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Williams: The crisis at the border: Do we have the courage to act?

Feb 22, 2019
Column

BY: ROGER WILLIAMS

The question about our nation’s border security is not whether there is a crisis; there is. The question is, do we have the political courage to do something about it?

How serious is the crisis? Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants attempt to penetrate our vulnerable southern border each year. These criminals are trafficking people and drugs, and ultimately, causing mayhem in our local communities. While our Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents are working hard to protect this nation, we are asking them to do more with less. President Donald Trump took a stand to get them the resources they need, and I commend him for his dedication to the protection of the United States of America.

To garner an adequate amount of funding after Congress failed to do its job, the president had no option but to declare a national emergency to draw on unused funds from other federal agencies. While I am disappointed that President Trump had to make this call at the fault of my liberal colleagues, I support him and his decision. He is continuing to put America first by making border security a top priority throughout this presidency.

Make no mistake, while I will always support President Trump using any and all means necessary to secure our border, I am also monitoring the status of the money given to Fort Hood, which I represent, for necessary military construction on barracks and other facilities. While the concern of those funds being forfeited is legitimate, Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has stated that military housing funds will not be touched, and I will do everything I can to ensure that promise is kept.

The president has made it clear that the security of our southern border can no longer fall to the wayside. While he is working hard to find solutions to this crisis, unsurprisingly, the left is using this opportunity to spout empty rhetoric regarding a joint resolution of termination to end the emergency status, which would be nothing more than political grandstanding against their president.

The fact is, last year, according to CBP.gov, our border patrol agents deemed 124,511 individuals inadmissible at the southern border. However, that doesn’t even come close to the 318,579 individuals that were apprehended between ports of entry on our southern border. The volume of those caught trying to cross illegally may have something to do with the fact that of our 2,000 miles of common border between the United States and Mexico, only 650 miles have fencing, and, according to USA Today, about “half is designed to stop only vehicles, not people.”

After looking at these numbers – after looking at the facts – how can Democrats actively oppose the president’s request to provide adequate funding to secure the southern border? How can Democrats go back to their hometowns and tell their constituents that they are fighting to protect them from illegal criminals, when all they are really doing is protecting themselves from the backlash of Nancy Pelosi and the power she holds over them as Speaker of the House?

The answer to all those questions is that Democrats hate their president more than they love their country. The Nancys and Chucks of the world would rather watch countless immigrants attempt to illegally cross our southern border and put American lives in danger, than help the president do what is right and what he promised.

The undertaking of securing our borders is no longer an option. President Trump is showing real political courage and doing the right thing to protect our country. It is past time for Democrats to get on board.

A Republican, Williams represents Austin in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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