There’s been a lot of talk about what Congress is doing to combat our border security crisis. House Republicans have the answers.
For the sake of our nation’s safety, we must effectively enhance our border security infrastructure. I’m the proud author of the Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) Homeland Security Appropriations bill which includes $1.6 billion for border wall construction. My bill provides for new border fencing and levee walls in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas as well as secondary fencing in San Diego. This is in addition to funds provided by my FY17 Homeland Security bill for replacement fencing in three different regions of our southern border.
Physically enhancing our border security works!
In the early 1990s, more than 500,000 people were apprehended as they attempted to illegally cross the border in the San Diego sector. To combat these illegal crossings, CBP installed security infrastructure improvements and the number of apprehensions plummeted to 25,000 in 2016. Similar success stories have occurred across the El Centro, Yuma, Tucson, and El Paso sectors. These proven enhancements are the very same strategies this bill funds.
From the Texas city of Brownsville to California’s San Diego, my bill spends our tax dollars wisely on security infrastructure proven to get the job done.
It reinforces current structures and installs sturdy, secure fencing where it is most needed. It implements smart, 21st-century technology to assist Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents. It acknowledges that in many areas, such as Texas’ Big Bend National Park and Arizona’s forbidding desert, Mother Nature has secured the border in ways that man need not enhance.
Appropriating taxpayer dollars for our national security is not a process I take lightly. Over the past year, I have met repeatedly with experts from CBP, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Department of Homeland Security. I’ve traveled to the border, heard testimony from our men and women on the front lines, and watched them in action. From equipment to training, I am proud to say my bill delivers the resources they’ve requested and need.
I’m a believer in the American Dream, and securing the border isn’t about denying opportunities to those yearning to breathe free and provide for their families. It’s about stopping international criminal organizations who seek to smuggle illegal goods, deal drugs, and engage in human trafficking. The weaknesses in our border that have been exploited so effectively by the cartels will also be exploited by the growing threats presented by ISIS or other terror groups. We cannot afford them this opportunity.
I tried tirelessly to emphasize our border security crisis to the past administration, but to no avail. Now we are at a tipping point, faced with the responsibility to strengthen our border. As our national security has dwindled over the past eight years, it is time to give our country the peace of mind it needs. My Homeland Security funding bill’s focus on national security and law enforcement is a step in the right direction. It sends a powerful message that if you seek to break our nation’s laws and attempt to cross the border illegally, you will not succeed.
Rep. John R. Carter represents Texas' 31st District, which includes Fort Hood, the largest active duty armored military installation in the free world. He serves as chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Appropriations, co-chairman of the Congressional Army Caucus, is on the Subcommittee for Commerce, Justice and Science and the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.