For years now, President Trump has prioritized border security above all else. And for good reason: We have a state of emergency at our southern border.
That is why the American people continually state illegal immigration as one of the top problems facing our country.
Unfortunately, congressional Democrats are ignoring their constituents and illegal immigration writ large. Not only are Democrats preventing Trump from constructing the border wall, but they have also taken to smearing law enforcement agencies and the public servants who keep Americans safe. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York recently described Immigration and Customs Enforcement as a “dangerous agency,” vowing to defund ICE and eventually abolish it. Unhinged by the Trump presidency, Democrats like Ocasio-Cortez have even argued that Latino people should be exempt from immigration laws because they are “native” to the United States.
The Democrats are not alone. Now, some Republicans are openly opposing Trump as well — at the expense of national security. After Trump declared a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border, senators Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Thom Tillis of North Carolina publicly stated they would side with the Democrats’ resolution disapproving of the president’s national emergency declaration. They were recently joined by Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who put it this way: “I cannot support the use of emergency powers to get more funding (for the wall).”
In other words, these Republican senators are accepting the status quo — an unsecure border that costs American citizens, in the realist of terms. America is now home to more than 22 million undocumented immigrants — the equivalent of Australia’s entire population.
And they do not come cheap to the American taxpayer. According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, the total cost of illegal immigration — at the federal, state and local levels — comes out to nearly $135 billion annually. Meanwhile, undocumented immigrants contribute only about $20 billion in federal, state and local taxes.
Of course, illegal immigration’s economic burden is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s also the crime: The Texas Department of Public Safety reported that, from 2011 to 2018, 186,000 undocumented immigrants were booked into local jails and faced 292,000 charges. We’re looking at thousands of assault cases, weapons charges and homicides — in Texas alone.
In one recent year, Border Patrol agents in San Diego confiscated almost 83,000 kilograms of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin from the three ports of entry in that area. Laredo, Texas, was a close second, as law enforcement agents seized just in excess of 70,000 kilograms of drugs.
These drugs make their way from South America to states all across America, ravaging local communities and putting American families at risk. Illegal immigration is not just a problem for California or Texas — harsh consequences are felt in New Hampshire, West Virginia and countless other states.
Fortunately, Trump is doing his best to solve the problem. After the Trump administration implemented a “zero tolerance” crackdown on illegal immigration, border drug prosecutions took a nosedive. The number of people charged under drug-trafficking laws dropped by 30 percent along the southern border. In fact, federal prosecutors charged fewer people with drug-trafficking violations than at any point since the early 2000s.
We can only solve the problem from a position of strength. And we need that now more than ever: Federal authorities expect another surge in illegal immigration this year, as the winter turns to spring and summer. Last month, law enforcement agents detained more than 70,000 migrants — up from 58,000 in January.
What we don’t need is weakness, especially coming from Republican senators. Those who fail to support border security aren’t just letting down Trump; they are letting down the American people.
The status quo is no longer acceptable. Our national security is at risk.
It’s time for leadership. It’s time to build the wall.