Securing the Texas border is an important and complex issue, but it’s not going away or getting any better by pretending it doesn’t exist. In Washington D.C. last week, I was encouraged as I met with Sen. John McCain from Arizona and some of Texas’ top leaders to discuss solutions for solving a problem our federal government would rather file under Out of Sight, Out of Mind.
Here in Texas, 1,200 miles of shared border with Mexico is front and center. That shared border is also a crossing point for the legal trade that creates countless jobs for both countries. Unfortunately, this thriving economic activity is disrupted daily by the harsh reality of cartel violence, human trafficking, drug smuggling and illegal immigration. Our historic partnership is endangered by a porous border that threatens a dynamic economic engine benefitting all of America. The drain on the American economy stemming from drugs, violence, loss of jobs, unpaid health care costs and social programs impacts each and every one of us whether we recognize it or not.
False claims of security do little to soothe the loss of life and disruption of everyday living. The influx of seedy criminals and the flow of undocumented workers and illegal immigrants is a weakness in America that imperils our citizens, livelihoods and economy. Curtailing illegal entry and punishing evildoers should not be debated; it must be accomplished. And it can be done in partnership with Mexico – without alienating our good neighbors to the south. Here at home, we need to stop making a secure border such a wedge issue. Instead, we should rally together to develop a winning solution.
We must secure our borders and reform our broken immigration system to allow for a legal workforce and legal trade. To ignore the current crisis we are facing or take a lax stance toward it is an affront to all those who worked hard to be here within the law. It’s also an egregious affront to our constitutional sovereignty. I look forward to working with Sen. McCain, our Texas delegation and others to enact new policy solutions.
Not taking part in the process to find answers is as bad as being part of the problem. Thankfully, there are willing and able leaders who would rather face this challenge head-on than hide from it.