LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Andy Kim should listen to his voters on border security

By Mark Lemire
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Representative Andy Kim may be on the fence about border security, but his constituents know exactly what they want from their congressman in Washington.

According to a new Public Opinion Strategies survey, voters in 10 congressional districts that backed Donald Trump in 2016 but elected a Democrat in the 2018 midterm elections strongly reject the Democrats’ refusal to compromise with President Trump on funding for a border wall.

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In fact, 53 percent of respondents expressed support for a border wall, compared to 43 percent who oppose the plan. By an even larger margin — 61 percent to 35 percent — those same voters also indicated that they support the President’s push for real border security.

Rep. Kim, whose district was included in the survey, recently announced that he will listen to border security experts before taking an official position on President Trump’s proposal to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

While that sounds like a more reasonable position than the unflinching obstructionism of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to protect our nation’s borders have already made their desire for a border wall perfectly clear.

Last April, long before federal workers were furloughed, a survey conducted by the National Border Patrol Council revealed that 89 percent of Border Patrol agents support building physical barriers along strategic sections of the U.S.-Mexico border, just as President Trump has proposed.

High-ranking Border Patrol officials also embraced the President’s tough stance on border security prior to the government shutdown, arguing that a physical barrier on the southern border would help reduce illegal immigration. U.S. Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost, for instance, urged senators to “invest in an upgraded border wall system” in early December of last year.

As long as he’s seeking out the wisdom of border security experts, Rep. Kim should also listen to what his own voters are saying.

According to a 2017 report from the Federation for American Immigration Reform, New Jersey voters shell out $4.5 billion on illegal immigrants every year, or nearly $6,000 for every illegal alien in the state. That means the annual cost of illegal immigration in New Jersey alone is almost enough to cover President Trump’s entire $5.7 billion request for a border wall.

When you factor in the costs of crime, illegal drug smuggling, and reduced wages that illegal immigration imposes on communities in New Jersey and across the country, it’s no surprise that voters in Rep. Kim’s district agree with the experts about the need for a border wall.

Instead of listening to Pelosi’s siren song of partisan obstructionism, Rep. Kim should heed the will of his own voters by stating his unequivocal support for the physical barriers that are essential for America to have true border security.

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Mark Lemire is a resident of Tabernacle, which is part of New Jersey’s Third Congressional District

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