Building walls not the answer on immigration
This appeared in Dallas Morning News: The horrific death of at least 10 immigrants sneaking across Texas this weekend in the back of a tractortrailer rig with no air-conditioning is a tragic reminder of the lengths people will go to in pursuit of a better life. It’s small solace that the driver of that rig was arrested and charged Monday with illegally transporting the immigrants, nearly three dozen of whom were found in a Walmart parking lot in San Antonio.
The question we all should ponder now is this: What can we do to stave off such tragedies, and to shut down sinister underground enterprises that exploit a vulnerable, yet steady stream of desperate souls?
Telling people to come into the country legally doesn’t work. Those paths are few. And as the ringleaders of these human smuggling rackets well know, desperate people do desperate things.
That’s why we find the rhetoric from Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and other immigration saber-rattlers so troubling. Building walls, mass arrests, deportations — they are sound bites that play to the get-tough crowd but do little to actually solve the problem. Yes, border security is important. But the lure of a better life will forever tempt those trapped in despair.
Turning our backs on those fleeing violence or hopeless situations, as we’ve seen with the refugee crisis in Europe, simply shifts the burden elsewhere.
Immigration courts are clogged. Through October of last year, there were more than half a million immigration cases in the pipeline and a wait time of up to nearly three years. These are people trying to come here legally.
The consequences are dire: More opportunities for human smugglers to prey on those looking for any way out; more people sneaking into the country and living in the shadows. It’s not the American way.