Over the past several weeks, squabbling over the border wall has filled the airwaves and newspaper pages. Washington politicians have bickered endlessly about how much our sovereignty and our security is worth, but outside of the Washington bubble the need for the wall, and an immigration system rooted in the rule of law, is clear.
Alabamians were again reminded of the serious consequences of our open border and broken immigration system.
Last week, we learned Amancio Betancourt Martinez, who has been charged with raping a young girl in Shelby County, is in this country illegally. In fact, he has a criminal record that includes drug trafficking and giving false information to law enforcement. He was previously deported in 2015 and re-entered our country illegally.
Unfortunately, crimes like this are all too common, and they are preventable.
According to the White House, in fiscal years 2017 and 2018, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers arrested approximately 235,000 illegal aliens on various criminal charges or convictions inside the United States. It is estimated 60,000 illegal and inadmissible aliens seek to cross our southern border each month.
Securing our southern border would have prevented this horrific crime and other crimes committed by illegal aliens. Failure to secure our border and fully enforce immigration law undermines our sovereignty, our economic security, and most importantly, the safety of American citizens. Our nation is failing to meet its most basic obligations.
America is a nation of laws, and Alabamians want an immigration system that is rooted in the rule of law. They want criminals, like Amancio Betancourt Martinez, deported, and they want to be sure they cannot return to the United States. They want their state and their country to be free of sanctuary cities that welcome illegal aliens.
Washington politicians are to blame for the massive failure. They have played politics with our national security, and the American people have suffered because of it.
But no one holds more responsibility than Washington Democrats who are willing to shut down the government because they care more about satisfying their liberal base, protecting illegal aliens and pandering for votes than they do about our national security. Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats balk at the cost of a wall, but she gave over 10 times the amount the president is asking for to foreign governments. These out of touch Washington liberals put other countries’ interests before our own to the detriment American citizens. That’s just plain wrong.
Washington should take our national security seriously, provide the small amount of money for the border wall and end this needless government shutdown. Alabamians deserve better than to be treated like players in a political game of football, they deserve to feel safe in their homes. One Amancio Betancourt Martinez is one too many. He should never have been in this country.
In Alabama, we put the interests of our citizens first and foremost. We have worked to keep Alabamians safe and uphold the rule of law. In the state senate, I led the fight to implement sweeping immigration reform that stops Alabama cities from harboring illegal immigrants and protects our families from violent criminals.
We will always look for opportunities to strengthen immigration laws and keep our citizens safe. We will always put Alabamians first.
Del Marsh is president pro tempore of the Alabama Senate, representing the 12th District