President Trump's first few weeks in office have been exhilarating. Among the many positive outcomes is a renewed interest concerning the importance of border security.
While nearly all of us would agree that some level of border protection is required, there is much disagreement about how far such protections should be taken.
The Trump administration, though, has made it clear that it believes strong border security is indispensable to the well-being of any sovereign nation. A country that cannot control its borders cannot maintain order and security for its citizens, the administration has rightfully argued.
Borders are integral to the systems that direct the flow of goods and services and people into and out of a country. Border controls are designed to maintain the strength and safety of a people who have agreed to live together under a set of rules.
A lack of border integrity results in vulnerability, and the consequences of little to no border security are evident all over the globe. Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and Afghanistan are all examples of countries with inadequate border protection.
In those countries, terrorists and refugees have flooded across borders. Guns and munitions have done the same. And as a result, those countries are considered failed nation-states - countries whose central governments no longer have the capability to maintain economic and physical order in significant parts of their geographies.
Even countries in Western Europe have witnessed a drastic decrease in economic stability and physical security with eroding border security. The vast influx of refugees from Northern Africa and the Middle East into countries like Germany, Belgium, and France has resulted in deadly terrorist attacks and deterioration in cultural homogeneity.
Germany's Prime Minister Angela Merkel now openly admits that radical Islamic terrorists pose a risk to her homeland. Some estimate that more than 400 individual threats have infiltrated Germany because of the lack of border control.
It is fundamental that the United States not make the same mistakes that other countries have and continue to make.
We must strengthen and uphold our own border security. The southern border has been ignored for years. While many have crossed our borders for economic opportunity, the lack of an effective and locked border now forces the United States to deal with 11 million undocumented individuals living in this country.
The predicament grows when Dreamers, or individuals who were brought to the United States illegally as young children, are inserted into the equation. Many identify the United States as their only home. How should the nation deal with youngsters who by birthright have full rights but whose parents do not?
These are complicated and emotional issues.
However, the flood of traffic across our borders includes not only those looking for a better future but also drug and criminal cartels and terrorists. The threats today are momentous and it is time to restore border integrity in the United States.
Our immigration system is broken. We mustn't close our eyes and ignore the predicament. It will only continue to grow.
If the federal government had properly reformed and implemented the immigration legislation of the 1980s, the United States today would be safer and have secure borders.
Two major issues confront America today: Implementing a strong and workable border system, and dealing with the tragic outcome of 30 years of failed border policy. These are two separate dilemmas and should be considered accordingly.
The United States should come together in its efforts to halt the repetition of history. Nothing less than our sovereignty is at stake.
A former chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, Pete Hoekstra is a senior fellow at the Investigative Project on Terrorism (www.investigativeproject.org).