Monday, April 15, 2024

McHugh David: It’s time to finish the border wall, but that alone isn’t the complete solution

by BIZ Magazine

Recently, Congressman Garret Graves visited the border to get a firsthand look, along with other Washington, D.C. officials, at the crisis unfolding.

Graves shared a few videos on his Facebook page that showed massive gaps in the wall construction, as well as a not-so-massive gap in between both sides of the repelling structure – which he easily slides through.

During his comments from a press conference, Graves describes the crisis as a problem of funding, safety, and national security. According to testimony at the border, United States Border Patrol has picked up more than just illegal aliens from Central America – there have been Chinese families, Russians, Iranians, and more.

Not only that, but often these individuals are caught carrying drugs of some type.

In other cases, children are being pushed over the border to seek amnesty for being ‘unaccompanied,’ and in 84% of cases (through March) they had COVID-19.

Of course, the call of funding came up. Over $2 billion was just appropriated to help treat and vaccinate those unaccompanied children, and while it causes quite a bit of humanitarian guilt, the truth of the matter is this shouldn’t have happened.

Early in his term, President Joe Biden passed a series of laws that relaxed a lot of immigration restrictions, providing amnesty for those who ‘have been in America’ and laying groundwork for a ‘fast track to citizenship’ over an eight year period.

Unfortunately, that also relaxed or removed a lot of the deportation guidelines as well as the strict immigration rules themselves. Basically – with an unfinished wall and a poorly funded Border Patrol, it was an open invite to try and immigrate to the United States.

Legally or illegaly, it was irrelevant.

So, families began trekking north, utilizing whatever means necessary to try and cross. Including, in some cases, the cartel and their firepower. Reports from southern Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona suggest the scraps with the cartels are getting worse as they try to move people into the United States for more money – $25 a head is the current going rate, according to one local sheriff.

Considering all that, it’s time for the American government to respond. This country was built on immigration, but for the most part the legal kind, and the United States has laws to follow, and the government should work to protect both the safety and livelihood for those citizens who are already here.

The first step will be a political battle to reenact some of the immigration restrictions that were affected during President Donald Trump’s time in office. While some may have been overly draconian, undoing all of the progress made at the border seems – ultimately – as a distraction from the financial burden and the safety issues.

Second, finish the wall. It’s a strange landmark that has been burdened by bad public relations and even worse construction, so the design has to be changed a little bit as evidenced by Graves’ less-than-magical passing through it, but it needs to be done. While the wall, in the end, won’t keep everyone out it does act as a deterrent and provides construction and maintenance jobs in the interim.

The final piece, which has been mentioned in this very space before, is expanding the border patrol. Providing a larger budget for more technology and manpower, while also reintroducing more strict deportation rules, will allow the BP to enforce immigration rules.

But, the big thing on the horizon is jobs. Workers pay personal income tax, which helps fund the federal government and new projects. Yes, immigrants can legally move into the United States and take jobs but the situation that is consistently ignored at the border is that there is a problem that needs manpower to fix. Not just the people trying to cross the border, but cartels pushing them or helping them come over.

The border needs help, and it will take investment, but in the end it will be worth it because of the jobs it creates and the enforcement of legal immigration. The United States is ready for people from other countries to come work, but they need to do it legally.

In the mean time, let’s send funding to the border create some jobs. Eventually, those jobs could help create appropriate, worthwhile infrastructure projects using new tax revenue.

McHugh David is publisher of the Livingston Parish News.

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