December 23, 2021
By Brian Lonergan
Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s recent unveiling of new border wall construction, funded through state and private funds, is cause for both optimism and despair. Optimism because at least some elected leaders at the highest levels of government are willing to take action to protect the country and its citizens. Despair due to the fact that state officials feel obligated to step up only because our enfeebled commander-in-chief is either unwilling or unable to do the job.
While defunding the border wall construction initiated by Donald Trump may be a popular idea in trendy, progressive enclaves like Brooklyn and Palo Alto, most Americans are seeing the overwhelmingly negative consequences of the move. This would include a record high of 1.7 million illegal border crossings in the last year, while growing numbers of opioids smuggled across the border have elevated fentanyl overdoses to the number one cause of death among U.S. adults between the ages of 18 and 45.
The fevered urgency to stop wall construction was based not on evidence that it would improve the situation at the border, but by the knee-jerk reactions of those on the anti-borders Left to do the opposite of everything Trump did on policies large and small. The same people who complained that new wall construction at the border was a waste of taxpayer money pushed Joe Biden to enact policy that resulted in vast numbers of already paid-for steel wall sections costing more than $5,000 each to sit unused near the border as a near-limitless flow of illegals enter the country. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates that $350 million in wall materials are sitting idle in the desert, likely never to be used.
To add further insult, former Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott said in an interview that the administration at one point was paying wall contractors almost $5 million per day not to build the wall.
The cost of the Biden White House’s border malfeasance goes far beyond financial. We recently learned that a Saudi national was apprehended in the Yuma border sector wearing an emergency medical service uniform from upstate New York. Border Patrol agents have reported interacting with border crossers from numerous terror states including Iran. The September 11 attacks showed us how devious those committed to killing Americans can be. If such people were planning another large-scale attack on the U.S., our southern border in its current porous state would be the most logical point of entry. Those sworn to protect us from enemies foreign and domestic, meanwhile, turn a blind eye to the obvious national security threat at our doorstep.
After hearing ad nauseam the tiresome claim that “walls don’t work,” we now have an apples-to-apples comparison. During the salad days of robust Trump-era border enforcement, illegal entries in the Yuma sector with a new border wall system dropped a staggering 87 percent from 2019 to 2020. Contrast that with just a year under Biden’s stewardship including a halt to new wall construction, when Customs and Border Protection reported that since Oct.1 of this year, the number of migrant encounters in Yuma has increased by a staggering 2,647 percent.
Yes, walls work. So do deportations, the Migrant Protection Protocols, cracking down on asylum fraud and myriad other effective policies that Biden shut down in January.
Regardless of whether the state wall in Texas survives the inevitable legal challenges, Abbott deserves credit for simply taking action at the border. One is hard-pressed to find a precedent to this action. Has a governor ever been compelled to act on a national security crisis because the sitting president of the United States refused to do so? This would be akin to then-New York Gov. George Pataki in 2001 unilaterally sending National Guard troops to Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks to fight Al Qaeda because George W. Bush declared there was no crisis. It should not come to this, yet here we are.
Even as its supporters decry the border wall, the White House is admitting through its actions that the wall is necessary. With Biden’s approval ratings hemorrhaging in large part due to his mishandling of the border, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced that it would be “closing small gaps that remain open from prior construction activities and remediating incomplete gates.” In reality-speak, it will be filling in some open sections of the border wall project, and hoping anti-borders zealots don’t show up with pitchforks en masse outside the White House gates.
The DHS announcement reeks of a desperate, election-season gimmick, and that’s exactly what it is. Unfortunately for Biden and his acolytes, the damage is already done. The American people have witnessed too many chaotic scenes at the border, and they know who caused it.
Brian Lonergan is director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration.
Also published at: Brian Lonergan, Abbott Safeguarding America Because Biden Won’t, American Greatness, December 23, 2021.
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