It’s time to build the wall and fix our immigration system

With President Trump likely to undo Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) next week, it highlights yet again that our immigration system is fundamentally broken. Our system of admittance is a decades old program based largely on nepotism and family ties, rather than any logical system of governance that benefits Americans.

Rather than recruiting and attracting the best talent from other countries, our immigration system prioritizes bringing entire families. Combine this with our costly policies that allow illegal immigration across our southern border and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

{mosads}Jim Acosta’s press conference temper tantrum demonstrated a number of Americans no longer realize why a country would even control the flow of immigration. They stammer and stomp their feet about what they believe America stands for, but unfortunately are entirely uninformed on the history of American immigration policy.


During the 19th century, America largely had an open immigration policy as the country expanded and moved west, although, individual restrictions were placed on contract laborers, criminals, and in some cases entire countries. Those immigration laws were rewritten over the last century to implement greater controls over America’s immigration policies. These controls are especially necessary as progressives created greater and greater welfare programs.

Like it or not, we are a welfare society. Whether it’s healthcare, social security, unemployment, housing, or any of the other myriad of benefits Americans receive. Just Social Security and Medicare make up nearly 40 percent of the federal budget. Throw in Medicaid and you’re getting close to 50 percent. Naturalizing more citizens and enrolling more individuals with green cards further encumbers our welfare system. We know our welfare system is hugely overburdened and threatens to be entirely insolvent by within 20 years.

Thankfully, reforms in 1996 prevented those with green cards from receiving many federal benefits until they have lived in the country for at least five years and met work requirements, but we cannot pretend like admitting more people into the country has no effect.

The legislation recently introduced in the Senate, named the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act (RAISE) bill, is not some racist screed. It’s a clear, point based immigration system, very similar to systems already in place in Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Rather than admit people based on the luck of the draw or ties to family already in the country, the RAISE system grades specific qualities that are valuable for our society. That means more young, highly educated, fiscally prepared individuals that are likely to integrate well into American society.

This merit based system would help attract some of the best talent from around the world to come to our country and become Americans. But unfortunately that’s just not enough to deal with our immigration problems. Without serious proposals that actually build a wall on our southern border, problems will just continue.

When you hear the Democrats talk about the new plan for President Trump’s border wall, you’d be forgiven if you thought they were the party of fiscal restraint and responsible spending. They’re breaking out the apocalyptic language to call into question the need to secure America’s borders or do anything to prevent the stream of illegal immigrants. Which is ironic given the fact that roughly ten years ago, three Democrat Senators by the names of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Joe Biden voted to fund the Yuma Sector Wall to stop the flow of illegal crossings (and now Yuma has seen a 70 percent decrease in illegal crossings since 2006).

There are many costs involved with illegals coming into our country, from our education and health care systems to our welfare systems, but we cannot forget that one of the largest financial strains from increased illegal immigration is the increased cost for law enforcement and incarceration. Consider the Government Accountability Office’s study from 2011 in which 251,000 criminal illegals were found to have committed on average twelve crimes and been arrested on average seven times: hardly the best use of our law enforcement. That same study showed another interesting fact: 68 percent of the criminal illegals sitting in federal prison and 66 percent sitting in state prison were from one country: Mexico.

In addition to law enforcement resources dedicated to repeatedly arresting the same criminal illegals, the cost to incarcerate criminal illegals is nearly two billion in some years: a study shows Americans paid $1.87 billion to “house imprisoned illegal immigrants in fiscal year 2014.” As more criminal illegals cross the border, that number will only increase.

Those crimes not only harm Americans (and a great number of legal immigrants) but also sap valuable time from police officers. In California, thousands of prisoners were released early to make room for the tens of thousands of criminal illegal immigrants, which number over 72,000. This criminal element coming across the border also exacerbates the drug epidemic sweeping the country.

Compare these annual costs of law enforcement work and incarceration costs to the cost of a wall, which some think for a wall of 1,250 miles could be as high as $21.5 billion. Considering our annual ongoing costs of dealing with criminal illegals alone and that still looks like a bargain. As much as media elites want to pretend otherwise, this common-sense policy approach with changing our immigration system and building a wall would protect American citizens and make America stronger by enticing the best workers in the world to immigrate by modernizing the system.

Ned Ryun is a former presidential writer for George W. Bush and the founder and CEO of American Majority. You can find him on Twitter: @nedryun.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.

Tags Barack Obama DACA Hillary Clinton Immigration Joe Biden RAISE Act

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