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Americans Want Congress to Act on Border Security. Will They?

This story originally was published by Real Clear Wire

By Chris Clem
Real Clear Wire

If the majority of Americans agree on something, you may want to pause and learn more. If almost 90% of Americans agree, that’s a gamechanger. When it comes to border security and immigration, Americans are much more united than you might think.

A new poll commissioned by Americans for Prosperity, where I’m an advisor on border security, reveals 87% of Americans say they would like to see immigration policy that:

  1. Secures our borders and ports,
  2. Increases American competitiveness within the global economy,
  3. Establishes clear and predictable rules for our immigration system, and,
  4. Increases the transparency and accountability in our enforcement processes.

As a former border patrol agent with over 27 years of service under my belt, I believe in each and every one of these reforms, and know that without them, our southern border will continue to be in a state of crisis.

In nearly three decades of service, I’ve never seen Americans so concerned about their border. And there’s a reason why. Since President Biden took office, over 8 million people illegally crossed the southern border, creating an unprecedented crisis for the country.

Immigration reform isn’t a Republican or Democrat issue. It’s an American issue. Clearly Americans from all points of the political spectrum are fed up with the status quo and ready for meaningful reforms. Over 80% are pessimistic about the security of our southern border. Yet, like me, they are fairly optimistic about the options available to turn things around.

According to the poll, Americans nearly universally support improving inspections at ports of entry, increasing screenings of the guardians of young migrants, and improving Border Patrol agents’ working conditions. The poll also found specific legislation, like making it easier for foreign doctors who studied in the U.S. to stay in the U.S., garners 90% support from all Americans.

While these actions may seem more obviously nonpartisan, actions to secure the southern border aren’t partisan either. In the poll, 89% of Americans said they would like to see the U.S. government hire more Border Patrol agents and raise their pay. Additionally, 85% supported hiring civilian personnel to monitor asylum seekers so Border Patrol can focus on securing the border itself. And 90% want to see monthly data on the number of migrants appearing on the Terrorist Screening Database.

Clearly, what the American electorate wants is immigration reform that benefits both American citizens and immigrants coming into the U.S. What’s holding up meaningful immigration reform isn’t a lack of solutions— it’s inaction by Congress and lack of leadership from the White House. President Biden loves to blame everybody but himself for this border crisis. But I remember his 100-day deportation moratorium and cessation of all border wall construction on Day 1 of his presidency. And I also remember the message his actions and rhetoric sent to migrants – come on in, the border is open. It’s no surprise that there were almost 100,000 more apprehensions in March of 2021 than there were in January of that year.

But Congress has also turned a deaf ear to the concerns of their constituents, not only by failing to pass these specific reforms but also by standing idly by as the dysfunctional system helps cartels and smugglers at the expense of everybody else. For example, Congress hasn’t demanded that DHS disclose the number of migrants it has lost track of within the US or that it disclose the number of people who have evaded border patrol (known colloquially as “gotaways”), even though the vast majority of Americans want these statistics publicly shared every month.

If Congress can’t hold the executive branch accountable to reforms that are as basic as sharing monthly data or pass solutions that nearly all Americans can agree on, are they really working for the American electorate?

This new polling reveals what I and others in this space already knew – border security and immigration aren’t nearly as divisive as politicians and the media would have us believe. The majority of Americans are united on securing our borders, reforming immigration rules to be clearer and more predictable, and creating a system that benefits the United States and those who want to come contribute, while removing threats to our security and the rule of law.

We will be a stronger, safer, more prosperous country for having those reforms in place.

It’s high time Congress listens to the American people by securing the border, by being transparent about the crisis, and by making meaningful, lasting reforms to the immigration system.

Chief Chris Clem is a retired Chief Patrol Agent who served as a U.S. border patrol agent for over 27 years.

This article was originally published by RealClearPolicy and made available via RealClearWire.

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