats are soft on crime and more sympathetic to criminal than victim.  

You have given the law enforcement community a straw man to react to and point out realities that no one wants to talk about otherwise. You have re-victimized the thousand or so families who have lost loved ones to the violent actions of a person here illegally, or the hundreds of thousands of victims of other crimes committed by illegal trespassers in American communities.  The term “manufactured crisis” translates to “no big deal.” That’s what you just told all these victims.  

Our borders — as currently “secured” — have been unable to keep out devastating drugs that are killing our citizens in record numbers year over year. Iran and North Korea would relish claiming one-tenth of the American deaths that Mexico is enabling as an originator and conduit of the biochemically-based weapons of mass destruction that meth, heroin and cocaine truly are.  

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Heroin from Mexico alone in 2017 killed five times the number lost on 9/11, for which we spent nearly 7,000 more young lives overseas and more than $1 trillion. Here on our southern border, we have a slow but very real terrorism attacking our country. You don’t see this as a crisis, however. You don’t picture the cartels as purveyors of terror and death. And why should you? It doesn’t affect you. That’s why it seems “manufactured” to you.

Your cynically-dismissive term touches on the “Dirty Little Secret” that law enforcement professionals have recognized for years but that doesn’t get play in elite circles. A lot of crime in this country is tolerated simply because it does not lap up on the shores of those in power.  

Each year, around 15,000 Americans are murdered and another 1.5 million suffer serious assaults such as rape. Most of these victims are clustered in lower socioeconomic strata. Is this misery acceptable? Apparently so, since it is tolerated year after year by those charged with protecting us, with little discussion or increased resources to help reduce it.  

What do you think would happen if those victim demographics suddenly shifted into more well-to-do communities, business districts and exclusive associations and groups?  “Crisis” likely would be an inadequate descriptor. Budget disputes and shutdowns? Yeah, right.

Most politicians come across as detached from the suffering of common people. You have been blessed and spared the suffering that is a daily threat to many Americans.  It doesn’t come before your eyes in the neighborhoods you are able to live in. Your callous words indicate you are unable to see what’s around you.

You, who are supposed to protect us before you do anything else, seem to be losing your ability to see a true crisis of violent victimization, of massive drug death, of genocidal cartels that scrape the humanity from desperate poor.  

Getting across the largely unprotected southern border is now, largely, a cartel racket. This is what we’ve enabled. Meager family fortunes of the impoverished are funneled to the wealthy cartel traffickers along with, in many cases, an added sexual access tax levied on women and girls. Clearly not a crisis by your standards.   

The American people are generous and compassionate despite the best efforts of the political class to pit us against one another with exaggerated prejudices and phobias they can exploit for selfish political gain and power. We actually live with diversity in our communities while you fixate on imaginary differences from your protected enclaves. Our hearts go out to families living in failed states and facing danger every day.  

We would like to create legitimate, safe pathways for the deserving. Unsecured borders create harsh, exploitative environments for the innocent, and unjust access for the truly dangerous. Better security will mean better justice for all: Those who seek a better life and those who deserve protection from preventable evil.  

Listen to the law enforcement community. They will help fix your gaze on the miserable cost of our weak borders that they deal with every day — a tragic cost that has been manufactured by your consistent inaction. Your indifference has manufactured painful loss in hundreds of families; it has manufactured terrible assaults on women and girls seeking a better life; it has manufactured the devastation of working-class communities from weaponized drugs. But none of this touches your lives. This leaves you free to keep pursuing your lust for political power and downplay anything that gets in the way of that goal.  

You think it’s not being noticed, but it is. You’ve manufactured very real misery — a crisis actually. It’s not funny at all.

Kevin R. Brock, former assistant director of intelligence for the FBI, was an FBI special agent for 24 years and principal deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). He is a founder and principal of NewStreet Global Solutions, which consults with private companies and public-safety agencies on strategic mission technologies.