Opinion

Letter to the Editor: Build the wall

Since the government shutdown began, the Rio Grande Valley Sector Border Patrol has apprehended over 14,000 illegal immigrants. Also confiscated were 14,000 pounds of marijuana and 800 pounds of cocaine. Since October 2018, the South Texas Border Patrol has arrested over 100 illegal immigrants that are suspected to be El Salvadoran gang members. The number does not include other illegal immigrants who are affiliated with criminal gangs.

Of course, this is just the top of the iceberg in that over 3,000 illegal immigrants enter the U.S. illegally each and every day. This has gone on for years and years with no reform in our immigration laws to halt this influx across our border or manage them once they are in our country.

In 1986 the Simpson — Mazzoli Immigration Reform Act passed through the House and Senate, was signed into law and gave over 3 million illegal immigrants permanent residency. Now we have over 14 million more illegal immigrants among us.

I was stationed in South Texas during the late 1980s until my retirement in 2003. We were inundated with undocumented illegal immigrants. In my station’s 45-mile area of responsibility we averaged apprehending 8 to 10 thousand illegal immigrants per month. Of this large number apprehended, 80 percent were from Central America. At first we tried detaining the immigrants, however soon we were overrun and not able to provide adequate detention facilities for the large numbers of individuals apprehended.

The political solution to this invasion across out border was to bring all of the undcoumented aliens to our Border Patrol Office, interview, fingerprint and photograph each undocumented subject. In addition we were to determine the destination of these individuals, contact the nearest Immigration Office to where they were destined. We would then call that Immigration Office, for instance, the undcoumented person or family unit would state they were destined to Newark, New Jersey. A call would be placed to the Newark office, an immigration hearing date would be given for the undocumented immigrants. Of course the undocumented immigrants promised to appear for their scheduled immigration hearing. A study later determined that approximately 5 percent actually showed up for their first immigration hearing.

We need the wall. The first barrier/fence was constructed south of San Diego near the boarder with Tijuana, Mexico. The San Diego barrier resulted to a 90 percent reduction in illegal border crossing. No, this is not 100 percent but it’s a whole lot better than earlier days in southern California in the mid to late 1970s when I was stationed there and we apprehended nearly 40,000 per month. At that time, no one cared about illegal migration as California was a magnet for the undocumented aliens as employment was readily available.

Other countries such as Israel, Spain, Hungary, Austria, Greece and Norway have constructed barriers to stem the tide of illegal immigrants.

When you build a wall to keep people out, that’s an expression of sovereignty. The wall is not 100 percent but will reduce illegal migration to a manageable trickle. Once we build the wall, then we can deal with the 14 million illegal immigrants. We can legalize the 14 million, not citizenship, but legalize their status in the U.S. We can’t give them citizenship, this would be rewarding them for entering illegally. This is not a compromise meant to appease both sides. If we did it right we would solve the problem as a nation untied.

- John Brinning of West Chester