Opinion: The wall is compassionate immigration policy

Brandon Judd
The Democrats have opposed President Trump on border security every step of the way, making it nearly impossible for our Border Patrol agents to do their jobs effectively, Judd writes.

Building President Trump’s wall on the U.S.-Mexico border is the most compassionate thing that we can do for the Mexican people and the millions of foreign nationals who want to enter our country illegally.

As it stands today, our immigration system is clearly not strong enough to withstand the surge of immigrants streaming across our border — and much of the blame inevitably falls on the Democrat Party and their obstruction tactics.

Instead of giving immigration authorities the resources that they need to properly catch and process them, the Democrats have opposed President Trump on border security every step of the way, making it nearly impossible for our Border Patrol agents to do their jobs effectively.

Now, we’re facing an unprecedented surge of border-crossers that is stretching our resources to the “breaking point,” according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kevin McAleenan. More than 100,000 immigrants were apprehended in March alone, the highest number for a single month in 12 years, and experts project that the total for 2019 will exceed one million people.

This is the worst crisis the Border Patrol has faced in its entire history, which dates to 1924. In my 21-year career as a Border Patrol agent, I’ve never seen anything like it.

The threat that illegal immigration poses to American communities is well-known, but there are also negative consequences for our southern neighbor, Mexico, and for the immigrants themselves.

It’s important to remember that drug cartels and other criminal organizations control the smuggling operations that bring illegal drugs across the U.S.-Mexico border. While the Democrats reap the political benefits of a broken immigration system, the cartels make billions of dollars from misplaced liberal “compassion” that views any effort to enforce our immigration laws as “immoral.”

The power and wealth those cartels have accumulated by exploiting America’s poorly defended border has had a devastating impact on Mexico, fueling a seemingly interminable drug war that has cost the country tens of billions of dollars, led to well over 100,000 killings, and destabilized its government through widespread bribery of public officials and law enforcement officers. In fact, cartel violence has turned Mexico into the second deadliest conflict zone in the world.

Indeed, the flow of drugs across the southern border is simply staggering. In January, President Trump stressed that “the cost of illegal drugs exceeds $500 billion a year,” noting that the border is “a pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs, including meth, heroin, cocaine and fentanyl.”

While we can’t end this tragedy overnight, securing the border would be a devastating blow to the drug cartels. In 2016, the Center for Immigration Studies found that a physical barrier on the U.S.-Mexico border would “sharply interdict” the drug trade and “save untold lives.”

Sadly, however, drug smuggling is only part of the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe at the border. Human trafficking also thrives thanks to our weak immigration laws — and women and children are the ones who pay the price.

According to a 2014 study, 80 percent of Central American women and girls are raped while attempting to illegally cross the border into America. A recent investigative report from the New York Times even revealed that some women continue to be raped by smugglers even after making it across the border, noting that many of these horrific crimes remain unreported.

Fortunately, the federal government has a simple remedy at its disposal that would dramatically improve the humanitarian crisis on both sides of the border — enforcing America’s immigration laws.

All human behavior is governed by a simple law — people respond to incentives. Just as decades of lax enforcement created the current crisis by lowering the burden for those who wish to enter the U.S. illegally, we can reverse the trend by making a firm commitment to border security and raising the cost of illegal immigration.

Enabling this humanitarian and security crisis to continue through inaction is not compassionate. If we really want to show compassion for our neighbors, we should build the border wall so that we can put an end to the rampant illegal immigration that is inflicting so much human suffering.

Brandon Judd is the president of the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC), the exclusive labor representative of approximately 16,000 Border Patrol agents.