According to a GOP candidate, as reported by Fox News, he would start a border task force if elected as New Mexico’s next governor.
Mark Ronchetti told Fox News, “We’re going to create that border enforcement force that will do two things. Number one, they’re going to go after the central flow in the state, and then number two, going to go after human trafficking here.”
Ronchetti, who previously worked as a journalist before entering politics, stated that the border force would include 150 officers. He said it would patch the cracks left by the federal government.
“We’re 600 border agents short in New Mexico in our sector of the border right now,” he said.
Ronchetti also mentioned that the border surge has had a hand in the increasing instances of drug overdoses and violent crime in New Mexico. He added that these problems will get worse if Title 42 is lifted.
Title 42 is a Trump-era policy that allowed federal officials to swiftly deport migrants in an effort to curb COVID-19 cases. The said policy is set to end on May 23, according to an announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday. However, some lawmakers in Congress are trying to reverse this.
“Title 42 helped try to keep things somewhat under control here during the end of the Trump administration and through the beginning of the Biden administration,” the New Mexico candidate said. “But now what we’re seeing is, with the Biden administration trying to roll that back, there’s real concern here that we’re going to see more chaos on a border that is already overwhelmed,” he also mentioned.
In 2021, almost 2 million migrant apprehensions were recorded at the border. Apart from this, over 900,000 migrant encounters have already been recorded this year, as per the Homeland Security Department. If Title 42 is lifted, apprehensions could go up to over 18,000 per day, as per DHS officials.
“If you talked to ranchers on the border here in New Mexico, they’ll tell you it’s a nightly occurrence here that they’re dealing with people flowing through and over their property, leaving things behind,” Ronchetti stated.
New Mexico GOP Candidate: Fentanyl From Border Added to Instances of Violent Crime and Overdoses in the State
He said drugs that are going in from the border, more specifically fentanyl, have added to both violent crime and overdoses in his state.
“We’re the second-most violent state in the country,” he told Fox News. “Last year in Albuquerque, we set an all-time record for murders.”
In the past few years, the instances of drug overdoses have increased in New Mexico, with 776 recorded deaths back in 2020; this is a 54% increase compared to the numbers in 2016, as per a New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee report. In 2019, 51% of overdose deaths involved heroin while fentanyl contributed 33%, according to the state’s Health Department.