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It's Time to Declare a National Emergency on America's Border with Mexico



The loss of one American citizen's life is enough to justify immediate action on constructing a border wall. The Department of Homeland Security and the White House briefed startling facts to Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer last month on the terrible costs that illegals are bringing to the United States.  

According to President Trump and Department of Homeland Security Director Kirstjen Nielsen, 266,000 illegals were arrested over the last two years with criminal records and were responsible for 4,000 homicides, 100,000 assaults and 30,000 sex crimes. Four-thousand homicides are more lost at the hands of illegals than all the casualties that the United States and the coalition have lost in Afghanistan.  This number is staggering.  

Over the past 17 years, the United States, NATO and other coalition nations have deployed tens of thousands of men and women to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban, al Qaeda and many other violent and well-armed terrorist organizations.  In these operations, the US-led coalition lost a total of 3,458 men and women in 17 years of combat operations.  Yet, illegals were responsible for 4,000 deaths in the United States, exceeding the total losses in our entire time in Afghanistan. We are indeed in the midst of a national disaster in the United States.      
In addition to this, the cost to American taxpayers extends to the depletion of national, state and local money.  The drain ranges from hiring English as a second language teachers, to healthcare, housing subsidies, food stamps, etc.  The most reliable numbers on the costs come from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which puts the annual total price tag to American taxpayers at $116 billion a year.  This crippling cost is especially borne at the state and local levels, resulting in a drain of money that takes away from fixing roads, repairing critical infrastructure, and inadequate medical coverage.  Instead of taking care of our senior citizens, veterans and other at-risk members of our population, who paid into the system, illegals are being generously rewarded for their crimes on the backs of American taxpayers.  This national madness of incentivizing illegals to enter our country goes as far as the Internal Revenue Service offering them tax refunds.   
Finally, there is the cost of death, abuse, rape and sexual slavery for those venturing across the Mexican border.  Although the US State Department's and United Nation's numbers vary, reports say that 100,000 unaccompanied minors were apprehended crossing into the United States in 2015-2016.  Of those not apprehended, it is estimated that up to 18,000 were sold into sex slavery in North America. This madness must end. The time for talk and politics is over.
President Donald Trump should declare a national emergency along America's border with Mexico today to rally the nation's resources and military assets to once and for all address this clear and present danger to the nation.  Building a literal and continuous border wall along the entire American border with Mexico is where we start in ending the crime, murder and the extravagant financial abuse of American citizens at the hands of those entering our nation illegally.  
This national emergency should include the deployment of considerably more than the 5,000 soldiers currently supporting border operations.  National Guard units in the Border States should be federalized and deployed as needed to assist in the emergency construction of a real and continuous border wall.  The rules prohibiting military personnel from conducting law enforcement operations on the border should be temporarily lifted until the wall is complete.  This temporary emergency order must also entail less prohibitive rules of engagement so that soldiers can engage heavily armed drug traffickers that traverse the area.  
Department of Defense funds should be diverted from Afghanistan and elsewhere to construct this border wall that should include watch towers, sensors and cameras.  The walls should go up in the most heavily trafficked areas first and extend out to the more remote regions.  I argue for a continuous wall in that traffickers will find ways around and through any area of the border that is not protected.    
My call for a declaration of a national emergency comes at the heels of President Trump adjusting his strategy in Syria and Afghanistan where the United States is expected to reduce its presence considerably.  The change in strategy for Afghanistan is of particular interest to me, where I served on three deployments. The United States has been in Afghanistan since 2001, making it America's longest-ever war.  Since then, according to Brown University's "cost of war project," more than $2 trillion  have been spent to cover the costs of military operations, train the Afghan National Army and for "Nation Building."  After 17 long years and with the loss of 3,458 American and Coalition lives, what do we have to show for this?  The futility of this mission was demonstrated by a report last year that demonstrated that the Taliban had some sort of control over 70 percent of Afghanistan.  What did the $2,000,000,000,000 and 3,458 lives give us?  
If Washington, DC is willing to throw so much money and resources for a failed strategy 7,000 miles away, how can politicians ignore the crimes, murders and injustices committed by lawbreakers crossing the Mexican border?  America went to war in Afghanistan after the horrific 9/11 attacks.  Another attack of a more nefarious and subtle nature is being waged by illegal border crossers, who are killing American citizens and draining away American resources.  The bottom line is that not one American citizen should lose their life at the hands of an illegal.  To look the other way and play politics with the lives of our people is a violation of the very oath that each congressman and congresswoman took when they were sworn into office.  When there is a crisis, the USA does not hesitate to throw trillions of dollars at failed strategies halfway around the world, and should have no qualms about actually spending money and resources on border security that will save lives on both sides of the border.  As an American who has dedicated more than 30 years to serve and defend this nation, I am appalled at the lack of concern and lack of action by the political ruling elite.  
One of the casualties of this undeclared war on America was 22-year-old Pierce Corcoran of Knoxville, Tennessee, who was tragically killed by an illegal on December 29, 2018.  Pierce's mother, Wendy, wrote a heartbreaking blog about this, and her final words capture the essence of this dilemma, saying,
"We are all aware, as a family, that nothing will bring Pierce back, but don't tell me my son, who lived in this country and followed its rules, doesn't deserve better. For God's sake, out of respect for the men and women who fought and fight to make this country such a desirable place to live, DO THE RIGHT THING and come here legally and become a responsible citizen."

Americans are being killed as a result of the fecklessness and political posturing of elitists and disconnected political party.  Those opposed to border security are complicit in the crimes committed against innocent Americans at the hands of illegals and have blood on their hands.  The time for dithering, daydreaming and speechmaking is over.  It is time for action.  American security is compromised and American lives are being lost and it must end now.  Like it or not, illegals pouring across our borders is a national disaster and national calamity and we need to tackle this with determination and alacrity.  President Trump, declare a national emergency and build that wall so that not one more American dies at the hands of illegals.  This is a national emergency that requires bold action now! 

Dr. Doug Mastriano, PhD, is an award winning author and recently retired U.S. Army Colonel, with more than 30 years of, seeing service along the Iron Curtain during the Cold War, Iraq and Afghanistan.  He served four years in NATO and deployed three times with NATO to Afghanistan. 

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