Opinion

Congress! Secure the border; no more excuses

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Americans elect members of Congress to do one basic job: make laws. On U.S. immigration, Congress has repeatedly, decade after decade, since at least 1986, failed to do their job of taking what is very wrong with current U.S. immigration law and making it right.

Yet, day after day, millions of illegals have already, and continue, to pour across our southern U.S. border, disappearing into American cities and towns, exacting a toll of one form or another, on law-abiding Americans.

Through the U.S. Presidencies of Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton, Bush 2, and Obama, Congress has run the same political trickery:

1. Hold a press conference in front of tv cameras.
2. Tell the nation we have a border crisis because our immigration laws are broken.
3. Point out the existence of millions of illegal border crossers already in America.
4. Acknowledge the illegals’ toll on Americans: crime, drugs, disease, taxes.
5. Promise to stop the illegal inflow by enforcing current immigration law and/or enacting/amending new law.

Then, the political trickery always includes politicians throwing up their hands, telling Americans the “only way” to “fix” U.S. immigration includes letting millions who broke the law entering the country, who are breaking the law remaining in the country, off the hook. The U.S. federal government will pretend all that lawbreaking never happened, and millions of lawbreakers get to stay in the country.

Years go by, millions of lawbreakers are let off the hook, and Congress never, never keeps its word, holds up its end of the promised comprehensive immigration reform.

Think about it. Time and time again, politicians gain political capital from the initial news announcements. “Look at me. I know America has an illegal immigration crisis. I will fix the problem.”

Yet, they never follow through, never make good on their promises. Instead, God help anyone who raises the legitimate question: What happened to the U.S. immigration laws Congress promised to fix? Racist! Heartless! Un-American! Verbal stones and accusations are hurled at anyone daring to challenge Congress on its miles of broken immigration promises.

And here we are again. It’s January 11, 2019. President Trump is the first U.S. President in my lifetime to insist on fixing this serious mess. And once again, Democrat members of Congress are insisting on playing the same shell game: Let X millions of people illegally stay in America, then we’ll come up with border security.

Yesterday a caller to Howie Carr’s radio talk show had a good idea. These behind-closed-door immigration negotiations between the White House and Democrat Congressional leaders? Hold the meetings in front of tv cameras, radio mics, and print reporters. Let the American people watch and listen to the negotiations so we can see body language, facial expressions; so we can hear vocal inflections, tones of voice, and not have to put up with conflicting after-the-fact reports from meeting attendees.

Finally, a word about government employees and the partial shutdown of the federal government.

I was a state government employee for about 10 years. I never thought, while holding my government job, I was above the highs and lows, the rewards and risks, of private sector workers. My job paid well, came with an extraordinary amount of vacation and vacation-equivalent days, generous sick leave, holidays, and health benefits.

The risk? There was zero job security. I always served at the pleasure of leadership. No matter how well I performed my job, if the person who hired me wasn’t re-elected, there was no guarantee the next elected leader would keep me on.

I empathize with anyone out of work. Been there more times than I care to mention.

So for federal workers out of work, the best answer for returning to work is for Congress to quit politicking and — for once in decades — keep their promise of securing our borders, and the American people.

Scott K. Fish has served as a communications staffer for Maine Senate and House Republican caucuses, and was communications director for Senate President Kevin Raye. He founded and edited AsMaineGoes.com and served as director of communications/public relations for Maine’s Department of Corrections until 2015. He is now using his communications skills to serve clients in the private sector.

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