In 2023 I wrote a column expressing concern about our southern border, especially with the Biden Administration rolling back previous Republican policies.
In the aftermath, a number of media outlets spun a narrative that everything was fine, nothing to see here and that Republicans were “pouncing” and “seizing” and that the Biden Administration had everything under control.
How wrong they were.
Before I discuss the utter calamity at our border, I want to restate that I’m an immigrant myself. I come from a family of immigrants. I’m also Catholic and I believe in love thy neighbor and being compassionate, especially to those less fortunate.
America was founded by immigrants and with the idea that if you worked hard, paid taxes and contributed to society, that you would get a fair shake, a fair chance.
America wasn’t founded on the idea that you could be trafficked here illegally. That you could be sold into modern-day slavery. We abolished slavery a long time ago. America wasn’t founded on the idea that you could work illegally, not pay taxes, or be taken advantage of by unscrupulous landlords or bosses.
And that is exactly what is happening due to the inability to control our border. This is a national disgrace, and this will only get worse if the Democrats stay in the White House.
Here are some firm examples of the problems we now face.
Per an internal alert sent out by Border Patrol’s Tucson, Arizona, sector intel unit, some illegal immigrants from Guinea are using fraudulent/altered passports to change their age and masquerade as unaccompanied minors to get into the U.S.
The notice says agents have seen an influx of these fraudulent Guinea passports. It warns them on what to look out for, and advises that any passports issued in the Guinea municipality of Conakry after June 2023 are “most likely fraudulent or altered.”
An Iranian national with ties to terrorism crossed illegally into the U.S. from Canada near Niagara Falls and was arrested by the Border Patrol.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced on Dec. 29 they have removed him back to Canada, where he is a permanent resident and “national security priority” who is wanted by Canadian authorities on assault charges. He tried to enter the U.S. through the northern border twice.
We are now at over 760,000 migrant encounters since Oct. 1, making the first quarter of fiscal year 2024 also the highest ever recorded. That’s a population size bigger than Seattle in just three months.
These are just three examples. I could write a column each month for the rest of 2024 detailing examples. We can sit and complain, or we can do something about it.
Republicans are insisting that any new funding for Ukraine must also see funding for the border and an immigration clampdown. We cannot talk about national security without controlling our border.
A major demand by Republicans is to make changes to asylum law to set a higher bar for migrants to claim asylum and to curb the Biden administration’s use of its parole authority.
Republicans want new laws that would deny asylum to any migrant who passed through a third country while traveling to the U.S., or who did not enter the U.S. at an official port of entry along a border.
These changes target the fact that most migrants who cross into the U.S. without documentation – and apply for asylum – come from countries other than Mexico.
These are all sensible steps.
We must also roll out nationwide what Florida has done. Florida has implemented E-Verify as part of recent immigration measures.
It is now a felony if you traffic an undocumented immigrant into Florida and hospitals are required to ask for your immigration status.
A Republican bill introduced in the House of Representatives would end catch-and-release and introduce a system of verifying migrants’ status before they could work in the U.S.
All of these measures would help to ensure that we move to a model of legal immigration, removing the ability for people to be trafficked into our country, for criminals to get into our country and to provide stronger border control.
Whoever is president after the election must make this a priority.
Neil Fitzgerald is an international nonprofit leader having served in the U.S., U.K. and globally for various nonprofit and charity boards. He served as a conservative council member in the U.K. and as a campaign manager. “Right Here, Right Now” appears Saturdays and rotates among local Republicans.