With the federal government facing a potential shut down over the spending bill, Lou Di Leonardo, a founding member of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), says shut down or not, leaving our border unsecured any longer is not an option.
Congress has yet to agree on a spending bill, as President Donald J. Trump wants it to include funding for the border wall he promised the American people during his 2016 campaign. House and Senate Republicans have both created draft spending bills that include $1.6 billion for the wall, but Democrats have threatened to shut down the government over the issue, vowing not to fund the wall.
If a decision is not reached by a deadline of Dec. 8, which is expected to be extended to Dec. 22, the government will shut down.
Leonardo says the wall is no small matter, and that it’s worth the potential consequences. He says illegal labor has “devastated working-class Americans’ economic prospects and made it harder for vulnerable Americans to find employment.”
In a column published on FOX News, he wrote:
The influx of illegal laborers increases the supply of workers. There are currently at least 8 million illegal laborers in the United States. Over half crossed the border illegally and the rest overstayed their temporary visas.
The illegal workers compete against less-educated Americans for the same manual labor and service-sector jobs, especially in industries like construction and landscaping.
Thanks to this pool of cheap illegal labor, corporations feel little need to raise wages and attract American workers. U.S.-born workers lose up to $118 billion a year due to illegal immigration, according to George Borjas of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
One in six American high-school dropouts is unemployed or has left the labor market entirely.
Less-educated Americans lucky enough to find jobs have seen their pay shrink or stagnate. Illegal immigration costs the average U.S.-born worker without a high school diploma about $800 a year in lost wages.
According to Leonardo, strengthening security at the border would help. He says aside from illegal individual crossing there, Mexican drug cartels and their “brutally violent” traffickers “take advantage of our porous border” and “lax border security” to smuggle drugs which kill “tens of thousands of Americans annually.”
Noting the cartels’ history of murder and violence, which has spilled over into America from Mexico, he says a border wall would “improve safety” at the border. He cites programs such as the Yuma, Arizona, Border Patrol Sector’s 2006 initiative, known as Operation Jump Start, which “dramatically” increased the number of agents in the region and built new fencing along parts of the border.
“Within a year,” Leonardo note, “the number of violent attacks in the Yuma Border Patrol Sector went from around 200 to zero.”
Leonardo acknowledges that “a border wall alone won’t fully solve the many problems stemming from illegal immigration,” and suggests mandatory e-Verify be implemented to confirm that applicants are legal before they are hired. But he does feel that a border wall would help bring about an end to massive crossings by illegals.
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