The border hasn’t been secured for the last 20 years because too many politicians are lying to you about how complex this issue is.
We have leaders like Vice President Kamala Harris, the “border czar,” who thinks eating lunch at an El Paso taqueria counts as visiting the border, and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who thinks a tidal wave of 5.5 million people coming into our country illegally is “operational control” of the border.
President Joe Biden is facing a blue-state revolt because his misguided open-border policies are affecting those states the way they have border states for years.
Mayor Eric Adams believes the raging migrant crisis will destroy New York City, saying he doesn’t see an end in sight as the city received over 110,000 migrants since last year.
Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey declared a state of emergency in response to a migrant housing shortage.
But these Democratic officials’ request for expedited work permits is not the solution to this problem.
I’ve spent more time at the border than everyone running for president combined.
Here’s how a Hurd administration will start to solve this border crisis on Day One:
Treat human smugglers and drug trafficking organizations as terrorists
The Biden administration’s support for open borders fuels illegal immigration, which benefits human smugglers at the expense of border communities and those being smuggled.
Human smugglers have made at least $55 billion since Biden took office, and drug smugglers make, conservatively, $40 to $60 billion a year bringing illicit drugs into the United States.
To give these numbers some context, the entire budget for the US intelligence community is about $60 billion.
Border Patrol is doing a great job of collecting from the people coming here illegally “pocket litter” — everyday items like receipts, notes, cellphone numbers, bus tickets, etc. — that can be used to dismantle, disrupt and destroy the safe-house networks, communication pathways and transportation channels used to smuggle people and drugs.
An obscure, small, underfunded entity called Homeland Security Investigations is responsible for this task.
We need the CIA, National Security Agency and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to get involved.
Classify fentanyl as a weapon of mass destruction
Last year, we lost more than 109,000 Americans to drug overdoses.
That’s more than twice the number killed by gun violence.
Almost seven in 10 overdose deaths can be attributed to synthetic opioids like fentanyl.
This drug, many times stronger than heroin, can cause mass casualties in minute amounts, drawing parallels with the lethality of chemical weapons.
The measures to stop weapons of mass destruction from infiltrating our borders — intelligence sharing, advanced detection technologies at entry points, counterproliferation initiatives and private-sector partnerships — are already in place but must be intensified and adapted to address threats like fentanyl.
Invest in more than just a wall
The FBI scrambling to track migrants who entered America with help of an ISIS-linked smuggler isn’t just bad; it’s a national-security threat.
Law enforcement is struggling to find these people because we don’t have operational control of our border.
We need more than a wall. We must build a digital shield using state-of-the-art technology — drones, sensors and artificial intelligence — to keep us safe.
The US-Mexico border is 2,000 miles long, and each mile is unique.
Some areas like San Diego and Tijuana are densely populated. Others like Big Bend, the Chihuahuan desert and Lake Amistad are remote and desolate.
We need to use the right solution in the right place — a physical barrier like a wall in densely populated urban areas and technology like drones and radar in remote areas.
Most important, we need to invest in the men and women of Border Patrol.
Stop letting people abuse the asylum system by treating everyone as an asylum seeker
This process of treating everyone that comes into the country illegally as an asylum seeker began under the Trump administration but Biden continued it.
Asylum — a fundamental right enshrined in both international and domestic laws — was designed to offer sanctuary to those genuinely facing persecution, not a shortcut to a good-paying job.
The opportunity to falsely claim asylum to move in with family members living in the United States is the biggest pull factor driving illegal immigration.
To secure our borders and protect our nation, we must think beyond physical barriers.
Our approach needs to be holistic, leveraging intelligence, technology and international collaboration.
It’s not just about keeping out threats; it’s about understanding and dismantling them from the root.
Instead of using this issue to drive outrage and fundraise, a Hurd administration would prioritize these multifaceted strategies and once and for all finally secure America.
Will Hurd is a Republican former member of Congress and presidential candidate.