We need Trump’s border wall plus other measures to reduce illegal immigration

Congressional Democrats have made it clear that they will oppose President Trump’s commonsense request for $5 billion to expand fencing and begin work on a wall along our southern border. But the fight over the wall is just a small skirmish in a war to decide the future of our country and whether we can control our own borders.

Neither President Trump nor the Democrats created the migrant caravans currently camped to our south. The caravans were organized and launched outside of the U.S. with the intent of demonstrating that large groups of immigrants can breech our borders illegally and with impunity – an outcome that will only encourage more illegal immigration.

Nor did Trump or the Democrats draft the United Nations global compacts on migration and refugees, looking to a day when international “norms” supplant the right of sovereign nations to manage their own borders.

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It was not Trump or the Democrats who flooded Europe with over 1 million refugees and dispersed them – without vetting – throughout the continent.

But European officials who opened their borders to the migrants now find themselves beset by an intense political backlash, severe security challenges, and widespread social and economic unrest.

Europe today stands as a case study in the problems caused by uncontrolled migration.

If America fails to maintain firm control of who gets into our country – and who stays – the resulting crisis could make the woes of Europe look petty.

A Gallup World Poll released earlier this month found that 15 percent of the world’s adults said they would move permanently to another country if they could. That’s about 750 million people. Assuming the adults brought their children, the number of migrants would be higher.

The poll “is based on a rolling average of interviews with 453,122 adults in 152 countries and areas between 2016 and 2017,” according to Gallup.

President Trump didn’t start Washington’s border wars. But if he sticks with his entire border control strategy, he should succeed in winning the immediate political debate and fixing our broken immigration system for the long haul.

Gallup also states in reporting on the poll: “One in five potential migrants (21%) – or about 158 million adults worldwide – name the U.S. as their desired future residence.” This number would be higher when children are added.

A mass migration of such a large number of people to the U.S. would be profoundly destabilizing – economically, socially and culturally.

How would we provide the food, housing, clothing, jobs, schools, transportation, infrastructure, English language instruction, and everything else needed for so many new immigrants?

And where would we get the money to do all this?

Admitting massive amounts of new immigrants to our country could also be dangerous.

Enemies of the West have already tried to weaponize migrant flows, as has happened with Syrian migrants. If the open-borders crowd gets its way, sooner or later evil-doers will launch a deliberate effort to send refugees to America. That would have far more impact than tweets from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Polls consistently show most Americans favor legal immigration. But a November Gallup poll also showed Americans see immigration as one of the nation’s “biggest problems.” They want a system that works.

In the end, President Trump will win. Not because he has better politics – but because he has better polices.

For starters, the president wants to beef up border security. Most Americans share that desire. The wall can help.

Importantly, President Trump’s border security strategy goes beyond the wall. He also wants to end “catch and release” and “birthright citizenship” for the children of illegal immigrants.

“Catch and release” results from loopholes in our current system. People arrested upon entering the U.S. illegally routinely apply for amnesty. Those who promise to return for a court hearing are released, but the vast majority never come back. Instead, they simply walk away into a new life as “undocumented immigrants.”

Closing this loophole would be a huge deterrent to illegal immigration.

And here’s another thing our country needs to do: Enforce existing U.S. immigration laws and deport people found to be living here illegally.

Meanwhile, the president can also improve border security by working with our Latin American partners. The administration has already engaged with Mexico’s newly elected president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Tuesday’s announcement of a $10.6 billion U.S. aid package for Mexico and Central America reflects the desire to ease immigration pressures to our south. If that money is spent smartly – to improve governance, public safety and create a space for private economic growth – then it could help.

President Trump didn’t start Washington’s border wars. But if he sticks with his entire border control strategy, he should succeed in winning the immediate political debate and fixing our broken immigration system for the long haul.