While ignoring her own security concerns to stage a photo opp with her ideological border mercenaries, Governor Kristi Noem invokes the usual radical-right border bugaboos to justify her militaristic posturing, claiming that our National Guard will help stop human trafficking and illegal drugs that are flowing into America and South Dakota from Mexico.
However, the southern border is the source of hardly any human trafficking in the U.S.:
So our research shows that the trafficking problem in San Diego County is, by far, more local, domestic than it is across the border. In our study, we found 80% of the survivors, 450 survivors that we interviewed, were born and raised in the United States. And of those 20% that were born outside the United States, very few of them were actually trafficked across the border. We know that trafficking does happen across the border. Unfortunately, people conflate smuggling and trafficking all the time. Human trafficking is very specific to having been forced through fraud or coercion – been brought across the border, not by getting someone’s help to come across the border [Jamie Gates, Center for Justice and Reconciliation, Point Loma Nazarene University, interviewed by Sarah McCammon, “Human Trafficking and the Southern Border,” NPR: Weekend Edition Saturday, 2019.06.29].
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is a main driver of human trafficking in South Dakota. Rallygoers aren’t importing sex slaves from Mexico; they’re dragging them across the reservation borders right here in South Dakota. Will Noem dispatch soldiers to Sturgis next month to keep our own people safe from this scourge?
MARTIN: So, first of all, just walk me through it. How do most illegal drugs enter the U.S.?
KERLIKOWSKE: So the drugs that are actually taking the lives of people here in the United States – methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, fentanyl – almost universally come through the ports of entry along the southern border – so that is people that carry them on their bodies or even in their bodies or cars or vehicles. And then the second way is through the international postal mail service.
MARTIN: And when you say most, what do you mean? Like, 50 percent, 60 percent, 90 percent?
KERLIKOWSKE: Oh, well over 90 percent. People don’t backpack or try to sneak those drugs across the border between the ports of entry because, one, they could be caught by the Border Patrol. Number two, they don’t really trust those people to do that. So it’s much better for them to have somebody that is taking the drugs through a port of entry where they’re met on the other side of the port here in the United States, and those drugs are immediately taken.
MARTIN: So you’re saying, basically, virtually all of it comes through legal ports of entry [Gil Kerlikowske, former commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, interviewed by Michel Martin, “How Do Illegal Drugs Cross the U.S.-Mexico Border?” NPR: All Things Considered, 2019.04.06].
So will Noem’s Guards be working the legal Customs crossings and shaking down American citizens muling those drugs into the country? Will they be helping sniff through the mail trucks and planes to really curb the entry of illegal drugs? Or will we just get more photo opps when Kristi flies to Texas for her next 2024 political fundraiser and junkets out to the dusty desert to stage some adventure pics with her camo’d Guards and their guns?