We’re All Border Counties Now

I find it hard to watch news programs about the border crisis, especially over dinner.

By Jack Cashill

It is unsettling enough that multiple millions of unvetted people have flooded across the border in these past few years, but it is beyond bizarre that some elected officials—enter Mayor Quinton Lucas, stage left—welcome the flood.

In April, Kansas City’s ambitious young mayor sent out a clarion call that resonated from the Yukon to Tierra del Fuego. “All are welcome in Kansas City,” tweeted Lucas, “Proud to work with my fellow mayors like @MikeJohnstonCO and @NYCMayor as we work to ensure decompression of new arriving communities and collaboration among cities, labor, non-profits, and federal officials.”

Lucas, of course, tried to walk his “all are welcome” tweet back, but this was a bell not easily unrung. Officials in the counties surrounding Kansas City had no confidence that Lucas’ new recruits would recognize the city limits and restrict their mischief to Kansas City proper.

The commissioners of Clay and Platte County, Jerry Nolte and Scott Fricker, respectively, sent Lucas a blistering letter arguing the obvious, namely that a “massive influx of migrants” would “increase the strain on an already serious housing crisis and on services for citizens like law enforcement, education, social services, and health-care systems.”

The most immediate of those problems is law enforcement. Even in historically safe jurisdictions like Johnson County, the impact of our broken border policy has already been felt. One advantage that Johnson County has enjoyed, however, is that it has a sheriff willing to ignore woke niceties and put criminals in jail.

About the same time as Lucas was auditioning for the Democrat VP slot, Johnson County Sheriff Cal Hayden spoke to my breakfast group. Hayden told us that the migrants were coming not just from Mexico and Central America but from all over the world, and they were not exactly respecting the state line.

Hayden addressed illegal immigration in language so stark—not just in terms of criminal activity, but of fentanyl deaths and jail overcrowding—that I felt obliged to follow up. I wanted to know the migratory patterns of the county’s jailbirds.

Not one to seek refuge in bureaucratic mumbo jumbo, Hayden accepted the challenge and promptly sent me the list of the countries represented in the Johnson County jail system. Apparently, these folks had come to America intent on committing the crimes locals had grown too complacent to commit themselves.

As of late April 2024, unwelcome ambassadors from 22 different countries had found their way to the Johnson County jail. Listed alphabetically, these countries ranged from Algeria to Zimbabwe. Less exotic countries included France, Germany, Italy, and even Canada.

Three of the prisoners hailed from India, one on the charge of first-degree murder. Not having heard of any such murder, I put various combinations of the words—India, murder, Kansas, etc.—into the Google search engine and found nothing recent.

All hits led back to February 2017, when a local nut job killed a man from India in an Olathe bar. The story made national news, international for that matter. The world’s media had an angle they liked. CBS News spoke for every newsroom not named Fox when it reported, “The shooting stirred fears that immigrants were facing more violence after President Trump’s election.” 

The media are not keen on “Migrant Kills Kansan” kind of headlines. The fact that you are not hearing such stories does not mean they are not happening.

Other unlikely countries represented in the Johnson County jail include Azerbaijan, Kenya, Philippines, Republic of Congo, Romania, Russia, Vietnam, and Durango. Durango? Although Mexico led the league in miscreants, Mexicans represented less than half of the 70 or so immigrants wasting away on the county dime.

The numbers above, I should add, include all foreign born. For further clarification, I asked Sheriff Hayden what percent of the foreign born are in the country illegally. Although the numbers shift every day, the average is about 75 percent. At the time I checked, the foreign born represented 11 percent of all the inmates in the county jail system.

The argument is made often that illegal immigrants commit proportionately less crime than native-born citizens. That may be true in Kansas City where the locals need no outside help to keep the EMTs hopping. This number may seem hard to believe, but in 2023, the murder rate in Kansas City was 74 times higher than it was in Overland Park—not 74 percent, 74 times: 185 murders in Kansas City, one in Overland Park 

In Johnson County writ large, there were nine murders in 2023. Five of the foreign-born inmates in the county jail have been charged with murder. Based on these raw numbers, it seems likely that our international friends are doing more than their fair share of the killing.

Then there are the other crimes for which these folks have been jailed—assault, forgery, capital murder, aggravated battery, assault on a law enforcement officer, lewd/ lascivious behavior, aggravated arson, and child rape among others. 

With a more sensible immigration policy, none of these crimes would have happened, at least not in Johnson County. With a less serious sheriff, those who committed the crimes would be out committing more.

Hot in the news as I write this is the story of two NYPD officers shot by a 19-year-old illegal from Venezuela. “This is what we’re fighting every day,” said Mayor Eric Adams. He called the shooting a “senseless act of violence” and a “total disregard for life.”

I’m sure @NYCMayor would be happy to send his problem children to Mayor Q, and the mayor would likely welcome them. It will give him one more excuse to explain away the carnage on his side of the state line. 

About the author

Jack Cashill is Ingram's Senior Editor and has been affiliated with the magazine for more than 30 years. He can be reached at jackcashill@yahoo.com. The views expressed in this column are the writer's own and do not necessarily reflect those of Ingram's Magazine.

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