When President Trump delivers his address to the nation Tuesday night, I really hope he doesn’t drone on and on about the border wall. I wish he’d stop focusing on a wall altogether.

But don’t lump me in with groups like the Becoming American Initiative, who claim we don’t need a wall and somehow equate the scores of immigrants who came legally through Ellis Island with the drug dealers, human traffickers, and hardened criminals we’d like to keep from entering our country.

A commercial BAI released Tuesday highlighted a Ronald Reagan speech from 1980 in which he called Ellis Island a “Golden Door” and praised the contributions these (legal) immigrants made to the development of our country. They conveniently ignored something Reagan said at the end of his presidency when he explained how he pictured the “shining city on a hill” he had referred to throughout his presidency. Reagan said (emphasis mine):

“[I]n my mind it was a tall, proud city, built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds, living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors, and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get there. That’s how I saw it, and see it still….After 200 years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter the storm.”

I agree that the doors to our shining city should be open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. A critical part of “the will and the heart” is the desire to positively contribute to this shining city and to not diminish those already living there in harmony and peace. Having the will and the heart includes following the laws that are established for the benefit of all.

But I digress.

The reason that Trump should shut up about the wall is because what is necessary to truly secure our border goes far beyond a wall, and because every day that our border security is lax is another day that cartels use our failures as a tool to fund their own destructive and evil empires.

Trump should tell the people of our country that the border isn’t uncontrolled; it’s controlled by cartels who charge poor, desperate people thousands of dollars (between $3,000 and $30,000 US) for “safe” passage into our country. It’s controlled by scumbags who drag women and children through toxic waste-filled waters on their journey into the United States. It’s controlled by soulless maniacs who bring the cocaine, heroin, opioids, and more, some laced with fentanyl, into our country and feed the addiction monster. It’s controlled by depraved souls who see young girls as a product to be trafficked, as another income stream. It’s controlled by a sophisticated syndicate whose access to funding, military-grade surveillance tools, drones, weapons, and more far surpasses what is available to the US Border Patrol and other federal law enforcement agencies. It’s controlled by men who bring members of Hezbollah and Hamas into Mexico to train their “soldiers.”

Trump should tell the people of our country the types of stories I have heard from Border Patrol agents over the last year, including one about a 12-year-old girl found naked, not far from the border, with Plan B contraceptives nearby. He should tell them about the people who’ve attempted to scale existing fencing in the San Ysidro sector who were violently pushed from the top of the fence, sustaining life-threatening injuries, by coyotes attempting to create a distraction so the rest of their “clients” could get away from the Border Patrol.

Trump should tell the American people that since the Border Patrol still uses Vietnam-era “generation 1” night vision equipment, which doesn’t work in rain or fog, the cartels have free reign on foggy nights (which are common in San Diego) and use sawz-alls and torches to cut gaping holes in existing sections of wall. The Border Patrol agents are then responsible for fixing those holes while working 50-hour weeks with no overtime pay.

Trump should tell the nation that there is a national emergency at our border, that the lives of potential immigrants, asylum seekers, American families, and Border Patrol agents are constantly threatened by the cartels and that we must act to take power from the cartels immediately.

Trump should make clear that a border wall is only one portion of a multi-faceted border security plan that would also include elements the US Border Patrol has repeatedly asked for, such as:

  • Funding for cutting-edge surveillance tools, such as upgraded thermal imaging and infrared equipment
  • Upgraded infrastructure (stadium lighting, paved roads) along the border to allow Border Patrol agents to more easily apprehend illegal immigrants
  • A massive increase in the number of asylum officers, to quickly weed out frivolous claims
  • Biometric screening equipment installed at each port of entry

The Democrats would likely still moan and cry and call Trump a monster, but at least the American people would have a fuller understanding of what is truly happening at the border.