Putting aside politics is the key to stabilizing the U.S.-Southern border with Mexico. There are key national interests at stake.
In addition to concerns over security, public health and sovereignty, the disruption of illegal migration flows at the border distracts from focusing resources on the clear and present danger of transnational criminal cartels and gangs whose tentacles reach from deep in Latin America to cities in the U.S. heartland.
Further, a properly functioning border is an economic engine that creates prosperity by promoting the free flow of goods and services. The negative consequences of border mayhem ought to be a top concern for Washington. Bringing stability to the border ought to be job one. That can’t be accomplished by just playing for political advantage. Solving the problem has to start by dealing with the problem, not making it worse — and by putting first steps first.
Step 1. DACA must go. The president’s 2012 policy for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, regardless of the Oval Office’s intent, sets a precedent that encourages further unlawful migration, particularly among minors. It leaves those in the program mired in uncertainty as to their future status. It resolves nothing, encourages the problem to grow and is a detriment to establishing fair, consistent and sustainable immigration policy. Dumping DACA, on the other hand, would send a strong and unequivocal signal there is no advantage in rushing to the U.S. to shortcut the line and receive legal authorization to remain here.
Step 2. Resist the urge to throw money at the problem. Addressing the challenge at the border through emergency appropriations is inappropriate. The White House requested more than $4 billion in emergency spending, but most of the funds requested will do little to stabilize the border. Further, it exacerbates Washington predilection for fiscal ill-discipline. The Budget Control Act, said Heritage analysts Romina Boccia and David Inserra, “in an effort to constrain the administration and Congress from exploiting a safety valve designated for true emergencies to needlessly increase spending, established criteria to identify emergencies.” The president’s problem on the border doesn’t meet that criteria.