Immigration reform is being debated in both chambers of Congress right now. Most representatives and senators are quick to talk about the dire need to fix our broken immigration system, but that is easier said than done: fundamental differences of opinion between members of Congress on how to address immigration reform have prevented quick, speedy passage of any comprehensive bill.
As a result, we’ve seen a number of bills introduced in recent months, each proposing different programs, various degrees of amnesties and a host of enforcement options, all of which add up to mean one thing: stalemate. And the President continues to insist that any reform include a guest worker program that would appear to many as rewarding people who have broken the law.
But here’s a newsflash: Each day we postpone addressing this problem, the worse it becomes. As I am writing this, it is likely that dozens of illegal aliens have crossed over our porous border. The scary truth is that the longer we wait, the harder it will be to find a solution to the problem.
Many people work to exploit the insecurity of our borders, and none of them have the interests of the American people in mind. Foremost in all of our minds is the fear of terrorism, and the fact that any number of terrorists can, and probably have, crossed over our borders since 9/11, bringing with them plans, information and possibly even the tools and weapons they intend to use to attack our country.
Secondly, there is the growing problem of Latino gang activity inside our borders, posing a grave risk to American citizens because of the increasingly violent and murderous attacks they perpetrate. The group known as MS-13, for instance, regularly engages in extortion, murder and rape, and has been linked to plots to kill our brave Border Patrol agents. They currently have operations in at least 34 states, have been labeled a terrorist threat by police forces, and, perhaps most sinisterly, reports have surfaced which indicate possible cooperation between MS-13 and al Qaeda.
Lastly, the war on drugs, for which we and our allies in the Hemisphere have fought so hard, cannot be won if we do not secure our borders. The State Department has noted that Mexico is the primary transit point for cocaine, and a major source for other drugs, such as heroin and methamphetamine. Militant drug-smugglers cross our borders, armed and ready to kill anyone who gets in their way, intent on bringing their poisonous products into the country, and as a result, our streets are awash with drugs. Not only are our children dying from these drugs every day, but the profits from drug trafficking often go directly to support gangs like MS-13, terrorist groups like al Qaeda, and other organizations and governments which seek to do us harm.
It is with these threats in mind that I implore my colleagues in Congress to work with me to secure our borders immediately. To do so effectively, a combination of three things is required: an increase in the number of Border Patrol agents; employment of newly developed technologies such as infrared cameras, motion detectors and unmanned aerial surveillance vehicles (UAVs); and, where necessary, construction of security fencing along the parts of our border which so desperately need it.
Because we cannot stop immigration altogether — nor would we want to — one more element must be included in any legislation which seeks to secure our borders: implementation of a system designed to count and keep track of immigrants who do cross them for legitimate work purposes. It would be naïve to assume that, with increased border security, there will be no illegal entrants into the country. A system such as this would make it easier for us to know who comes into this country, and to keep track of them.
Of course, there is more to the broader immigration reform debate. Plans for how to handle the estimated 12 million illegal aliens who are already here need to be debated and discussed, and the problem of so-called "anchor babies" needs to be resolved. I will look forward to those debates in Congress. But we cannot wait for the creation of an all-encompassing bill, a panacea, to solve the important issue of border security, as well as what to do with those illegal aliens currently working and residing inside the U.S., because time is running out.
If we do not at least do everything in our power to stop the entry of more illegal aliens now, not only will there be more difficulties with resolving the aforementioned issues, but the national security and well-being of our citizens will continue to be compromised. It’s time for this Congress to do what’s right and act now to secure our borders; the American people deserve — and demand — no less.