A view From the Rio Grande

We hear calls from people on the left and some in the Republican Party to launch what they call a humanitarian effort along our southern border. They tell us we must care for the illegal immigrant minors coming into our country and mustn’t send them back home. Having checked these arguments against my heart, my head, and my recent experience along the border, I have a one word response: No.

To those who disagree, I say go to the Rio Grande Valley and speak with the American citizens with whom I spoke.  Spend a week along the border as I did, talking to local sheriffs and residents, and learn about the real problems along our border.

Local residents have seen a flood of illegal immigrants pouring into their cities over the last two years and crime against persons and property has spiked during that time. Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez from Del Rio, Texas, spoke of rampant theft, with everything from TVs and washing machines to copper wiring stolen from people’s homes, put on rafts, and floated across the river into Mexico. I saw evidence of a bullet riddled house where a young mother and her children had to crawl and hide under their beds for safety when a gang of illegal immigrants started shooting outside their home.  

To understand the crime wave in Del Rio, all one need do is look at our border security there.  Del Rio has a 2.8 mile stretch of fence along the border. To put that in context, the border between Texas and Mexico is 1,200 miles long. Local residents mock the fence because they know illegals just walk around it and enter the U.S., with well-worn footpaths along the eastern edge of the fence attesting to the ease with which our laws are broken. If the situation were not so dire, it would be fodder for Jon Stewart.

Then there are the coyotes – evil people who smuggle human beings across the border for money.  Retired Sheriff Sigi Gonzales, who founded the organization Border Sheriff's Coalition, explained that on at least one occasion, coyotes were driving through the Rio Grande with a trunkload of illegal immigrants.  When they were cornered by the authorities, they abandoned the vehicle, watching as it sank in the river with their human cargo locked in the trunk.

Meanwhile, the media are blocked from the detention centers where young children cry themselves to sleep, wanting their parents back home. Reports too often ignore how dangerous the trek through Central America to the United States can be and we’re now learning that many of these so-called “children” are 16, 17 and 18 year old boys, often seeking work and perfect recruits for MS-13 and other gangs.

Many fail to realize or admit how this administration has tempted people to enter the United States illegally, subjecting them to this evil in the process. President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program – another one of his executive dictates that flouts the written laws of this nation – is sending a signal to people across Central and South America that if they just get into our country, they are going to be able to stay. It is the wrong signal at every conceivable level.

It is neither moral nor compassionate to encourage parents to send off their children to embark on a life-or-death trek with an uncertain outcome. It is unconscionable to put children at risk of falling prey to violent gangs, drug cartels or the sex trade, all of which happens while putting our own hard working American families who live on the border in danger.

We treasure legal immigration and are squarely against illegal immigration. There is already a legal path to citizenship for those wishing to come to the United States and our government should not reward those who choose to get off that path, cut the line, and break the law.  It is immoral and unfairly punishes those who chose to follow the law and play by the rules.

By respecting the rule of law and securing the border, we will send a message to the rest of the world that we welcome immigrants who come here legally and reject those who do not.  If the White House and Congress will not send this message, the American people must send it - to foreign capitals and Washington alike.

Martin is co-founder of Tea Party Patriots.

More in Lawmaker News

Congressional e-newsletters reveal range of views on Iran deal

Read more »