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Jun 5, 2017
Presented by
Charles Krauthammer

Can America solve its illegal immigration problem both justly and humanely? Yes, but it requires first building a border wall. Washington Post columnist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Charles Krauthammer explains why.

What’s the solution to America’s immigration problem? First, we must stop the flow of illegal immigrants by securing the southern border.

  • The only serious solution to America’s illegal immigration problem begins with effective enforcement of immigration laws. Author and political commentator Charles Krauthammer argues that the U.S. must first build a southern border wall and intensify border patrol to stop the flood of illegal immigrants. Other enforcement steps include using a national E-Verify system that makes working illegally in the U.S. nearly impossible and high-tech tracking of visas. Only then can politicians begin to talk responsibly about amnesty for some of those here illegally.View Source
  • An estimated 11 million people are currently living in the U.S. illegally.View Source
  • WATCH: Journalist and author Heather Mac Donald discuss the complexities of the immigration problem in the U.S.View Source
  • Related reading: “The Immigration Solution” – Heather Mac Donald, Victor Davis Hanson, Steven MalangaView Source

Do border walls work? The security fence outside San Diego led to a more than 90% percent reduction in illegal border crossings.

  • After installing a security fence, San Diego saw a reduction of over 90% in illegal border crossings.View Source
  • Border walls have proven to be massively successful in reducing illegal immigration. Israel, Hungary, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Austria, Greece, Spain, and Norway have all concluded that border walls are an essential part of maintaining control of immigration and protecting national security.View Source
  • WATCH: Journalist and author Heather Mac Donald on the costs of illegal immigration.View Source
  • Related reading: “The Immigration Solution” – Heather Mac Donald, Victor Davis Hanson, Steven MalangaView Source

Border walls can be essential for national security. A security wall helped Israel reduce terrorist infiltration by 90%.

  • After years of persistent Palestinian terrorism, the Israeli government began construction of a security fence along the West Bank in 2003. Israel saw a 90% reduction in terrorist attacks by Palestinians from the West Bank region after completing the fence.View Source
  • Border walls have proven to be massively successful in reducing illegal immigration. Like Israel, Hungary, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Austria, Greece, Spain, and Norway have all concluded that border walls are an essential part of maintaining control of immigration and protecting national security.View Source
  • WATCH: Journalist and author Heather Mac Donald discuss the complexities of the immigration problem in the U.S.View Source
  • Related reading: “The Immigration Solution” – Heather Mac Donald, Victor Davis Hanson, Steven MalangaView Source

Border walls work. That’s why European countries like Hungary, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Austria, Greece, Spain, and Norway are building them. 

  • Border walls have been used for millennia to protect a state’s sovereignty and promote national security. That’s why many European countries – including Hungary, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Austria, Greece, Spain, and Norway – are constructing walls of their own.View Source
  • WATCH: Journalist and author Heather Mac Donald on the costs of illegal immigration.View Source
  • Related reading: “The Immigration Solution” – Heather Mac Donald, Victor Davis Hanson, Steven MalangaView Source

U.S. immigration policy should emphasize skills. Currently, only 15% of visas are granted to immigrants based on their skill set. 

  • Currently, only 15 percent of visas are granted to immigrants based on their skills. The immigration system in the U.S. promotes immigration largely through family ties. Other countries have already changed immigration policy to promote the inflow of skilled immigrants. For instance, Australia changed its policy in 1996, and over the next 10 years, saw the percentages of skilled immigrants increase from 29 to 70 percent.View Source
  • Read author and political commentator Charles Krauthammer on the solution to America’s immigration problem.View Source
  • WATCH: Journalist and author Heather Mac Donald discuss the complexities of the immigration problem in the U.S.View Source
  • Related reading: “The Immigration Solution” – Heather Mac Donald, Victor Davis Hanson, Steven MalangaView Source

Eleven million people live in the U.S. illegally. Until we stop the flow of illegal immigrants, that number is only going to rise. 

