Like most Americans, Wyomingites are horrified by the nation’s illegal immigration crisis; it is their number one issue says a new public opinion poll.
Once a concern of Texans and south westerners, it is now a national problem; after all, the sight at the border of hordes of single, military-aged men from scores of countries with potentially incompatible civilizations, cultures, or causes is stupefying and instructive.
Even the Equality State is a border state.
Unvetted, unvaccinated, and uneducated, they are unprepared for life in America, even those Biden’s Border Patrol ushers in and to whom it provides monies, cell phones, and transport deep in country with court dates years in the future. One can only imagine the condition of the millions of “getaways” who arrive by authority of those who today control our southern border: the criminal cartels, and with them drugs, fentanyl, and trafficked women and children, in what Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. calls a “humanitarian crisis of unimaginable proportions.”
Then, there is the crime. Once, crimes by illegal immigrants who should have been but were not deported after their second, fifth, or tenth illegal reentry was almost a cliché, but still tragic.
Things worsen when they reach their destinations. Once big city mayors danced jigs when courts let “sanctuary” designation bar local law enforcement from notifying federal authorities of illegal aliens in custody to prevent deportation but ensure future felonies.
Today, they complain about the cost of housing, feeding, and policing waves of illegal aliens splashing into their cities.
Those who suffer most, however, are not the mayors, who are just begging for federal dollars, but hapless citizens. Hotels, recreational centers, and airports are commandeered for illegal aliens, trashing neighborhoods, educational opportunities, and travelers’ safety, health, and happiness.
In New York City, everyone is livid, from Lady Gaga’s father on the Upper West Side to Representative Ocasio-Cortez’s Brooklyn constituents. It is no different in Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Detroit, or Chicago.
Wyomingites watch in horror as that fate befalls Denver, perhaps worse given that 36,000 illegal immigrants arrived last year, which, says Mayor Mike Johnston, is more per capita than any other interior U.S. city.
Denver will spend $180 million, 10% of its annual budget, giving illegal immigrants housing, food, and other services, but its funds may not suffice to prevent collapse of Denver Health, where eight thousand illegal aliens had 20,000 free hospital visits at a cost of $136 million.
So worrisome is that designation and the “significant public health risk” it poses of crime and disease that Denver’s southern neighbors, Douglas County and Colorado Springs’ El Paso County, proclaimed they are not sanctuary jurisdictions.
What did Denver and, for that matter, Colorado, expect those north of the 41stparallel might ask when the Centennial State, largest and third biggest cities, and thirteen of 64 counties became "sanctuaries” for those who, on first contact with the USA, violated its laws?
Wyoming, of course, is different; despite our well-known western hospitality, no jurisdiction here provides asylum for those illegally in the country and thus inducement for them to travel our way. They may not be here in the droves Denver is seeing, but one of their traveling companions is already here: fentanyl.
In June 2023, for example, the Laramie County Sheriff’s Office seized over 9,000 fentanyl pills in a single bust. “It’s our No. 1 issue,” said County Sheriff Brian Kozak.
Casey Patterson of the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation reported that, in the first quarter of 2023, Wyoming law enforcement officers seized 57% of the dangerous narcotics seized in all the prior year.
Tragically, the increase in fentanyl due to the “chaos at the border” has doubled drug overdoses in Wyoming in the last six years, reported Senator Cynthia Lummis days ago.
As Denver pushes its illegal immigrant problem off on other jurisdictions, Wyoming should expect illegal aliens heading north to Cheyenne and Laramie.
Some may already have been there, if only passing through.
New York City made bad news recently when it released four illegal immigrant thugs who assaulted New York’s Finest in Time Square. Provided free bus tickets, they were soon California bound. What if the next time they or their ilk pass through on I-80, they stay?
*Mr. Pendley, a Wyoming lawyer, was a Colorado public-interest lawyer for three decades, served in the administrations of President Reagan and President Trump.