This month I have been down to the Texas-Mexico border three different weekends. My nights patrolling the border, talking in depth with Border Patrol, DPS, Texas Rangers, ICE agents, and people in the area have helped bring a few things into focus for me. Namely – we must secure the border and enforce the law of the land.
Unlike the editorial board at the Longview News-Journal, the majority of Americans understand compassion is not encouraging a president to continue luring children to this country through horrific dangers, transported by drug cartel employees from countries where crime has not spiked. It actually takes courage to stand up to demeaning name-calling simply because of beliefs in treating everyone impartially.
Make no mistake; most of the children crossing the border are male and teenagers or adults, while the smaller percentage of “unaccompanied” younger children are brought by someone, though they may step aside once here. Let’s reunite them as families and return them home to show the benefit of following the law.
There is a common mistake made by caring Christians in thinking that the duty of a government and the duty of a Christian individual are the same. They are quite different, and the differences are critical.
If a government turns the other cheek, is meek in the face of attack or threat to its citizens’ way of life, then the people in that nation suffer. The government must follow its own laws fairly and impartially so that it does not encourage lawlessness. If all of the children of the world who are not fairly treated were encouraged to flee to the United States, there would be no United States worth fleeing to. The government must protect its borders, just like the walls of Jerusalem were to protect those within.
A Christian should love his neighbor. A government must force his neighbor to comply with its laws. Christians should not put others in fear, but government is different: “If you do evil, be afraid because God does not give the sword to the government in vain.” (Romans 13:4) A good neighbor government would help force an end to the reign of the drug cartels in neighboring countries so people do not feel a desire to flee.
The drug cartels are largely responsible for the transport of people to and across our border illegally. A Border Patrolman told me that most people say, “We are fleeing violent gangs.” However, when he challenges then as a Hispanic in forceful Spanish, “You and I both know the gangs were paid to bring you here; you’re not escaping gangs,” they say, ‘You’re right, but we were told to say that.” Additionally, Border Patrol officers tell me the number of SIA’s (Special Interest Aliens from countries with significant terrorism) has skyrocketed. That is borne out by official numbers.
Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly (commander of the United States Southern Command) testified before Congressional committees this year of the dramatic security threats to the United States from criminal networks and terrorist organizations penetrating our southern border, stating that they pose “an existential threat to the United States.” A primary duty of your federal government is to provide for the common defense against such.
For someone who has never been a judge or held a position of authority in government, compassion is often thought to be the difficult but admirable thing to do. I have been a judge and can tell you that the easiest thing to do is go easy and appear compassionate. Those judges are usually lavished with affection in the courtroom. But that is destructive to a peaceable country.
It is easy to give away what has been entrusted to government, then bask in affection from those to whom you’ve given other people’s earnings. It is far more difficult to say, “No, you violated the law, and the rule of law requires that you be treated as other lawbreakers. You must go to the back of the line behind those even more desperate who are following the rules.”
As a judge, I experienced occasions of a courtroom full of friends clamoring for leniency that I would not have given to someone else, so I applied the law impartially. Being impartial and living with the threats takes more courage than always acting “compassionately.” It is easiest to succumb and give special treatment when the masses are begging, “Come on, have a heart, give him another chance.” It takes more courage to do what your mind tells you is right when your heart is breaking for those affected and the death threats come because you followed the law and did not favor some over others.
My heart goes out to all children who have been caught in tragic circumstances. That is why I went and wept with the Nigerians who have it far worse than Central Americans.
I have a rough draft of legislation that would allow us to process them quickly, reunite them with one or both parents, and return them home together expediently. But until we stop the flood, we will never overcome this crisis that was created by the lawlessness of our president, which leaves children as pawns of political zealots and drug cartels.
Congressman Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) is the Vice Chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. Prior to being elected to serve in Congress, Louie was elected to three terms as District Judge in Smith County, Texas. He also served as Chief Justice of Texas’12th Court of Appeals.