  • An estimated 11 million people are currently living in the U.S. illegally.View Source
  • Any attempt to provide amnesty for any of those living in the country illegally must be preceded by strong enforcement of immigration laws, including the tightening of security along the southern border, implementing a national E-Verify system, and tracking visas far more effectively.View Source
  • WATCH: Scholar and author Heather Mac Donald discuss the complexities of the immigration problem in the U.S.View Source
  • Related reading: “The Immigration Solution” – Heather Mac Donald, Victor Davis Hanson, Steven MalangaView Source

Every sensible immigration policy has two objectives: 1) to regain control of our borders so that we decide who enters; and 2) to find a humane way to deal with the 11 million illegal immigrants who now live among us. 

Start with the second. For both practical and moral reasons, America cannot and will not and should not expel 11 million people.  That leaves us with two choices: ignore them or figure out a way to legalize them. Ignoring them hasn’t worked. But there is also a huge problem with legalization: it creates an irresistible incentive for new illegal immigrants to come.

We say, of course, that this will be the very last, very final, never-again, we're-not-kidding-this-time amnesty. And everyone knows it's phony. That’s what was said in 1986, when we passed the Simpson-Mazzoli immigration reform. It turned out to be the largest legalization program in American history -- nearly 3 million people got permanent residency. There was no enforcement. We now have 11 million new illegal immigrants in our midst.

The irony of this whole debate, which bitterly splits the country, is that there is a silver bullet that would not just solve the problem, but also create a national consensus behind it.

A vast number of Americans who oppose legalization and fear new waves of immigration would change their minds if we could radically reduce new -- i.e., future -- illegal immigration.

And we can.

First, build a barrier. Call it a wall. Call it a fence. Call it what you will. Add cameras and sensors. Add drones. Beef up the patrols. All that matters is that we regain control of the border.

Fences work. The triple fence outside San Diego led to a 90 percent reduction in infiltration. Israel’s border fence with the West Bank produced a similar decline. Even holier-than-thou Europeans have conceded the point: Hungary, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Austria, Greece, Spain – why, even Norway -- have all started building border fences to stem the tide of Middle Eastern refugees.

Then enforce two other measures: a national E-Verify system that makes it just about impossible to work if you are here illegally, and a functioning visa tracking system, since 40% of illegal immigrants are visa overstays.

The wall/fence will, of course, be ugly. So are the concrete barriers to keep truck bombs from driving into the White House. Sometimes function has to supersede form. 

And don't tell me that this is our Berlin Wall. When you build a wall to keep people in, that's a prison. When you build a wall to keep people out, that's an expression of sovereignty.

Of course, no barrier will be foolproof. But it doesn't have to be. It simply has to reduce the river to a manageable trickle. Once we do, everything becomes possible -- including dealing with our 11 million illegal immigrants.

So, let’s fix that. Track the visas, do E-Verify, build the damn barrier. It’s ridiculous to say that it can’t be done.

And who would certify that the border is back in our control? I would have a neutral party, perhaps a commission of retired jurists, issue the judgment. Once they do, we legalize the 11 million, granting them the right to stay and work here.

We can’t give them citizenship. That’s a bridge too far. You don’t get to join the political destiny of the country by entering it illegally. But any children born here would be American -- which means that over time the issue resolves itself.

The American people are legitimately angry at the price American society has paid due to illegal immigration. But they are also a generous people. Once they are assured that we do indeed control our borders, that anger will abate. A national consensus will emerge. 

Radical border control, followed by radical legalization. No mushy compromise. A solution requires two acts of national will: putting up a wall (along with E-Verify and visa tracking) and absorbing those who broke our laws to come to America.

This is not a compromise meant to appease both sides without achieving anything. It’s not some piece of hybrid legislation that arbitrarily divides illegals into those with five-year-old "roots" in America and those without – or some such mischief-making nonsense.

If we do it right, not only will we solve the problem, we will get it done as one nation.

I’m Charles Krauthammer for Prager University.

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