Sunday, January 06, 2019

Hartzler: We must secure our border; the safety of all of our communities is at stake

(From Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler)

We must secure our border. Currently, our weak security is allowing literally tons of illegal drugs to infiltrate our communities and illegal citizens to break our laws, endangering American lives.

I recently had the chance to travel to the southern border at the Nogales-Mariposa port of entry in Arizona where I saw firsthand the challenges and dangers we are facing. I learned about the never-ending stream of illicit drugs crossing the border.

In a 10-month span alone, from October 2017 through August 2018, U.S. Border Patrol seized over 6,400 pounds of cocaine (over 3 tons!), 530 pounds of heroin (one of the opiates which kills 130 people a day in America), almost 440,000 pounds of marijuana (220 tons!), 10,300 pounds of methamphetamine (over 5 tons!), and over 330 pounds of fentanyl (a drug that killed nearly 30,000 Americans in 2017). 

 These figures only represent the drugs we actually intercepted. With no fence on large portions of our border, there are no doubt additional tons of drugs we fail to intercept that travel into our communities and kill our children. This has got to stop!

Besides the flow of illegal drugs, inadequate security on our border allows thousands of people to disregard our laws and enter our country without being vetted. According to the latest Customs and Border Protection statistics, agents are now taking into custody more than 2,000 illegal aliens per day and they apprehended over 300,000 in 2017 alone. Two-thousand people is more than the population of many towns in Missouri's 4th District. This means that the population of several small towns is invading our border every day.

In America, we are proud to welcome those who come here legally to seek a better life and flee oppression. In 2016 alone, we naturalized 752,800 people through legalimmigration. The Statue of Liberty’s words comfort us all: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” However, even on Ellis Island, arriving immigrants were screened and vetted for contagious diseases and criminal histories. Those safeguards are still in place, and when they are violated, we have a problem.

A recent example of this happened the day after Christmas this year. Police Officer Ronil Singh, a legal immigrant who followed the laws of this country to immigrate here and to become a citizen of the United States, was senselessly killed by an illegal alien. If additional steps had been taken to secure our border, it’s possible that this tragedy would not have occurred.

In addressing illegal immigration, I also believe there’s an issue of fairness to consider. There are more than 700,000 people legally waiting for U.S. citizenship. We need to give proper consideration to these individuals. It isn’t fair for people to skip this line by illegally crossing or overstaying their visa, and we only encourage this negative behavior by leaving portions of our border unguarded.

In the past, it seemed clear to everyone that something needed to change. During the Obama Administration, all 54 Democrats in the Democrat-controlled Senate voted to double the length of a new border fence with Mexico, double the number of border agents to 40,000, and spend $40 billion on border security. Speaker Pelosi said in 2012 that immigration reform must include securing our borders and enforcing our laws, and Senate Minority Leader Schumer also said in 2009, point-blank, that people want a government that is serious about protecting the public and enforcing the rule of law on the border. I am hopeful they will remember their words now and support securing our border. The safety of our all of our communities is at stake.

No comments: