It is crystal clear: The author of a column in the Jan. 10 issue of the Kokomo Tribune lives on a different planet than the rest of us. He used his column to blast President Donald Trump for his position on a border wall, claiming Trump proposes a solution to a problem that does not exist. The problem: The column's author is dead wrong.

The Center for Immigration Studies recently reported that each illegal immigrant costs the United States taxpayers an estimated $82,191 over time residing in this country. This accounts for taxes paid by the illegal immigrant vs. the use of social services; this is a net cost. The Center for Immigration Studies estimated illegal immigrants are costing the United States taxpayers about $16.4 billion annually. They did not count the $59 billion sent back to home countries.

Then there is the drug issue with the Mexican border. There were close to 70,000 deaths in the U.S. last year from drug overdoses on illegal drugs. More than 70 percent of illegal drugs cross from Mexico into the United States.

And the weapons: Examples of rifles, assault weapons, knives and handguns were displayed at the recent meeting with President Trump and the border patrol. The border patrol said the seizure of weapons is a regular event at the Mexican border.

And the makeup of people attempting entry includes criminals, terrorists, transnational criminal organization members, MS-13 and other gang members. And on and on — people we do not want in this country.

Then there is the human trafficking. The sex trade involving both women and children goes on. Children have died as a result of having been pushed into horrendous travel or kidnapped for selling. It is estimated there is a 30 percent chance of a woman being raped by a "coyote" or "mule" during the course of travel.

And disease. We already know a high percentage of those in the caravans have required medical care. Medical professionals are seeing diseases that are rare or not present in the U.S. population for years. Diseases like unusual strains of TB and Dengue fever and more are showing up.

We have the cost in human lives of U.S. citizens. There have been a total of 127 border patrol agents killed in the line of duty. There have been countless lives lost at the hands of illegal aliens who should not have been in the United States in the first place.

The fact: A wall is effective. It is a deterrent to traveling to the border in the first place. The border patrol is asking, maybe even pleading, for a wall on our southern border. Even the chief of the border patrol under President Obama has gone public recently on the side of constructing a wall. In an unintended way, CNN anchor Jim Acosta promoted the wall by showing there was no chaos, no one trying to cross the border, and no hordes along the section of wall from where he reported.

Conclusion: A wall works. Build it.

Kent Blacklidge, Kokomo

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