EVERY COUNTY IS A BORDER COUNTY
SHERIFF SCOTT H. JENKINS
COMMONSENSE IMMIGRATION TALK
Welcome to Every County is a Border County, a place to come for perspectives and facts that promote a secure homeland and a no-nonsense approach to immigration. Tough, fair immigration policies, evenly enforced, will yield the most compassionate outcome for all legitimate stakeholders in our system.
The jurisdiction I lead, Culpeper County, Virginia, is 75 miles as the crow flies from the White House. While still largely a rural community, we have been experiencing the ill effects of our larger neighbors for years. In particular, we have seen the effects of transnational criminal gangs, and rampant illegal drug use, all tied directly to increasingly severe and unaddressed border issues. Although Culpeper County is not contiguous with any of our country's national borders, I believe that with the mobility of illicit items, including drugs and illegal aliens, today every county is a border county.
As Sheriff my highest priority is protecting my community by enforcing the law, including upholding the Constitutions of the United States and the Commonwealth of Virginia. By holding accountable those who would seek to do harm through force and lawlessness, we create a world where peace can flourish.
My views on illegal immigration
First, I am pro-immigrant. To me it is beyond debate that immigrants have, currently do, and will continue to contribute to America's rightful title as the Land of Opportunity. The desirability of living here is confirmed by the vast numbers of immigrants crossing our borders.
What I oppose is illegal, uncontrolled immigration. As noted by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, under any rational system of ordered entry, the demand will always vastly exceed available slots. Tough decisions will therefore always be necessary. These decisions
should be made pursuant to American values, well-defined principles, and intelligently enacted laws.
My philosophy on illegal immigration rests on three pillars. Like a tripod, the entire structure falls if any one leg is removed. I will flesh this out in more detail in the coming months, but the fundamentals are set out below.
1. Protect Our Borders
Any solution to illegal immigration has to start with protecting our borders. This means building a wall, and creating other barriers to entry. We must enforce existing laws. We must stop creating incentives for people to enter illegally. Increasing numbers of "sanctuary" jurisdictions, and public calls to stop enforcement of our immigration laws, have created incentives for ever-greater numbers of illegal aliens to cross our borders.
2. Fix our broken immigration system
One of the things we can all agree on is that our immigration system is broken. We may not agree on how it's broken, but plainly it is. Fixing our broken immigration system is Congress' job. The President has certain executive authority over immigration, and President Trump has chosen to exercise his in a way that makes some people angry. However, they direct their anger at the wrong target. If Congress would act to fix our broken immigration system, the legal and humanitarian emergencies at our borders would not exist. Instead, cowards in Congress hide behind name-calling and misinformation when they know full well that the solution is within their control.
3. Create pathways to legal residency
There are many in America whose only unlawful act was to enter illegally or to overstay a visa. While we should not condone law-breakers, at the same time we should recognize the contributions and responsibility shown by otherwise law-abiding people. So long as certain conditions are met, which must include demonstrated respect for and obedience to our laws, Congress should develop pathways to legal residency for certain immigrants already present in the United States.
Solutions to these complex problems will not be simple or easy. Among other things, they require the willingness to consider new approaches and to listen to opposing viewpoints. For Congress, it will require the political will to forego name-calling and demonizing, and to demonstrate the political leadership they proclaim so loudly that they want to see. Above all, it requires a fact-based discussion, not one in which facts are ignored if they do not fit a particular narrative.
Central to the American "melting pot" ideal is the presumption that immigrants will become Americans. We all assimilate into the American dream. I am confident that the America I love, where we are all allegiant to one country and one flag, can and will solve this problem in a way that is best for America.