EDITORIAL: It’s time for consensus on border security, immigration – Scottsbluff Star Herald

In today’s politicized environment, is it possible to have a calm, rational debate on the merits of border walls between the United States and Mexico? Walls have been built in years past, by both Republicans and Democrats. Shouldn’t we be able to discuss them now?

The current fight in Washington is whether we should spend money to make existing walls more effective, and add sections where officials think they are needed. It would be helpful if all concerned paid more attention to some basic border security questions (such as outlined below), and less attention to the political game of winners and losers.

Should people be able to enter the United States as they please, or is it reasonable to have laws governing visitors and immigration? Assuming there are such laws, how should they be enforced? Are walls (or fences, etc.) a useful enforcement tool … at least in some situations? When not, what are the alternatives? And how effective and expensive are they?

What should be done with people who break border laws? Are there instances (such as asylum) where there should be some kind of moral permission for people to break the laws? If so, how do we deal with these situations, and what are the costs?

How much force should be used in cases where people ignore our border laws and deliberately seek to enter our nation whether we want them or not? The prevention of illegal smuggling of drugs is a legitimate border control goal. How should implementing this goal be integrated with other border control measures?

Finally, it should be noted that walls are a common way to control access. They are an accepted security measure all over the United States, including Grand Island. When applied to border controls, shouldn’t the issue be whether they are the best choice to address specific instances?

For many years, reform of immigration and border control policies has been hampered by national leaders who seemed less interested in solving problems than gaining political advantages. Today’s fights are a continuation of these failures, and they affect millions of people both inside and outside our nation. It is a disgrace that solutions have proven so elusive for so long.

Effective immigration policy reform should result from agreements between Republicans and Democrats. If consensus isn’t found soon, both sides will have failed again.

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