By L&T Publisher Earl Watt
Next Tuesday, we will all cast our votes (or already have) for some very important positions.
Most will be decided with a primary vote while other races will move on to the November general election.
There will be a number of offices, from U.S. Senate to our local county commissioners.
For some reason, we believe that the federal offices are more important when the reality is that the people we elect to local office have a much larger effect on our daily lives. For one, they can determine local property taxes, and they set the local rules we have to follow. Much of the federal legislation may never have the same impact on us.
It is important to participate in the process, to get involved and to know the positions of the various candidates.
There are some important issues that are national that do have an impact on us locally. One of those is the immigration policy.
I attended both visits last week from those running for the U.S. Senate, and this was one issue where they differed.
There are two completely different issues when dealing with immigration — border security and how to handle those who are already here illegally.
While the prior led to the latter, the solution and response is completely different for both.
Let’s first deal with those already here.
It is just not realistic to believe we will round up 15 to 30 million people and deport them. It is virtually impossible.
The political football is how to handle them. Dangerous terms like “amnesty” or a “path to citizenship” arise, and that’s when we start to muddy the waters.
The reason these are hotbed issues is because as soon as you do either, the magnet at the border will become so strong that many more will be trying to get around the rules on properly entering the United States.
We can’t have that discussion until the border is secured, and like it or not, that means a barricade.
This is where Milton Wolf and Pat Roberts differed.
Roberts wants to secure the border with electronic surveillance and drones, and Wolf wants to build a fence.
I, too, have considered alternatives to a fence. I have looked at a human fence, where each state sends National Guard soldiers to train and secure the border.
But the recent revelation of the children at the border has caused me to revisit that solution.
If children can walk across the border, we have to deal with their actions on our side. Drones and electronic surveillance will result in the same.
It would be like trying to protect your home by turning on the alarm system but leaving the front door wide open.
The only solution to a secure border is having a barrier, a wall.
President Barack Obama has asked for $3.2 billion to handle the 50,000 children. If we spent $500,000 per mile on the 6,000 mile border, we could build a wall for $3 billion.
If children knew they couldn’t get in, they would stop trying, and we wouldn’t have to deal with the fallout.
We need to build the fence.
Once the fence is built, we can discuss how to deal with those already here, but we cannot leave the border open and continue to pay for rides back to Central America or for the hidden costs of transportation within our borders, babysitting and aiding drug traffickers who use kids to do their dirty work.
I hope Roberts will reconsider his position on the border. Wolf believed in securing the border as well, and he didn’t suggest doing it with drones.
A physical border is required, and it can have a number of gates to allow those in who have followed the rules. We want immigrants to come here.
But just like our homes, we expect people to knock at the door before coming in, and our nation should be no different.
We should expect our leaders to push for the fence to solve this crisis and prevent others in the future.