With time rapidly diminishing for Congress to reach a bipartisan agreement on a spending bill to fund the government, the odds of a government shutdown occurring in the event of no deal being reached become greater.
One of the biggest issues of discussion that could prevent a deal from occurring is that of illegal immigration, as Democrats are demanding a “fix” for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or “DREAMers,” who were brought to the country illegally as children, while President Donald Trump is demanding funding for construction of his oft-promised border wall.
While virtually all Democrats — and even some Republicans — are opposed to funding construction of a border wall, one man with intimate knowledge of the need for such a barrier on the border has spoken up, and he’s made it clear that a wall needs to be built, even if it requires shutting down the government to do so.
That man is Lou Di Leonardo, a founding member of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who recently wrote an op-ed for Fox News that explained why a border wall is necessary.
First and foremost, Di Leonardo pointed to the vast influx of illegal immigrant workers and the impact they have had on our nation’s economy and workforce.
There are an estimated eight million illegal workers in the country right now, and those undocumented immigrants are often in direct competition with less-educated American citizens for entry-level employment, particularly in the manual labor and service sector industries, such as construction and restaurant jobs.
Those workers who work for cheaper than average wages, sometimes for less than minimum wage, and are paid off-the-books tend to drive down wages overall while leaving fewer opportunities for employment by out-of-work American citizens.
Tighter controls on immigration — such as the wall — would stem the flow of such illegal immigrant workers and open up opportunities for Americans to find work and see wages rise.
The second reason for the border wall, in Di Leonardo’s view, is to help fight the Mexican drug cartels whose illicit and dangerous products kill tens of thousands of Americans per year.
The vast majority of the drugs abused by Americans enter the country via Mexico and the cartels, and aside from the drugs, they are also bringing their violence and corruption with them into our country, placing American citizens at further risk.
As proof that a border wall would serve as a solution to reduce those two major problems, Di Leonardo pointed to Border Patrol sector of Yuma, Arizona, a once high-traffic main thoroughfare for illegal immigrants and drugs that received increased security measures via additional personnel and fencing in 2006.
That particular sector now enjoys one of the lowest rates of traffic — whether by immigrants on foot, or drug traffickers in vehicles — and should serve as an example for what Trump’s wall could do in other high-traffic areas along the border.
To be sure, Di Leonardo doesn’t hang all of his hopes for a secure border and strengthened nation on the construction of a wall, but also suggested mandating businesses make use of the free, online E-Verify system to check the legal status of potential employees — with a stiff fine for those who refuse to do so.
Use of the E-Verify system to weed out illegal immigrant workers, combined with stronger border security measures like the wall, would stem the flood of illegal workers and allow more Americans to enter the workforce at higher wages, strengthening our economy while at the same time serving to reduce the amount of illegal narcotics being consumed by the American people.
So if the Democrats want to shut down the federal government over illegal immigrants, let them, as Trump is on the winning side in this argument.
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