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Wed, May 22

Brewer: The border wall and illegal immigration

A nation without borders is like a house without walls — without any architectural integrity, a dwelling becomes a real hazard for every resident inside.

President Trump understands this truth more than any other president in our lifetime — but unlike his predecessors, he is determined to secure our southern border and fix our broken immigration system.

As the debate over border security rages on, the crisis on the border continues to intensify. America is simply running out of time to address the ongoing catastrophe, leaving our communities exposed to illegal drugs, violent crime, and human trafficking.

Here are five key reasons why it’s time for President Trump to declare a state of emergency and quickly build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border:

1 - The Democrats are not willing to compromise on border security.

President Trump has done everything in his power negotiate with the Democrats on border security — but they’ve rejected every border security proposal he has made. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi even shot down his latest compromise proposal before he even issued it.

While a bipartisan solution to the border security crisis would be preferable to declaring a state of emergency, it’s become clear that there’s no real hope of reaching any kind of compromise with a Democratic Party that has made obstruction the entirety of its approach to governing.

Sadly, the Democrats refuse to acknowledge that there is a real crisis on the border, dismissing President Trump’s call for border security as nothing more than a “campaign promise” to his base.

2 - The human cost of illegal immigration is devastating.

When President Trump says that there is a crisis on the border, he isn’t manufacturing it. For years, human traffickers, drug smugglers, and other criminals have exploited our weak immigration laws to bring drugs and crime into America.

To make matters worse, a staggering 80 percent of women and girls are raped on the journey to America — a tragedy perpetuated by feeble border security laws that encourage illegal immigrants to employ violent gangs to escort them past overstretched U.S. authorities.

3 - Taxpayers shoulder the financial costs of illegal immigration.

Every government failure has a price — and when it comes to our failed immigration system, American taxpayers are the ones who pay that price.

In 2017, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) estimated that the annual cost of illegal immigration is an astounding $116 billion, or more than $8,000 per immigrant. Meanwhile, the economic cost of the opioid crisis, an epidemic largely fueled by the illegal drug trade, is estimated at about $500 billion per year.

The physical barrier President Trump wants to build on the border would only cost $5.7 billion — a miniscule fraction of what taxpayers end up paying for illegal immigration and the drug crisis every year, and far less than the $11 billion cost of the recent partial government shutdown.

4 - The experts want a border wall to help them fight illegal immigration.

While Democrats continue to ridicule President Trump’s stance on immigration, Border Patrol officials continue to ask for a wall on the border, arguing that physical barriers are necessary to prevent migrants from entering the country illegally.

“Everywhere where a wall was built — in conjunction with a multi-layer approach of infrastructure, technology, and personnel — it works,” said Mark Morgan, the Border Patrol Chief under President Obama, in January. “Illegal immigration where the wall was has been reduced 90 percent.”

Most rank-and-file members of the Border Patrol agree. According to a 2018 poll, 89 percent of Border Patrol agents agree that a “wall system in strategic locations is necessary to securing the border.”  

5 - The border crisis is not going to solve itself.

The problems associated with illegal immigration will not disappear if we ignore them. While the number of illegal immigrants entering the country each year fluctuates with economic conditions, criminal elements have an entirely different set of motivations than other migrants, such as exploiting the lucrative U.S. market for illegal narcotics.

Without a border wall, criminal gangs like MS-13 will continue their expansion into American cities, predatory “coyotes” will continue to abuse women and girls while transporting them across the border, and American taxpayers will continue to pay the economic price of unfettered illegal immigration.

Doing nothing hasn’t worked, and the Democrats are all out of ideas. If they won’t give up their obstructionist political tactics and let President Trump build the border wall we need to protect American communities, he’ll just have to do it himself under the authority Congress has already given the President to recognize national emergencies like the one taking place on our southern border.

Abraham Lincoln famously observed that “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” Well, neither can a house without walls.

Jan Brewer is the former Governor of Arizona.

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