Last Updated on February 5, 2021
The new Biden administration border and immigration policy is already resulting in a massive tidal wave of illegal immigrant crossings into the United States, a migratory wave that Arizona law enforcement is calling “Obama 2.0.”
Local law enforcement officers in Arizona are once again on the front lines of an unavoidable border crisis thanks to President Biden’s reversal of key immigration and border security policies put into place by former-President Donald Trump.
Pinal County Chief Deputy Sheriff Matthew Thomas said they began to see an up-tick in illegal immigrant foot traffic in the late fall of 2020, even before Mr. Biden assumed the presidency.
Thomas attributed this influx to Mexican cartel chiefs understanding that the incoming Biden administration would have a more “hands-off” approach in dealing with the southwest border. The notion is so prevalent they have dubbed the effect “Obama 2.0” since they saw similar behavior under the Obama administration.
“When [Mr. Trump] took office, we saw that this area out here went completely dead. Nobody was moving, nobody was smuggling because [the cartels] knew that Trump was going to put all-hands-on-deck out down here and that they would be intercepted so it came to a screeching halt,” Thomas said. “It was a very slow trickle to get back to some kind of normal but it never got back to where it was.”
With Mr. Biden’s order to halt the completion of the border wall along the southern border of the United States, Thomas says a point of entry funnel has targeted his county and the prized I-8 interstate corridor, a corridor whose approach is nothing but desert.
“For us, effectively, I-8 becomes the new border and even the cartels will tell you that’s their goal line because once they get there, they’re shooting west or they’re shooting east and then they’re on a main interstate right into downtown Phoenix…[W]e become the kickoff point for that,” said Thomas.
Once legislators in the United States started passing laws that legalized marijuana the cartels switched to hard drugs, like fentanyl, because of the devaluation of marijuana crops. The hard drugs became less of a burden to transport and were not limited to specific growing seasons as with marijuana.
Thomas said his department saw a significant decline in human trafficking for a few years because the cartels were focusing on getting as many shipments of hard drugs into the United States as possible before the completion of the border wall.
Now, Thomas said, law enforcement in Pinal County is seeing a return to human smuggling in addition to the regular drug runs. Biden critics have described the border situation as a return to the Obama years, or “Obama 2.0.”