Biden, Immigration, and Fentanyl: Republicans’ Strange Version of “Logic”

“Arrests at the southern border will set new records this year,” Joe Walsh reports at Forbes. “Border Patrol apprehended 1.998 million people at the U.S.-Mexico border from October to August, already blowing past the 1.659 million arrested in all of fiscal year 2021, which was the agency’s busiest year on record.”

Republicans have noticed, but their response is, well, a bit odd.

US Senator John Thune (R-SD) blames Joe Biden’s “de facto open border policies.”

US Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) blames Biden’s “amnesty agenda and open border policies” not only for “record-breaking illegal [sic] immigration” but for a supposed “fentanyl crisis.”

In what universe does “more arrests than ever before” translate to “open border policies?” And how does the seizure of “9,962 thousand pounds” (I don’t know if that’s a typo or if Scott really means 9.9 million pounds) of fentanyl translate to an “unchecked deluge of drugs pouring into the United States?”

Our mutual friend Bob doesn’t drink, and I can prove it — see that trash can full of empty bourbon bottles on his back porch? Airtight case! High-quality deductive sleuthing on my part. You’re welcome.

Look, I get it: Republicans are miffed that after trying to out-Democrat the Democrats on immigration authoritarianism for 20 years,  finally nominating life-long Democrat Donald Trump as a “Republican” for president in 2016 to get the job done, they STILL lag Barack Obama and Joe Biden on pretty much every “immigration enforcement” metric.

But the immigration and fentanyl “crises” aren’t due to insufficiently vigorous enforcement.  People are going to travel, and use drugs, no matter how much effort the state puts into trying to  stop them and no matter how many are arrested.

The notional “fentanyl crisis” comes down to fentanyl being more powerful than other opioids and therefore easier to smuggle — because smaller quantities are needed — past US drug enforcers.

Scott’s solution isn’t to endorse ending the disastrous war on drugs. Instead, he’s introduced no fewer than three bills to step up the very “drug enforcement” that makes fentanyl an attractive alternative to traditional, less dangerous, opioids.

Our choice isn’t between “secure borders” and a “drug-free America” on one hand, or “open borders” and a “fentanyl crisis” on the other.

Our choice is between open borders and legal drug use on one hand, or open borders and illegal drug use, plus an expensive and overbearing police state on the other.

Politicians — Republican and Democrat alike — clearly prefer the latter.

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism ( He lives and works in north central Florida.