Sheriff Mike Lewis: Support the Mexico border wall

Wicomico Sheriff Mike Lewis, at far right, watches President Trump sign a measure supporting construction of a wall at the border with Mexico.

I support President Trump’s recent address to the American people regarding the need for the immediate funding and construction of a border wall, and in the past I have called on members of Congress from across the country to support funding and construction of that wall.

We live in a country that was built by immigrants seeking a better life for themselves and their families. I sincerely support their past, present and future efforts one hundred percent. Those doing so will likely wait in line for years before entering our country, let alone attaining their legal citizenship.

That is what the American Dream is about. 

However, we have a growing and unprecedented humanitarian and homeland security problem at our southern border. Americans are affected everyday by uncontrolled illegal immigration. These illegal immigrants continue to strain our public resources and drive down jobs and wages.

It is also a well-established fact that Mexico is a pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs — including methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine and fentanyl.

Each week, on average, over 300 American citizens lose their lives to heroin alone — 90 percent of which floods across our southern border after being produced in Mexico. 

Just four years ago, while visiting the poppy fields deep within the Andes Mountains of South America, I learned firsthand the Mexican Drug Trafficking Cartels had successfully recruited nine Colombian heroin growers and chemists in an effort to make Mexico self-sufficient in heroin production.

No longer relying on their Colombian counterparts for cocaine or heroin, Mexican drug traffickers are determined to be the world’s narco-superpower.

Our porous border means this: 

  • Last year, 72,000 Americans lost their lives to opioid related drugs, more than were killed during the entire Vietnam War.
  • In the last two years, ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of aliens with criminal records — including those charged or convicted of: 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes and 4,000 violent killings.
  • Thousands of Americans have been brutally killed by those who have illegally entered our country, and thousands more will be lost if we don’t act right now.

President Trump presented Congress with a detailed proposal to secure the border and stop the criminal gangs, drug smugglers and human traffickers. The proposal was developed by law enforcement professionals and border agents from the Department of Homeland Security.

The proposal from Homeland Security included cutting-edge technology for detecting drugs, weapons, and other illegal contraband flowing into our country. It also included more boots on the ground, and the immediate construction of a secure border wall.

It was promptly rejected by Democrats in Congress. Consequently, President Trump had to react immediately. 

A border wall will quickly pay for itself. The economic impact of illegal drugs exceeds $500 billion dollars a year — far more than the $5.7 billion that was requested from Congress. Because Congress failed to pass a bill, the president had no choice but to declare an emergency allowing the Pentagon to transfer $1 billion for new construction of 57 miles of border fencing along our Southwest border which will help end unfettered illegal immigration, human trafficking, and the flow of illegal drugs into our country. 

Another $3.6 billion will now be transferred from military construction projects to wall construction, and $2.5 billion from the Defense Department’s fight against illegal drugs and $600 million from the treasury forfeiture fund. 

After decades of inaction by his predecessors, President Donald J. Trump is committed to securing our border and stopping the devastating effects of drugs and criminality to om local communities, and I applaud him for it. 

This is a choice between right and wrong. This is about fulfilling our sacred and sworn duty to the American people, legal immigrants and to the offices we elected officials hold so dear.

Once again, I applaud and salute President Trump for his courage in the face of constant scrutiny, especially from the radical left who if given a chance would dissolve our borders completely, leaving our country very vulnerable to future terrorists attacks and making our lives humanistically, spiritually and culturally insolvent. 

Without border security, we will never have true homeland security.

Mike Lewis has served as Sheriff of Wicomico County since 2006.

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