Opinion: Why US must fix its broken immigration system
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson
June 16, 2019- Greenville News
The national security and humanitarian crisis occurring at our southern border can be felt all the way up in South Carolina. Whether we live on the southern border or not, it is imperative that we act now to solve this crisis and implement a better immigration system for all.
It’s no secret that South Carolina, like a lot of our country, is in the midst of an opioid epidemic that has affected countless families and loved ones. From 2013 through 2014, the rate of overdose deaths in South Carolina involving opioids doubled. It’s also no secret that leaving our borders open makes us even more vulnerable to the influx of drugs that directly contributes to this deadly crisis. In fact, 90 percent of heroin trafficked here comes across the southern border. There is no excuse for continued inaction; we must get serious about solving our border security problem.
President Trump recently unveiled a proactive plan to reform our immigration system and keep our communities safe. From focusing on accepting new Americans with special skill sets to constructing a physical barrier on the border, the president is taking a reasoned and comprehensive approach to addressing this crisis.
One of the priorities laid out in President Trump’s plan is to welcome more high-skilled immigrants to the country. With the national unemployment rate at 3.6 percent and South Carolina’s unemployment rate at a record low of 3.2 percent, there is no shortage of opportunities. Businesses can’t find enough skilled workers to fill these jobs. With President Trump’s plan to increase high-skilled immigration to 57 percent, up from 12 percent, he is placing a premium on immigrants who can contribute immediately to our state.
Importantly, the president’s immigration plan also commits to finishing the wall on the southern border, which would curb illegal border crossings. It would also address crime like human trafficking, gang violence, and drug movement. No one can argue with these goals.
With apprehensions at the border surpassing 500,000 this year alone, completion of the wall is one of the most effective and practical initiatives in the president’s plan. By the end of 2020, there will be about 400 miles of wall completed, which is an important step forward to ensuring safety and security in our communities.
We are on the right track, but there is still more work to be done.
President Trump’s immigration plan is one that should bring Republicans and Democrats together on an important issue. Regrettably, Democrats in Congress seem to be more focused on obstructing President Trump than on working to solve the problems they were elected to fix. Democrats have been quick to denounce the president’s wall and plans for immigration reform, yet they put forward no solution or plan of their own.
President Trump is showing real leadership on an issue that affects all Americans. As attorney general, I’ll always stand with the president to enforce the rule of law and protect the safety of South Carolinians.
This comprehensive immigration plan would bring security and simplicity to a system that has long been flawed, and I urge Congress to do its job and pass it.
Republican Alan Wilson is the attorney general of South Carolina.