Opinion: We need to secure our southern border

Laura Cox

During the 2016 campaign then candidate Donald Trump came to Michigan many times, but each time with the same message. His message was that in order to make America Great Again we needed to get tough on trade, strengthen our military and secure our borders. His message first excited Michigan Republicans who gave him a victory in our primary election and then the entire Michigan electorate who carried him to victory and delivered Michigan’s 16 electoral votes.

The people of Michigan embraced President Trump’s trade message because our workers and companies have been victims of unfair trade practices from other nations like China and Mexico. We embraced his border policy because our blue-collar workers have had their wages driven down by cheap illegal labor that was allowed to flow into our country and our communities have been poisoned by the drugs and gangs that also flow across an unsecured border.

I understand well the threats we face from illegal drug trafficking organizations having served for 13 years as an undercover customs agent. A staggering fact; the average Americans’ odds of dying from an accidental opioid drug overdose are higher than that from a car crash according to the National Safety Council. 130 Americans die of an opioid overdose each day, one every 11 minutes, over 47,450 each year. We spend billions and billions tracking down dealers, giving treatment to those addicted, and burying the dead.

Enough is enough.

President Trump is now standing strong to keep his promise to provide better security on our southern border including building a wall. Unfortunately, Michigan Democrats serving in Washington refuse to fund the wall and are causing the current partial government shutdown. Sen. Gary Peters, Reps. Elissa Slotkin, Haley Stevens, and others prefer to stand with D.C. Democrats in resistance to securing the border instead of standing with Michigan voters who want border security. The inaction of Peters, Slotkin and Stevens results in our communities being less secure, our workers’ wages held back, and families of federal workers going without paychecks.

These Democrats stand in the way of a more secure border. Why do we know walls work? Because those serving on the front lines in the Border Patrol, Customs and Border Protection, and ICE all tell us they work, but the D.C. Democrats like Peters, Slotkin and Stevens refuse to even listen. Their goal seems to be political power for themselves instead of a secure America for us all.

In this Jan. 2, 2019, photo, a border patrol office inside his vehicle guards the border fence at the U.S. side of San Diego, Calif., as seen from Tijuana, Mexico. As the U.S. government remains shut down over President Donald Trump’s insistence on funding for his border wall, nearly half of Americans identify immigration as a top issue for the government to work on this year. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

In addition to my service as a customs agent, I come from a family of service. My father served as a sailor in the U.S. Navy, my husband served as a Marine during the Cold War, my daughter served in combat as a Marine in Fallujah, Iraq, and my son is currently a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy training to serve our nation. We all served and continue to serve because we love this country and the freedom every American treasures. We also know that we cannot be a nation without secure borders.

It’s about time D.C. Democrats like Peters, Slotkin and Stevens remember they represent us and are paid to serve us. We voted for secure borders, the wall and a government that works. Now they need to fund the wall and open the government. Get to work because continued inaction is a fireable offense!

Laura Cox is a former Mich. state representative who is running for chair of the Michigan Republican Party.