The Urgent Need to Secure our Borders
On Thursday I spoke with Anna Wiernicki on KOLR10 about the urgent need for Congress to prioritize border funding.
We must secure our border. Currently, our weak security is allowing literally tons of illegal drugs to infiltrate our communities and illegal citizens to break our laws, endangering American lives.
I recently had the chance to travel to the southern border at the Nogales-Mariposa port of entry in Arizona where I saw firsthand the challenges and dangers we are facing. I learned about the never-ending stream of illicit drugs crossing the border. In a 10-month span alone, from October 2017 through August 2018, U.S. Border Patrol seized over 6,400 pounds of cocaine (over 3 tons!), 530 pounds of heroin (one of the opiates which kills 130 people a day in America), almost 440,000 pounds of marijuana (220 tons!), 10,300 pounds of methamphetamine (over 5 tons!), and over 330 pounds of fentanyl (a drug that killed nearly 30,000 Americans in 2017). These figures only represent the drugs we actually intercepted. With no fence on large portions of our border, there are no doubt additional tons of drugs we fail to intercept that travel into our communities and kill our children. This has got to stop!
Besides the flow of illegal drugs, inadequate security on our border allows thousands of people to disregard our laws and enter our country without being vetted. According to the latest Customs and Border Protection statistics, agents are now taking into custody more than 2,000 illegal aliens per day and they apprehended over 300,000 in 2017 alone. Two-thousand people is more than the population of many towns in Missouri's 4th District. This means that the population of several small towns is invading our border every day.
In America, we are proud to welcome those who come here legally to seek a better life and flee oppression. In 2016 alone, we naturalized 752,800 people through legal immigration. The Statue of Liberty’s words comfort us all: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” However, even on Ellis Island, arriving immigrants were screened and vetted for contagious diseases and criminal histories. Those safeguards are still in place, and when they are violated, we have a problem.
A recent example of this happened the day after Christmas this year. Police Officer Ronil Singh, a legal immigrant who followed the laws of this country to immigrate here and to become a citizen of the United States, was senselessly killed by an illegal alien. If additional steps had been taken to secure our border, it’s possible that this tragedy would not have occurred.
In addressing illegal immigration, I also believe there’s an issue of fairness to consider. There are more than 700,000 people legally waiting for U.S. citizenship. We need to give proper consideration to these individuals. It isn’t fair for people to skip this line by illegally crossing or overstaying their visa, and we only encourage this negative behavior by leaving portions of our border unguarded.
In the past, it seemed clear to everyone that something needed to change. During the Obama Administration, all 54 Democrats in the Democrat-controlled Senate voted to double the length of a new border fence with Mexico, double the number of border agents to 40,000, and spend $40 billion on border security. Speaker Pelosi said in 2012 that immigration reform must include securing our borders and enforcing our laws, and Senate Minority Leader Schumer also said in 2009, point-blank, that people want a government that is serious about protecting the public and enforcing the rule of law on the border. I am hopeful they will remember their words now and support securing our border. The safety of our all of our communities is at stake.
Funding the Government: an Update
On Thursday, the Democrat majority in the House advanced spending legislation that fails to address these rapidly growing problems on our southern border. The bills ignored the dire need for increased border security and instead kicked the can down the road, advocating for the failed status quo that caused this predicament to begin with. Additionally, the spending bills proposed on Thursday strip away pro-life protections, such as the updated Mexico City policy, which currently prohibits our foreign aid from supporting abortion overseas. I spoke on the floor about these issues here.
The Administration and many in Congress are trying to solve the border crisis, but Democrats would rather have a closed government than a closed border. They have offered no plan except to turn their heads the other way while more drugs and illegal immigrants come across our border. I stand ready and willing to support legislation that addresses these issues and meets the responsibility of Congress to protect the American people.
It’s an Honor to Serve You
On Thursday I was sworn into my fifth term representing the wonderful people of Missouri’s Fourth Congressional District. Pictured (L-R): my daughter Tiffany, me, and my husband Lowell.
I am honored to once again have the opportunity to serve and represent the people of Missouri’s Fourth District. It is a privilege to be your voice and to fight for our shared values and common sense ideas. America is the greatest nation on earth but we face many challenges as well. It is my hope that both Republicans and Democrats can come together and work to advance the solutions our country needs. Some of the best ideas in Congress come from you all, the people we serve, and I welcome everyone’s input as we move forward this term. I can be reached by email on my website at hartzler.house.gov or through calling one of my local offices.
My office number in Columbia is 573-442-9311, my office in Harrisonville is 816-884-3411, my office in Lebanon is 417-532-5582, and my Washington office is 202-225-2876. The Hartzler Team stands ready to work for you all, the citizens of Missouri’s Fourth District.
Weekly Dose of Good News
I am always happy to see a MO-4 company recognized for its good work. As such, it was wonderful to learn that Sedalia-based Callis Integrated Marketing and its client, the Missouri State Fair, recently won the 2018 American Graphic Design Award! The award was specifically given for the agency’s work in developing the “Come Home” theme for the 2018 State Fair. Winning this award is no easy task: approximately 10,000 entries are submitted each year, with only 10 percent of the entries recognized with a Certificate of Excellence Award. Congratulations!