For many in Washington, the debate over funding for a wall between Mexico and the United States is a purely partisan skirmish. Underneath, however, is a real issue: securing the border.
Unregulated migration would be a strategic disaster, not just for the U.S., but for the entire Western Hemisphere.
Canada, for example, has one of the most-disciplined and level-headed migration systems in the world. Yet it has had to deal with spillover from our chaos, as asylum-seekers drift north. For the first time in a long time, a growing number of Canadians are fretting over immigration and border policies.
Canada isn’t alone. Mexico has a problem as well, with massive illegal border crossing on its southern border; human trafficking fueling the criminal cartels; and warehousing the caravans headed to the United States.
In Central America, unscrupulous politicians cheerlead for caravans to undermine their own governments. Meanwhile, Venezuelans pour into other countries, like the fragile democracy that is Colombia, threatening their stability by forcing them to host massive illegal populations.
Once the world figures out that borders in the Western Hemisphere mean nothing, the flood that might turn toward the West could reach into the millions, if not the tens of millions.
The bottom line is that while our political parties squabble over border funding — not unlike the crew and passengers debating the color scheme in the smoking lounge as the ship goes down — America’s enemies could weaponize illegal migration. If this isn’t stopped in its tracks, then the immigration problems in Europe may well pale in comparison.
There is never a good time for a desperate fight. But sensible border security is worth it. Time for both sides to put the politics aside and come up with solutions that deal with the magnitude of the impending problem.
This piece originally appeared in USA Today