I have traditionally shied away from commenting on the immigration debate because it's such a polarized and emotional debate, and I try to keep my analysis as even-tempered and available to readers as possible. I don't like to alienate potential readers who want to learn more about events in Mexico by spouting my personal opinions about illegal immigration. And don't worry, I'm not going to start doing that now. It's just that with all the crazy events going on right now along the border - as well as in our nation's capital - I wanted to offer some thoughts about the confluence, as well as the divergence, of the concepts of immigration and border security.
Just the term "border security" means different things to different people. Some people believe a secure border implies NO ONE who isn't allowed into the US actually gets in. This means terrorists, illegal immigrants (from any country), and drug smugglers. Other people believe a secure border means that only people who are criminals or mean us harm are consistently caught and prevented from entering. I was reading an opinion piece in Reuters this morning, and the author explained how no border can truly be 100% secure, meaning no one gets in and out without the authorities noticing and approving. I have to agree with that. I mean, you can build an electrified fence that covers every square inch of the 2,000-mile US-Mexico border, but both good and bad people will find creative ways to get across. We've seen this in all major border lockdowns, like countries behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War, and even Cuba.
In light of recently growing tensions over border incidents, the AZ immigration law, and illegal immigration in general, we have to place the debate over border security in some kind of perspective. That means asking the question of ourselves AND the federal government, "What does it mean to have a secure border?" You have to know that we will NEVER keep ALL criminals and illegal immigrants from entering the US through our southwest border. Knowing that's the case, we have to prioritize because our law enforcement agencies have limited financial and logistical resources. In my opinion, we need to focus first on keeping people out who mean to do us harm or engage in dangerous/violent criminal activity on US soil. This includes terrorists, drug smugglers, human smugglers, DTO members, and gang members who work for DTOs.
Again, knowing our law enforcement agencies can't stop everyone, I'm willing to acknowledge that I have to be OK with the continuation of illegal immigration to some extent. I'm NOT okay with immigrants trashing our land, or trespassing on private property, or robbing/assaulting innocent Americans who get in their way. I do know that there are many illegal immigrants who come to the US from Mexico who don't engage in criminal behavior. I'm not saying it's any less of a violation of federal laws that they're here, but when it comes to the concept of border security, we have to look at who and what is making our border INsecure.
I know many of you - and maybe most of you - have very strong opinions about immigration, drugs, and guns, and your opinions are what make civil debates in my comments sections so lively and interesting. Many of you will probably disagree with me, and I'm totally OK with that. It's a free country after all! I just felt the need to explain that a secure border doesn't necessarily imply a complete border lockdown. It means that ALL Americans, whether they live in the SW border states or elsewhere, can feel safe and secure in their homes, and free from the dangers posed by terrorists and smugglers who attempt to enter our country surreptitiously. The illegal immigration debate often crosses paths with the border security debate, but I implore my readers to try to keep this in mind: When you can't keep everyone out, a secure border means you can effectively keep the BAD people out. We're not there yet, but our law enforcement agencies trying to do that can probably benefit from a government that realizes it needs to focus on what border security really means.