Why Trump Needs To Address Illegal Immigration [Opinion]

Evan VucciAP Images

During the 2016 presidential election, some noted that the then Republican candidate Trump compelled the nation to have a serious discussion about illegal immigration. In what was a bold move, he declared that as president, he would work to secure the southern border of the United States with the construction of a wall. In spite of his candor, uncharacteristic for the political arena, or perhaps on account of it, this position won Trump support that allowed him to clinch the Republican nomination for president and best Secretary Clinton in the general election.

His supporters, however, had begun to grow restless as early as six months into the president’s term. He had made a promise to put a stop to illegal immigration, but he had yet to deliver.

That changed last week. CNN reported that Trump reacted to news of “a so-called caravan” of migrants traveling across Mexico toward the United States by urging Republican lawmakers to get tough on this matter. Several days later, he announced that he would deploy National Guard troops to the border to provide support to Border Patrol agents.

According to azcentral.com, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, who spoke at the 2016 Republican National Convention, will send 150 National Guard troops to the Mexico border. Fully supportive of Trump’s decision, Ducey believes that this is an issue of “public safety.”

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While many others applaud Trump’s decision, he, nevertheless, has his critics. U.S. Representative Ruben Gallego, who also hails from Arizona, believes sending National Guard troops to the border is a poor idea and indicative of an “extreme anti-immigrant” agenda.

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As the debate over Trump’s plan continues, what is clear is that definitive action must be taken to secure the border. This group of migrants that is trekking across Mexico represents one of the latest challenges that the Trump administration faces in its fight to stem illegal immigration.

While not all of the migrants will attempt to make their way into the United States, some will certainly try. Moreover, a CNN report revealed that some fully expect the United States to provide them with opportunities that they cannot find at home.

Central American migrants call for migrants' rights and protest the policies of U.S. President Donald Trump and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez in Matias Romero, Oaxaca State, Mexico.
Traveling with the annual Stations of the Cross caravan, Central American migrants march for migrants' rights and protest the policies of U.S. President Donald Trump and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez in Matias Romero, Oaxaca State, Mexico.Featured image credit: Felix MarquezAP Images

This line of thinking, however, is wrong. As with any sovereign nation, the United States must prioritize the needs of its own people before others. Additionally, the countries from which these migrants come must finally take responsibility for not doing enough to tackle poverty and stamp out violence within their respective borders.

Neither action precludes the possibility of the Trump administration working with these governments to forge true partnerships though. In fact, there are only benefits to all countries ensuring the safety and encouraging the prosperity of their own. This is a message that President Trump must continue to push, but he must make equally clear that these countries cannot address their problems by exporting them here.