Rep. Paul Gosar: The GOP's last chance to keep our border wall promise

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Washington, December 17, 2018 | comments
Before the end of the 115th Congress, we must send a bill to President Trump’s desk that finally secures our border with a wall and by ending “catch and release” and chain migration policies that encourage illegal immigration. We must attach this legislation to a must-pass funding bill, to ensure that it gets through both the House and Senate and to President Trump so he can sign it into law.
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Thousands of economic migrants are currently sitting on the U.S. border after traveling as a political group together through Mexico. The “caravan” is just the most visible example of Hondurans, Guatemalans, and El Salvadorans trying in record numbers to illegally enter the U.S., waving Honduran and Guatemalan flags, while they claim a “right” to invade our country. Our failure to secure our southern border has very real, concerning implications for our nation’s security.

To begin, we know MS-13 gang members are there. Regardless of whether this particular caravan of economic migrants contains a terrorist contingent, it still highlights to those who are interested in hurting the U.S. that our laws can be flaunted and that illegal entry into the U.S. is easy. It’s clear this message is spreading: As rumors of possible amnesty spread this past fall, Border Patrol reported a surge in illegal crossings. It’s clear that our border policies are encouraging lawbreaking. From 2009-2016, the number of aliens claiming credible fear skyrocketed from 5,000 to 94,000 in 2016, according to the Department of Homeland Security.


This highlights another important fact: Every illegal immigrant who aspires to become an American is making lawbreaking their first act on U.S. soil. This disqualifies them. This also undermines our Constitution and insults the Americans and immigrants who have waited in line and worked hard to immigrate the right way. 

Sadly, the supposed immigration champions, the Democrats, are exacerbating the problem instead of working with Republicans to solve it. Their solution is open borders — a “borderless hemisphere” as Hillary Clinton put it. Potential House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., calls border security “immoral,” and she advocates for illegal immigrants. But blind acceptance of any and all migrants who show up at the U.S.-Mexican border ignores the very real problems occurring in South and Central American countries and fails to deal with our own.

Instead, we need to work together to address the issues that we face: anywhere between 11 and 22 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. already (more than 3 percent of our population), and a porous border that encourages more lawbreaking instead of encouraging law-abiding immigrants to go through a proper orderly process.

Before the end of the 115th Congress, we must send a bill to President Trump’s desk that finally secures our border with a wall and by ending “catch and release” and chain migration policies that encourage illegal immigration. We must attach this legislation to a must-pass funding bill, to ensure that it gets through both the House and Senate and to President Trump so he can sign it into law.

Republicans have been trying to do this all year, and have been far from intransigent on this issue. Open-border Democrats are putting illegal immigrants’ priorities ahead of law-abiding citizens. Instead of acknowledging that Republicans are putting American priorities first, they are allowing humanitarian crises like caravans and smuggling rings to operate with impunity. Too many in the press, rather than acknowledging the good faith efforts of Republicans and the entrenchment of Democrats, have continued to blame Trump’s rhetoric for the immigration issues we face. This must change.

President Trump has tried to force that change, and I applaud his efforts. He has warned Central American countries that he might withhold humanitarian aid from countries that won’t block the caravan. This refocuses the issue where it belongs: On our foreign policy and the countries who are aiding U.S. lawbreakers and failing to address their own economic problems.

We need first to secure our border, and then we can address the millions of illegal immigrants already here in a realistic way. But while our border problem exacerbates the issue and encourages thousands to migrate illegally, we can’t have that conversation. That’s why Congress must act now to finally secure our southern border, before we gavel out of session and hand the House of Representatives to open-borders Democrats.
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