Cartier: Immigration and walls and security, oh my! (column) |

Cartier: Immigration and walls and security, oh my! (column)

Jacqueline Cartier
Special to the Daily

As we seek balance in government, we tend to go from one extreme to another. In 2016, we faced a red wave; in 2018, we went blue. While partisan politics dominate the media, most people just want things done.

As a large and diverse nation, we experience challenges other countries don’t face, and because of our democratically elected republic, we have freedoms that others envy, but it didn’t come free, and while it’s on a solid foundation, it’s delicate to maintain.

Headlining the news is immigration. Instead of being a Homeland Security issue, it has become a political football. In a previous column, I addressed the details of DACA, which received widespread bipartisan and Hispanic support. It addresses concerns from all angles and provides good background.

With the government shutdown in progress, “the wall” is front and center. While the topic has been on every president’s agenda, the issue has grown exponentially over the past few decades. With increased economic stress facing cities across the nation, and global terrorism spreading around the globe, countries are becoming increasingly cautious and tough decisions must be made. Head and heart may conflict, as we move forward.

We are a country of immigrants, making our nation unique, and providing us with our greatest asset, diversity. Yet, times have changed, and we no longer need to populate a vast, uncharted land.

With unstable governments abroad, and families escaping with just the clothes on their backs, we are compelled to help.

We want to provide a safe environment and make sure food and medical aid are available. What happens beyond that is tricky, as terrorists are experts at disguising themselves among innocents, which is why so many headquarter in schools and hospitals.

For legal entry to the United States as in other countries, documentation is required, yet some left so quickly or under such duress, that paperwork is unavailable. In addition, during turmoil, verification is often unavailable and easily forged. And what about obtaining citizenship?

In many countries, citizenship is limited to those who can contribute most to their society, with some countries requiring a certain net worth, education level,or other vested interest, connected to the well-being of that nation. Ours is actually one of the most lenient because we were founded on the legal immigration of citizens from all parts of the world.

Establishing a country’s boundaries is essential in determining national jurisdiction. To avoid chaos, distinguishing those lines is essential. Nearly all have some sort of visible border.

Enforcement of national boundaries is universal. Countries like Mexico will jail up to 10 years for an unauthorized stay. In fact, Mexico wants to build their own southern border wall with Central America.

Some have criticized the United States as being racially biased for focusing on the southern border, rather than the northern. The reason for that is the security protocol in Canada is as strict as ours.

Canadian border agents use a program called, Tuscan, which stands for Tipoff US-Canada. It is one of the most comprehensive anti-terrorism databases in the world. It is maintained by the United States and enforced by the Canadian government. Canada also grants border agents the direct power to detain, interrogate, arrest and deny entry, to anyone listed.

Before immigration became politicized, both Democrats and Republicans worked toward the common objective of keeping our nation secure, both physically and economically; there was no hesitation in maintaining border security.

In 2006, President Bush signed the Secure Fence Act, with overwhelming bipartisan support from both the House 283-138 and the Senate 80-19.

The fence portion of the appropriation was approved for 652 of the 2,000 miles at $1.2-billion, but according to the New York Times, that amount would actually only cover 370 miles of fencing. The absurdity of it did not escape Sen. Richard Durbin (D) who said, “You don’t have to be a law enforcement or engineering expert to know that a 700-mile fence on a 2,000-mile border makes no sense.” Thus, President Trump wants all 2,000-miles covered, to do it right.

Obama, understanding the importance of border security, in 2005 spoke strongly against illegal immigration. He also understood that something needed to be done with those already in the country, yet knew it would take some time to draft. He allowed a deferment, known as DACA.

This issue is much more complex than the TV sound bites lead you to believe. Stay safe and keep the dialogue open.

Jacqueline Cartier is a political and corporate consultant in Colorado and Washington, D.C. For further information, visit She may be contacted at

Support Local Journalism