America’s illegal immigration problem (somehow) just got a whole lot worse.
As we speak, a second migrant caravan is forming at the Honduran border, before it’s expected to march on the U.S. border. The second caravan reportedly plans to follow the larger caravan of more than 7,000 migrants to the Mexican border town of Reynosa — only 15 miles from McAllen, Texas. All in all, we’re looking at 10,000 illegal immigrants marching on the United States, with no regard for our immigration laws or right to self-sovereignty.
The Department of Homeland Security has already concluded the illegal caravan includes gang members and other criminals, in addition to unidentified individuals from the Middle East. President Donald Trump has rightly declared a “national emergency,” citing the migrants’ criminal backgrounds and potential threat of terrorism.
These latest developments only confirm what Trump has been saying for years — border security must be our top priority. To that end, the president has consistently fought for a $20 billion border wall, which open-border Democrats and too many do-nothing Republicans stubbornly refuse to fund.
While necessary, the wall is not enough. Imposing sanctions on countries that disregard our laws — as the Trump administration has pursued — is a step in the right direction, but it is not enough.
No amount of military presence at the border is either. These caravans are large enough to push through a fence or scale a wall. While some illegal immigrants can be arrested and repatriated, we simply don’t have the resources to physically detain thousands of illegal immigrants — let alone housing and feeding them while in custody.
So what can be done? You don’t stop an overflowing river when it floods your doorstep. You dam it at the source.
The only real answer is a tough pill to swallow: It’s time for the Trump administration to consider military action against Central America’s narco-terrorists and the weak governments whose corruption and ineptitude have abetted their rise. From El Salvador to Guatemala and Honduras, weak-willed government officials have contributed to the dire conditions these caravans are fleeing.
Let’s remember the stakes. According to a Yale University study, America is home to as many as 30 million illegal immigrants — three times more than popular consensus. In the past year, U.S. border agents routinely made more than 50,000 arrests per month. Since 2010, border arrests have hovered around 500,000 per year, with no signs of slowing down.
And, of course, this does not include the millions of illegal immigrants who evade custody. While many have no criminal backgrounds, their illegal status makes them tantalizing victims and oftentimes participants in criminal enterprises — too many bring crime with them. In 2017, the amount of fentanyl seized at Arizona’s ports of entry on the Mexican border jumped 600 percent to nearly 140 pounds over the year before — enough deadly doses for 32 million adults.
The only way to stop the flood is through overwhelming force, to topple the criminal enterprises ravaging Central America — and help install democratic institutions to give their people hope for a brighter future. The moral choice here is to help law-abiding Central Americans at home, stay home, and return home. Otherwise, the flood will overflow and overflow, to the detriment of their homelands and our own.
I myself was a childhood immigrant to the United States — a lawful system of robust, merit-based immigration is essential to the success of America. To counteract decades of our own government’s failed leadership, Trump should mount a campaign of liberation, fighting for the downtrodden — the victims — who cannot defend themselves.
The migrant caravan approaching us is unprecedented in size, and it will not be the last. Thousands upon thousands more will come. Our illegal immigration problem will continue to get dramatically worse, just as it has gotten worse to this point.
That’s why we need to act now. That’s why America needs to show her strength — not against illegal immigrants, but against the forces driving them desperately to our shores.
Dan Backer is founding attorney of political.law, a campaign finance and political law firm in Alexandria, Virginia.
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