Foreign PolicyGeneral

Immigration News You Aren’t Getting

How Bad Border Security has Gotten and Real Fixes Needed to Immigration Reform
Apr 20, 2023 By Will Hurd
Updated: Dec 27, 2023

As a former congressman who represented the single largest southern border district, and a former overseas CIA officer, I’ve been dealing with threats to our homeland security and Americans’ well being for my entire adult life. Dealing with border security and addressing the rising number of undocumented immigrants crossing our borders – while getting increasingly complicated – just needs common sense to fix it. 

Not All Asylum Seekers Qualify for Asylum

I’ve talked about how in order to understand the border crisis, we must understand asylum. We don’t need more asylum officers. We need to enforce existing definitions of asylum. I’ve also explained why President Biden is the worst border security President in the last two decades

This last sentiment has only been strengthened by the recent expose in the New York Times on how the Biden administration’s immigration services having lost track of many unaccompanied children that entered our country, and how thousands of these kids have been forced into child labor.

We Are Losing the Battle for Homeland Security

The below exclusive excerpt is from an interview conducted at the recent Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TCRA) event in Fort Worth, Texas on March 24, 2023. TSCRA Vice President Carl Ray Polk sits down with me to discuss a topic that has consistently been in the news for the last 4 years – the crisis at the border.

In this excerpt from a broader conversation, we delve into the kind of immigration news and realities about the border that the American public is not getting. The transcript has been slighted edited for clarity. Click here to watch the video.

Will Hurd: Last year, 2.5 million people that we know of came into the country illegally… that we know of. All these people use a human smuggler. The average smuggler makes between $7,000 and $15,000 per person. If you assume an average of $10,000, then that’s $25 billion on human smuggling alone. Add fentanyl and other drugs this number easily becomes $40 billion to $60 billion.

You’re talking about anywhere between 60 and 80 billion dollars being made in one year in Mexico by human smugglers and drug smuggling organizations. McDonald’s makes $24 billion a year in revenue. Starbucks — all those lattes everybody out here is drinking – makes $23 billion. The entire US intelligence budget – which includes all the different intelligence services – is $60 billion.

We are undercapitalized in this fight. That’s point one. Point two is that we are treating everyone that comes into the country illegally as an asylum seeker. That’s the wrong way to do it. Asylum rules are very clear. You have to be a part of a protected class. A protected class is your gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc.

And your government has to be persecuting you because you’re part of that protected class. Or your government is not protecting you from being persecuted from another group because of your inclusion in that protected class. Those are the rules for asylum. Coming to the United States because you want a better job is not a reason for asylum.

Ultimately, we gotta stop treating everybody as an asylum seeker. Which means we have to send more people back. That’s called deportation. That’s not trying to be cruel. We can be humane about how we handle people that are in our custody. We should also be working on root causes in those countries that are fueling illegal immigration.

Migrants take shelter along the Del Rio International Bridge at sunset as they await to be processed after crossing the Rio Grande river into the U.S. from Ciudad Acuna in Del Rio, Texas, U.S. September 19, 2021. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

Migrants take shelter along the Del Rio International Bridge at sunset as they await to be processed after crossing the Rio Grande river into the U.S. from Ciudad Acuna in Del Rio, Texas, U.S. September 19, 2021. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

Because this crisis has gotten so bad, illegal immigration is coming from everywhere. Historically, it’s been the northern triangle — El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras. We should be pooling all of our federal resources that go those countries with the philanthropic community and build an economic plan for the region that lasts over a 10-year horizon, and that addresses the root causes of lack of economic opportunity, extreme poverty and violence in those areas – areas that are the source of so much illegal immigration. It’s a fraction of the cost to solve the problem over there before it ultimately gets to our doors.

We also need to streamline legal immigration. Even with how bad the economy is, so many industries need more workers. It’s 2023. In this day and age, we should, on a month-by-month basis, be able to determine what industries need workers and which ones don’t.

By doing this, we’re creating new taxpayers, creating revenue to help pay for some of these broader issues. The actual legislation to fix these things and do real immigration reform already exists. A guy named Pete Aguilar, a Democrat from California, and I wrote it. It’s sitting in Congress, and we can revive it tomorrow. But, it requires political leadership. 

It requires Democrats to not be afraid of accusations from the left like, “ Because you’re making it hard to get into the country and you’re making folks follow the law, you must not care about people.” It requires Republicans who aren’t afraid to do anything because anything they do will be lied about and called amnesty. That’s what most elected officials are afraid of — having to go back to their primaries and get blowback.

But guess what? Here’s what I’ve learned. Be honest. Treat people with respect. And tell people what needs to get done. If we do those things and everything I just outlined, 80% of Republicans in a primary agree and 80% of Democrats in a primary agree. That’s what’s so frustrating about this issue – the country is not nearly as divided on it as the political class would have you believe, and most of the people here know how bad this situation is.

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June 18, 2023
New Cold War Between U.S. and China Explained
Will's op-ed in the The NH Journal about migration and border control.
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Will Hurd has spent the past 20 years on the front lines of the most pressing fights facing our nation, in the Middle East, Congress, and the highest levels of business and tech.

Will has spent his life fighting for our country, and he will take those decades of experience with him as he fights for all us.

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I dream of an America where we have the smartest kids in the world. Every child in the U.S., regardless of location or age, should have access to a safe, world-class education.


The choice we face

In every decision we make, we stand at a crossroads. The path of division and quick fixes is well-trodden, but it’s time we consider a different route – one paved with unity and foresight.

Imagine an America where common sense prevails, where policies are crafted with the people’s best interests at heart, and our collective strengths are the foundation of national progress.

This is more than a possibility. It’s a choice we can make right now. By coming together, we have the power to foster a nation that champions innovation, inclusivity, and integrity.

What do we agree on?

Believe it’s important to protect free speech
Believe college education is important for success
Support the development of alternative energy sources
Believe it is essential to maintain Social Security
Support background checks for all gun buyers
Believe that LGBTQ+ individuals should have equal rights
Say it is important for the country to do more regarding race inequality
Are unhappy with the current US economy
Believe the federal government doesn't share enough information
Are concerned about pollution of drinking water
Believe the nation's infrastructure is in need of major repairs
Believe that access to affordable housing is a problem
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You know that we're better together and you are ready to help
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