Hunter: President’s Visit to the Border Sends an Important Message
President Trump visiting San Diego and seeing firsthand the wall prototypes is vital towards building a border wall. For any effective chief executive, it is important to view for yourself what is working, which helps prioritize the problems you are trying to solve. Just as important, the President’s visit sends a critical message: Trump is serious about securing the U.S. border once and for all.
America’s southwest border with Mexico is roughly 2,000 miles long, divided into nine different sectors for which the U.S. Customs and Border Protection is responsible. Illegal immigration activity exploded during the first decade after Reagan’s 1986 amnesty, making the entire border region a magnet for drug smuggling and human trafficking. Vast portions of these areas are no-man lands, varying from rocky-mountainous regions to vast desert landscapes where travel is dangerous.
In an effort to address this problem locally, former Congressman Hunter passed legislation in Congress authorizing and funding the construction of a 14-mile pilot fence project. Once completed, the San Diego border fence resulted in apprehensions in this sector falling 95%, from 100,000-5,000 persons per year. Other regions began to duplicate these efforts, achieving similar results. Apprehensions are down, not because building barriers are ineffective, but exactly the opposite, because they work.
I viewed the prototypes during a visit to the border a few weeks ago. There are eight total, ranging from cylindrical steel to thick slabs of concrete and, in some cases, a hybrid of both. The prototypes utilize different designs and styles and each will serve as an effective deterrent. When faced with this fencing, illegal immigrants naturally move toward areas that are easier to penetrate. It is for this reason Border Patrol has witnessed a larger flow of illegal activity ballooning toward areas outside of the fencing in the mountains, the desert and even into the ocean. The lesson is simple. In order to duplicate the success of the areas where fencing exists, we must construct more fencing.
Trump’s visit also sends an important message to several groups. To criminals, President Trump is signaling that we now have a chief executive who demonstrates border and national security as a top priority for his administration not just through words but with action as well.
To our Border Patrol agents, the President’s visit demonstrates that they now have someone in the White House who has their back and is fully committed to providing them with the critical resources necessary to perform their jobs effectively.
To American citizens, Trump is fulfilling an important promise that he is serious about taking on this issue and solving it for the last time. There are many issues associated with the larger problem of reforming our broken immigration policy. Whether it be streamlining work visas, installing E-verify for employers, ending chain migration and a useless lottery system, all actions that I support. None, however, will make a difference if you do not start with securing the border.
The President understands this and his visit affirms that gone are the days of giving speeches while casting a blind eye toward the plight of those forced to endure the criminal element that comes along with a porous border. The number one responsibility of the Commander-in-Chief is national security. Border security is national security.
Congressman Hunter represents California’s 50th Congressional district.