Some people argue that it is compassionate and Christian to welcome the immigrants who illegally cross into the United States. On the contrary, it is uncaring and immoral to close our eyes to the crime on our southern border.
Failing to close our border to illegal immigration also means giving up the war on drugs. It is a fact that most illegal drugs entering the United States are smuggled in along the U.S.-Mexico border. Mexican drug cartels are even running illegal marijuana farms inside U.S. national parks, protected by booby traps and machine gun-carrying guards.
Human smuggling across U.S. borders is an organized criminal racket that ought to be stopped. The number of illegal crossings has significantly increased since Bush began talking about his guest-worker plan. That's no surprise; the amnesty granted in 1986 quadrupled the number of illegal immigrants.
Smugglers charge thousands of dollars for the promise to smuggle illegal immigrants across the border, and then often hold them for ransom until additional payments are made. Hundreds of border crossers die from thirst and dehydration when crossing the desert on foot, or in locked trucks without air or water.
How many people must die before the government seizes control of its borders and finally convinces smugglers and their clients that entering the United States illegally is not worth the risk?
Legal immigrants must be healthy to be admitted, but nobody is giving health examinations to the people smuggled across the border. Consequently, illegal immigrants are carrying in diseases that were formerly unknown in the United States. They are also reintroducing diseases, such as tuberculosis, malaria and leprosy, that had been eradicated in the United States decades ago.
Failure to control the U.S. border means that Arizonans live in fear of illegal immigrants who cross their land every night, tearing down fences and killing their livestock and pets. Many U.S. citizens believe they cannot go outside their own homes without a gun and a cell phone.
The most moral and humanitarian thing we can do is to erect a fence and double our border agents in order to stop the drugs, the smuggling racket, the diseases, and the crimes.
President Theodore Roosevelt left words that are relevant today about the folly of valuing people only for the low-paid work they do. "Never under any condition should this nation look at an immigrant as primarily a labor unit," he said. "We cannot afford to continue to use hundreds of thousands of immigrants merely as industrial assets while they remain social outcasts and menaces any more than 50 years ago we could afford to keep the black man merely as an industrial asset and not as a human being."
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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