Last November the American people went to the polls and resoundingly rejected the “open borders” policies of the Obama administration. They made it very clear that in an age of high tech drug smuggling, heinous human trafficking, and international terrorism, securing our border was a national security priority. Unfortunately, President Obama chose to ignore this problem – putting politics before people, and failed us when we needed him to succeed.
As the twenty-first century repeatedly demonstrates, the United States continues to face dynamic threats to our homeland. For decades, illegal immigrants and violent criminals have been able to cross our weak borders with little trouble. This has left Americans vulnerable to the types of tragedies we have become increasingly familiar with, like the murder of Kate Steinle, a young woman gunned down by an undocumented immigrant who had illegally entered the U.S. five times. While we pride ourselves on being a warm and welcoming nation, this kind of lawlessness is completely unacceptable.
Fortunately, things have changed. Now we have a partner in the White House who is committed to closing down illegal pathways to our country and restoring the rule of law. As President Trump made clear on the campaign trail, and in the first six months of his presidency, we need to build a wall on the most porous parts of our southern border and I couldn’t agree more. That is why I am proud to be an original co-sponsor of the Border Security for America Act.
This legislation, introduced by Chairman Michael McCaul of Texas, provides $15 billion to build a wall and other necessary infrastructure and technology along our border with Mexico. This bill takes a historic, multi-layered approach that will make it nearly impossible for drug cartels, criminals, and potential terrorists to slip through the cracks. This is the type of security Americans have long demanded and deserve. But it doesn’t stop there.
This legislation also improves ports of entry, making them more secure against those who seek to enter illegally, while helping to promote lawful trade and travel. We must also have more Border Patrol Agents and Customs Officers in place to enforce our laws and detain those attempting to enter illegally. McCaul’s legislation calls for a boost in personnel by 5,000 Border Patrol Agents and 5,000 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers. These brave men and women who have or are currently serving our country shouldn’t face unnecessary hurdles to continue their service protecting our borders.
With the broad array of threats facing the U.S. at our Southern Border, the Border Security for America Act is an important first step. It’s important this critical legislation also be followed by a larger package of bills to secure the border and to defund sanctuary cities.
Americans have grown tired of the reckless policies from the past that threaten their families and, in many instances, have led to a free flow of drugs in their neighborhoods and the expansion of violent gangs in their communities. We have a responsibility to put tougher laws in place and give President Trump the power he needs to make America safe again. Failing to do so would encourage more lawlessness and be seen as a slap in the face to voters all across the country.
The time has come for Republicans to ditch the dangerous policies that have dominated in the past and fulfill our promise to the American people by securing our border. Chairman McCaul’s bold legislation and common-sense approach brings us one step closer to achieving that goal.
For the safety and security of our homeland, we need the Border Security for America Act.
Congressman Meadows represents North Carolina’s 11th District in the House of Representatives and is Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.