Sitting in the Roosevelt Room last evening — on the eve of President Trump’s first televised address to the nation from the Oval Office — I had the honor of meeting with President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and Senior Adviser Jared Kushner to hear first-hand data, facts, and statistics laying out the clear crisis we have on the southwest border. I left that meeting impressed and certain that this administration was serious, and the president had a spine of tempered steel with clear resolve and convictions backed with data to secure the homeland.
During his press conference last Friday afternoon, the president boldly made the moral argument for the partial government shutdown and debate over the securing of funds for the completion of a physical steel barrier on our border.
The moral — or “greater good” — argument for border security is found in the oft-overlooked area of national security. There is no doubt the president is willing to hold the line to force Democrats in Congress to work with him to make a deal. The crisis on our border must end under his watch for a number of reasons: The impact on families (both foreign and domestic); human trafficking; the flow of illegal drugs and protection of our homeland.
Completing the wall would not be immoral as Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said, nor is it part of some vast racist conspiracy to keep Mexicans out of our country. As the president has highlighted, there is a real impact on families and women, and especially on children.
“You know, children are the biggest beneficiaries of what we want to do,” Trump pointed out on Friday. “Children are hurt more than anybody else. These coyotes, what they do with children, all because we have open borders because they think they can get away with it. They don’t come in through the port, where we have a lot of protection.”
Last month alone, illegal immigrants coming as a family or minors coming alone made up just under 65 percent of all crossings into the United States. Many had very serious and expensive medical needs. Families break apart by choice or, more tragically, via coyotes before they even get to the border. Whether fathers are leaving their families or children are being ripped away by predators, this crisis is getting worse.
Human trafficking is a nicer way of saying modern slavery. People are smuggled into the United States illegally, and along the way they are raped, tortured, abused, drugged and molested as part of a billion-dollar industry. Coyotes know all the loopholes and tricks to get these people over the border and into bondage.
This issue is not just about people crossing a line in the desert to live. it is about drugs pouring over the border and into communities around the United States.
As the president has observed before, “More than 90 percent of heroin comes across our southern border. Heroin deaths have tripled since 2002. Every week illegal heroin kills at least 300 Americans and costs our nation over $230 billion to $289 billion or nearly $5 billion a week.”
That’s 300 deaths each week attributable to Heroin alone. In FY2018, CBP seized 1.7 million pounds of narcotics crossing the border. Border Patrol is working overtime to combat this and using everything at their disposal especially K-9 units to prevent the constant flow of drugs coming in from Mexico. He will see this again first-hand when he travels to the border this Thursday.
The president understands the impact a shutdown has on federal employees. Questioned by the press last week if he would ask landlords to be flexible with payments from those who are furloughed, Trump said, “I’ve been a landlord for a long time. I’ve been in the real estate business for a long time. When you see there are problems out there, difficulties out there — you know, the people are all good for the money — they work with people. They work with people … I would encourage them to be nice and easy. We have a bigger subject that we’re doing. It’s called ‘the security of our nation,’ including terrorism, please.”
President Trump has sympathy for all impacted, hence the reason he stayed in D.C. during the holidays and put together a task force calling on the Congress to act quickly because he knows the situation has national security implications. Those implications far outweigh the temporary shutdown — one that could end today if Democratic leaders were willing.
The threat of terrorism crossing our border is a massive problem that must be dealt with. “Although there have been no terror attacks in the American homeland linked to the US-Mexico border, the threat of terrorists using the border to gain access to the U.S. is not merely hypothetical,” according to a CSMonitor report that listed ten credible examples of criminal cases showing a link between the Southwest border, illegal immigration and border security.
Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen explained the problem to the press. “CBP has stopped over 3,000, what we call, special-interest aliens trying to come into the country on the southern border. Those are aliens who the intel community has identified are of concern. They either have travel patterns that are identified as terrorist travel patterns, or they have known or suspected ties to terrorism.”
When we have police officers such as Ronil Singh being shot and killed, and border patrol and border towns physically overwhelmed socially and economically because of the real impact of illegal immigration, we have a crisis. We have to deal with it and not kick the can down the road. Our elected officials must stand with President Trump and do their jobs, make the tough decisions and finally act on the issue of illegal immigration.
As an American from the border state of Arizona, I am glad President Trump is willing to hold the line. It is beyond time for the United States Congress to finally take border security and illegal immigration seriously. Ultimately, this issue is greater than talking points and campaign slogans. We can choose short-term discomfort for federal workers (that will quickly be remedied through congressional backpay action), or long-term erosion of sovereignty and security.
Our problems could all end today if Democrats in Congress would put people over politics.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.