Priority 1: Secure our border
Our border with Mexico poses a real danger. Not only for the obvious and repeated legal, societal and economic reasons, but for those who make the dangerous decision to cross it.
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I maintain a part-time residence about 80 miles north of Nogales. I speak from direct observation.
Agents of the moving immigrants industry, known as "coyotes," recruit individuals from throughout South America, offering transit across the border for a price of $3,000 per head, up. After the crossing into the desert, at the first sign of trouble, the coyotes abandon their charges, frequently leaving them to sickness or death if they are not rescued by a rancher or border patrolman. Many are driven further inland toward Phoenix and distribution, sometimes 15 under a tarp in a pickup truck of 20 in a van. Many of these vehicles crash upon fleeing from the authorities, with resultant death and injury.
These are human beings. Securing the border will be a disincentive not only to those who smuggle undocumented immigrants across the border, but also to those who would traffic weapons and drugs.
Congressman Peter Roskam has said that the first thing that needs to be taken care of with regards to immigration is to secure the border, which is exactly the right response. If Congress can address this issue as a separate piece of legislation, lives could be saved.
I'm hoping that the approach taken by Congressman Roskam on immigration reform is the one that Congress adopts. Addressing each of the issues in a deliberate, step-by-step approach, starting with securing the border, is the responsible way to push immigration reform.