YOUR questions answered by Center for Immigration Studies

By Marguerite Telford on May 23, 2019

Burnet News Club, May 20, 2019

Q) Is migration a bad thing? From encouraging_bell, Morley Newlands Academy

A) Migration can be good, if done according to international and national laws and in a way that puts America’s interest first.

Individuals migrate for various reasons. Some are legal labor migrants who come to the U.S. to work in temporary agricultural (farming) jobs or in jobs that need specific talents and experience, or they come to be with their family. Some migrants are asylum seekers, fleeing persecution. At the moment, the U.S. brings in over one million legal immigrants a year and over half a million short-term workers and students.

Unfortunately, not everyone follows the law. We have over 11 million illegal immigrants in this country. Whether they crossed the border without being found, applied for asylum then did not show up for their court hearing, or committed fraud to come in to the U.S, they are in the country illegally and not following the laws that apply to national sovereignty and migration.

Illegal immigration comes at a cost to American communities in the form of national security risks, lost job opportunities, wage stagnation, higher tax bills due to increased costs for welfare benefits and health services, and public safety. When legal immigration is too high, it causes many of these same issues.

We are a nation based on the rule of law. Immigration can provide important benefits to our country, but it needs to be done legally, and it needs to be controlled so as not to overwhelm American workers and American social services.

Q) Who gave trump the idea to build the wall in the first place? From honorable_bilberry, Portobello High School

A) There are many reasons to support President Trump’s commitment to building a wall at the southern border. A barrier at the border is key to stopping human traffickers, the drug trade across the border, and the smuggling of cash and weapons. An insecure border also encourages the illegal entry of tens of thousands of individuals from all over the world every month, some who may pose a danger. Barriers force migrants to the ports of entry, where they can be safely processed, rather than entering vast areas of desert where migrants, both adult and children, die every year.

Up to 17,500 people are trafficked into the United States each year, most through our southern border. Forced prostitution, sweatshops, and agricultural exploitation are all possible because of gaps in the border.

Americans of all ages suffer from addiction due to the marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines the Mexican cartels send to the U.S. Every week, 300 Americans are killed by heroin alone, 90% of which floods across our southern border. The cartels then make money from taking their proceeds back to Mexico, at the gaps in the border.

A physical barrier allows police to carry out their missions more safely and effectively, preventing even more deadly drugs and criminals from crossing our border in undermanned areas. A barrier makes it more difficult for vehicles - carrying large numbers of migrants or amounts of drugs - to cross the border. We do not have the resources to have border patrol agents along the entire border, so a barrier is the next best thing - it deters entry and delays the entry of anyone who tries to cross, allowing border patrol officers time to respond.

A wall, a fence, or a double fence on the border would make human trafficking, the cross-border drug trade, and the smuggling of cash and weapons less of a threat.

Q) Why does Donald Trump not like the Mexicans? From noble_crab, Michael Faraday School

A) The United States is experiencing a high level of illegal immigration. Those illegally crossing our border come from many countries; when I was at the border recently, I visited a shelter that held Russians, Cubans, and Syrians. But, a large percentage of those breaking our laws by entering have been from Mexico.

As with any large group of people, there will be certain people who want to do harm. Non-citizens make up just 8% of the adult population, but account for 26% of federal prisoners. Many have been convicted of serious crimes, like murder, kidnapping, and sexual assault. We have a problem with violent gangs in America, and many of the members are here illegally. Nearly 60% of alien gangsters arrested by immigration law enforcement were from Mexico.

The President is one of the few politicians who points out that not every person who enters is a benefit to our country, and he has spent time with victims of illegal immigrant crime and their families. There are those who don’t distinguish between citizens, legal aliens, and illegal aliens – but our laws and constitution do. Calling the president names is a way to avoid debating the positives and negatives of different immigration policies for Americans. Saying that the president simply does not like Mexicans does not lead to a productive discussion, and does not help solve our issues.

Barbara Jordan, Chairman of the US Commission on Immigration Reform, created by President Clinton, said, “Immigration, like foreign policy, should be a place where the national interest comes first, last, and always.” I believe Trump would agree with her statement and as the leader of the U.S., he is sworn to always keep our safety and economic well-being a priority. None of this means he dislikes Mexicans. It means he cares about Americans.

Q) What do you think of Donald trump building a wall? From coherent_fruit, Skellefteå

A) The idea of a physical barrier at the border to stop the flood of migrants, along with drug- and human-trafficking gangs, from entering the U.S. did not start with President Trump. Democrats and Republicans before him have known that a barrier slows down individuals and vehicles, which might otherwise easily cross the border in understaffed areas. With a 1,954 mile border, the U.S. will never be able to line the entire border with border patrol officers.

President Trump knew that barriers had worked in the past. San Diego, El Paso, Tucson, and Yuma all experienced major decreases after the government put barriers there. For example, El Paso experienced a 72% drop in one year and 95% over 22 years.

The president wouldn’t even have to speak with border experts to understand that walls work. Everyone I know has a front door on their house that they lock at night and when they are not home. Many have fences or walls surrounding their property because the barrier keeps their property and loved ones safe.

President Trump also knew about the fencing in Hungary, which was put up when hundreds of thousands of migrants were flooding over that border. In addition, the president had heard about the barrier between Israel and Palestine, which has stopped suicide bombers by reducing crossings by 99 percent.

Finally, the president knew about the report produced by President Clinton’s Commission on Immigration Reform. It reads: “Our patience is growing thin toward those attempting to overwhelm the will of the American people by acts that ignore, manipulate, or circumvent our immigration laws. Unless this country does a better job in curbing illegal immigration, we risk irreparably undermining our commitment to legal immigration.”