We recently witnessed what may have been an unprecedented event in the history of American politics. While the president of the United States led a boisterous rally in El Paso, Texas, one of his likely challengers in the next election held his own rally in the same town at the same time, contradicting virtually everything the President said. The rhetoric at the anti-presidential rally made for a revealing, peek-behind-the-curtain look at the numerous fallacies and radical ideas of the anti-borders movement.
“Walls do not save lives. Walls end lives,” said failed Texas senate candidate, former congressman and progressive cult hero Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke. This was a direct challenge to President Trump’s declaration that “walls save lives.” It also raised the brow-furrowing question of exactly how a flat, inanimate object moored to ground ends lives.
Addressing an audience that was dwarfed by the President’s, O’Rourke elaborated:
“More than 4,000 children, women and men have died trying to come to this country. To work jobs that no one will take. To be with a family member, to flee horrific brutality and violence and death in their home countries.
“As we build these walls, 600 miles of the 2,000 mile border walled up and counting, we push them to ever more treacherous and remote stretches of the U.S.-Mexico border, thereby ensuring greater suffering and death. We stand for America, and we stand against walls.”
How many faulty premises did you catch in that? To support O’Rourke’s message is to accept that virtually endless waves of migrants passing illegally through our borders have a right to do so and should not be stopped. The crisis at the border is not the fault of migrants who choose to violate our immigration laws, you see, but America’s fault for pushing them to violate our laws via a more treacherous route.
To the extent that these migrants are facing hardship in their homelands, the only possible remedy is a one-way ticket to the United States and adding them to our already bloated social services recipient lists. No concern should be given to the fact that, by enabling the mass exodus of Central Americans to the United States, we are condemning those nations to a bleak future of kleptocracy and narco-terrorism rather than reform from within.
In what universe is any of that thinking “standing for America?” It’s quite the opposite.
President Trump’s wall position is truly standing for America, not to mention tethered to reality in a way that O’Rourke’s position is not. Based on the recommendations of our immigration enforcement professionals and the documented results in countries like Israel, India, and Turkey, physical barriers are an effective way to restrict the flow of those seeking to enter a country illegally. All the sloganeering and talking points from Capitol Hill and left-wing cable news channels cannot change that.
A physical barrier is important because much of what we have been told about illegal immigration and crime is proving to be false. Specifically, it has been widely accepted thanks to ad nauseam repetition that illegal aliens in the U.S. commit crimes at a lesser rate than American citizens and legal immigrants. Fresh data from the Federation for American Immigration Reform shows that illegal aliens are, on average, more than three times as likely to be incarcerated as those here legally. The study only looked at those held in state and local detention facilities in select states, so the reality is likely even more dangerous when factoring in federal prisons and all states. Indeed, other research has found that 26 percent of federal prisoners are illegal aliens. If that many violent criminals had been denied entry into the country and never committed their felonies, would America have been safer as a result? Only the most histrionic anti-borders zealots would fail to deduce the obvious answer.
As one might imagine, most of those jailed illegal aliens are not being held for tax evasion and perjury. Many have committed myriad violent crimes including murder, sexual assault and vehicular manslaughter. The result is a number of advocacy groups for families of those killed by illegal aliens. They believe that, if not for our failed immigration policies, their families would still be intact. Sadly, membership in those groups is steadily rising.
O’Rourke will no doubt continue his quixotic effort to convince Americans not to believe their lyin’ eyes and accept the tortured logic that a more secure America is somehow un-American. Meanwhile, President Trump and like-minded members of Congress should continue to keep the gas pedal floored in their efforts to secure the still-gaping holes on our border.
Brian Lonergan is director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of illegal migration.
Also published at: Brian Lonergan, Beto’s Clueless ‘Walls End Lives’ Argument, Townhall, February 19, 2019.