Only a handful of insiders realize the true magnitude of the U.S. border crisis and its consequences.

Those in the know include defanged Customs and Border Protection agents, neutered Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, journalists whose truthful reporting rarely makes national headlines, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and his superiors in President Joe Biden’s White House.

Otherwise, the dangers that open borders represent are kept tightly under wraps to avoid bad optics.

The world, however, knows that accessing the U.S. interior is merely a matter of getting to the border, crossing and beginning the journey — often White House-aided and abetted — to the final destination for those who enter illegally.

In Biden’s eyes, the world is welcome.

In mid-August, for example, CBP caught 10 illegal immigrant adults posing as the ubiquitous unaccompanied alien child, or UAC. The phony minors, apprehended at Texas’ El Paso Sector, ranged in age from 18 to 26; by law, UACs must not have reached age 18. All were Guatemalans who claimed to be minors to avoid deportation.

Days later, at the Del Rio Sector, agents stopped an 18-wheeler crammed with 150 smuggled aliens that included 17 gang members, one sex offender and one convicted of murder. MS-13 members were among the identified gangsters.

This fiscal year, an estimated 130,000 unaccompanied alien children, some self-defined, have entered. A CBP news release on the Del Rio Sector action concluded, vaguely: “All subjects were processed accordingly.”

The Latin American Branch of the Coalition Against Trafficking Women estimates that 60% of Latin American children who embark on a U.S.-bound journey, either alone or with smugglers, are captured by cartels, and then forced into pornography or drug trafficking.

In addition to enduring a moral nightmare, those migrants who successfully make it to the U.S. interior will have outstanding debts owed to the coyotes and cartels that will take them a lifetime to payoff. To make sure that smuggling accounts are settled, the aliens are forced to wear GPS wristbands so the cartel can monitor their movements.

Cartels are the world’s most powerful criminal organizations and have created the largest form of modern slavery. The New York Times estimated that cartel revenues reached $13 billion this year, up from $500 million in 2018, a 26-times increase in fewer than five years.

Over the years, illegal immigration has reached such extraordinarily high levels that it begat more illegal immigration. Decades of porous borders, inadequate interior enforcement and the current welcoming environment have facilitated today’s historic and continuous wave.

In 2018, during interviews in Guatemala’s tiny 17,000 residents-strong Concepción Chiquirichapa, reporters learned that almost everyone has family, or knows someone with family, in the United States.

Think about what that amazing statistic conveys: individuals thousands of miles away from Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, and with few transportation options in their remote villages, have departed for the United States, confident that they’ll get in, and will remain indefinitely.

But neither unlawfully present parents nor their children who are joining them — trafficked or not — deserve a free pass from the Biden administration. In previous waves of unaccompanied alien children, 60% of the children were handed over to illegally residing parents.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen in Houston wrote of several instances in which parents “initiated the conspiracy to smuggle minors into the country illegally,” a reference to contracting with traffickers.

Then, he continued, instead of enforcing immigration laws, “DHS (Homeland Security Department) completed the criminal conspiracy … by delivering the minors into the custody of the parent living illegally in the United States.”

Hanen’s message: Nonenforcement encourages parents to pay coyotes to bring their minor children north. Unaccompanied alien children will continue to flock to the border as long as their illegal alien U.S. families can criminally bring their children to the United States without concern for their own removal.

A federal judge’s criminal conspiracy allegation is tough talk, but accurate. And with the entire United States a sanctuary nation, nonenforcement’s failures and the fallout are painfully obvious.

— Joe Guzzardi is a nationally syndicated columnist writing about immigration and related social issues. A California native who now lives in Pittsburgh, he’s a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who can be reached at Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.