Border Security is National Security
By Will Tanner ‘21
Because of the recently ended shutdown, the issue of illegal immigration has been thrust back into the limelight. Due to the increasingly high-profile nature of this issue, I think it is an important one for the West to examine through criminal justice, national security, and economic lenses.
As Ronald Reagan once said, “a nation that cannot control its borders is not a nation.” History vindicates that statement. Take the Western Roman Empire, once it lost the ability to turn back the Goth migrants that were crossing its borders unopposed, it quickly fell, plunging western civilization into darkness for hundreds of years. 1600 years later, the Western world is again faced with mass migration. Germany, Italy, and Sweden have been inundated with economic migrants from North Africa and the Middle East, and their crime rockets have soared. Despite making up only 2% of the German population, migrants are responsible for 12% of rapes and 10.5% of murders according to the BBC. Additionally, Sweden has had a problem with economic migrants causing gang violence. Those are crimes that would not have happened had those migrants not been allowed into Europe. It is estimated that in Stockholm up to 95% of gang members are migrants. In other words, gangs in Sweden would be almost non-existent had those migrants not been allowed to stay. The US struggles with similar issues. Last month an illegal immigrant killed Cpl. Ronil Singh. In August, there was the murder of Mollie Tibbets. Those deaths would not have happened had the border been secured. Not all illegal immigrants are not violent criminals. Few are. Most are hard workers. But illegal immigrants do commit many crimes (in addition to the crime of crossing the border without going through the necessary security procedures). In addition, an open border is an open invitation for gang members. Over 6,000 members of violent gangs such as MS-13 were apprehended in 2018 alone. The problems those gangs bring with them- drug distribution, human trafficking, extortion, murder, and kidnapping- are problems that America cannot tolerate. Organized crime was mostly crushed by brave attorneys and politicians such as Rudy Giuliani, and those hard-fought victories cannot be lost because of political correctness; the border must be secured so that violent, organized crime cannot recapture American cities. Legal immigration is a wonderful thing that has allowed America to flourish. Illegal immigration has brought a host of issues, such as organized and violent crime, that America cannot and should not tolerate. States should value the safety and security of their citizens over political correctness and open borders.
Illegal immigration is also a national security issue for both the US and Mexico. US guns and money flow south across an open border and have allowed violent cartels such as the Sinaloa cartel to fight the Mexican government to a standstill. Drugs, violence, and criminal connections flow north and have allowed street gangs such as MS-13 to flourish because of their cartel connections and have led to violence in border towns. Last year there were 29,000 drug related homicides in Mexico, including the murder of over 130 politicians. That instability and violence on our own border should be recognized as the national security threat that it is. The US cannot allow transnational criminal groups to establish a territorial foothold in the Southwestern United States. The Mexican Cartels are terroristic organizations that bomb, murder, bribe, and extort their way to power. The Mexican and Colombian governments are valuable partners in combating those cartels. We should do more to help develop those countries and train their militaries to defeat the cartels before they reach America. If the border remains open, they will be free to begin their campaigns of terror in the United States. The US would not allow traditional, Islamist terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda or Hezbollah to establish a presence in the United States, so it should not allow the cartels to either. The border must be secured in order to protect our national security.
Finally, an open border is an economic wound that an America tens of trillions of dollars in debt cannot afford. The net cost of illegal immigration is estimated to be between $54.5 billion and $112 billion a year, depending on whether the number from NBC News or the Federation for American Immigration Reform is used. Additionally, remittances drain about $26 billion dollars a year from the American economy. That is over $100 billion dollars of added costs each year from those two issues alone. The higher end estimate of the one-time cost for the wall is about $20 billion. It would only need to stop around 10% of the illegal immigrants expected to cross in the next decade to pay for itself. Many areas that currently have walls have experienced far greater drops than that. A study done by George Borjas of the Harvard Kennedy School indicates that illegal immigration costs the average low-income worker about $800-$1500 a year through depressing wages. It also costs states and federal government tens of millions of dollars a year in tax revenue. European nations have similar problems with migrants causing significant costs. Those costs are due to the lower employment rate and higher benefit use rate of migrants. For example, the Swedish Pension Agency estimates that the current migrants will cost $80 billion because of added costs without proportional increases in tax revenue. Those costs are unacceptable. The US, on both the state and federal level is struggling to fund a number of important programs right now. Examples include rebuilding military readiness, updating infrastructure, increasing border security, and properly funding our public schools. Programs such as these are priorities. We should not subsidize the lives of economic migrant. It is fiscally irresponsible.
The situation at the southern border is a crisis. President Trump has been derided for saying so, but it is. Many illegal immigrants are great people. They work hard and as President Bush once said, “family values don’t stop at the southern border.” But that doesn’t mean that the country should allow any migrant to walk into the country without proper screening. Make no mistake, the overwhelming majority of people crossing the border illegally in Europe and America are men looking for economic opportunity, not women and children fleeing violence. Legal immigration is a wonderful thing that has boosted our economy tremendously. The immigration system should be reworked to make sure that all of the upstanding, hard-working, and educated people that want to come to this country can do so. But illegal immigration is different. The illegal migrants that come across the border haven’t been screened or vetted. Some bring crime and gang affiliations. There have been proven connections with terrorist organizations. The cost is over $100 billion dollars each year, and the cheap labor that many illegal immigrants provide has suppressed wage growth for American workers. The issues associated with some illegal migrants- crime, gangs, national security concerns, and huge costs- are issues that America, and the rest of the world can no longer afford to ignore. The border must be secured.