“Every place a wall has been built, illegal immigration has declined. These caravans are going to keep forming, they’re going to keep coming as long as the Democratic leadership continues to negotiate on the wall and refuses to close the loopholes that cause these people to come to the country in the first place.” – Former ICE Director Thomas Homan on Fox News.
The recent Presidential address outlining a “crisis at the border” has the entire country abuzz and divided on what actually constitutes proper border security. Last fall, an organized migrant caravan consisting of thousands of “refugees” dominated headlines in an attempt to influence mid-term election outcomes. Today, as numerous other caravans are forming in South and Central America, the Trump administration has leveraged a shutdown over border wall funding to push the issue further into the spotlight. Trump has Pelosi and her cohorts spinning like a top, yet they refuse to even come to the table to seek resolution.
The interesting fact of the matter is that a border crisis has existed for years. Trump could have justifiably declared a national emergency his first day in office. This problem existed long before he came onto the scene. We are the only country in the industrialized world that has not consistently enforced immigration law or border policy since the last amnesty given in the Reagan administration. The same Democrats that identified the border as a top national security issue in 2006 are now the voices decrying a border barrier today. Reminders of such hypocrisy can be seen here as Obama, Schumer, Pelosi, and others once demanded a fence and tighter border security:
Today we have untold millions of illegal, undocumented immigrants living in the shadows, functioning outside of standard legal frameworks, which is indeed a crisis in itself. The fact that a continual influx of new immigrants is crashing the border only adds to the crisis. The numbers tell the tale as the cost of illegal immigrants at the state and federal level is in the hundreds of billions.
Trump is taking the issue on from a pragmatic point of view. Congress needs to follow and create clear and consistently enforceable parameters regarding what will and will not be tolerated. Only such decisive actions will resolve the crisis. Historically, Congress has just kicked the can down the road for a variety of reasons.
Actual accounts are clear that illegal immigration is dangerous, even when we are not arresting and deporting entrants. The trade is primarily run by the cartels in Mexico, which extort money, sexual enslavement and other difficult costs upon their “clientele”. It is clear that our lack of enforcement of current immigration law provides an impetus for illegals to attempt the trek to America where they may be brutally exploited throughout the process.
Many a young man or woman has been indentured during migration and forced into human trafficking. Often individuals are kept in “halfway houses” where they must serve as prostitutes or drug runners for the cartel to “pay off” their immigration “fees”. Often, they never live to escape this imposed bondage. Gangs, cartel members, terrorists, and other hostile elements use these immigrant groups as cover to establish criminal operations within our borders.
Nancy Pelosi is on record stating that a border wall would be “immoral” and is “not who we are as a nation”. The question must be asked, is it a greater moral issue to create an expectation that incentivizes immigrants to take the awful risks associated with the current system, fraught with danger and false hopes of economic reward at the end of the journey? Or is it more moral to have a clearly defined and established border, which is difficult to cross, and clear and consistent policies with predictable rewards and penalties?
As in any human endeavor, individuals will react according to the perceived incentives. The current policies and lack of enforcement thereof create the perception that high risk can lead to high reward in America. In the end, innumerable people suffer through the process, whether they make it here or not. And this does not take into consideration the cost to the American taxpayer and the strain on our social system.
The Trump administration is attempting to solve a longstanding and difficult problem. As Thomas Homan stated, and as the great majority of security experts agree, a secure and defined border is a critically necessary element. Policy needs to come from Congress that will clarify and consistently define boundaries for any future in-migration. The fact that extreme ideology and hypocrisy have convoluted this issue for years has taken an awful toll on hopeful immigrants. The most moral course is to create and enforce a system that will bring consistency and clarity that reinforce positive and proper outcomes. Remove the shadows and people will walk more safely in the light of defined expectations. A border wall would be a decisive first step.