Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at the border
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at the border. Image from her Twitter feed

By Larry Wilske

As a candidate for Congress living near the U.S.-Mexico border, I am keenly aware of the dangers posed by mass illegal immigration.

Landowners on the border — many of whom I consider great friends and neighbors — are literally on the front lines of the radical left’s experiment of unchecked, unlimited illegal immigration. It is like a war zone, with every day ranchers increasingly drawn into gunfights with the cartel.

For my friends, this is an issue of life and death. Which is precisely why it’s a slap in the face to read that Representatives Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are coming down to the southern border to take photo ops and give us lectures.

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Let’s establish one thing off the bat: we are not going to be lectured by an outspoken anti-Semite and a recently retired bartender from Minnesota and New York respectively, especially on a problem their party’s policies caused in our backyard. When did allowing the perpetrators of a crisis to come up with solutions ever make sense?

The four southern border states of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas live with the problems on the border and trust President Trump’s plan to fix them.

Larry Wilske
Larry Wilske

Instead of replacing those 25,000 Amazon jobs that Ocasio-Cortez ran out of her district, she’s playing political games with our lives. Instead of apologizing for her repeated anti-Semitism, Omar is violently stoking hate and fear against President Trump. Instead of providing a material solution to the border crisis, these Democrats are selfishly building their brands in an increasingly radicalized Democratic party.

I fully support the President trying to reform immigration and reach across the aisle. However, with negotiating partners like Ocasio-Cortez and Omar, I’m not sure how fruitful they’re going to be unless we Republicans win back Congress. That’s because any immigration proposal that conservatives would support would have to end future illegal immigration — so we are not having this debate again in 20 or 30 years.

For decades, conservatives have been fooled by thinking we can provide “amnesty first, security second.” It’s what Democrats are demanding now, but we will never support a bill that gives amnesty before securing the border. We cannot have the 1986 amnesty all over again.

The mandate of voters across the border states, including my congressional district, is for a broad immigration proposal that includes a border wall, more ICE agents and federal judges, an end to chain migration, the end of the diversity lottery and a merit-based immigration system as well as mandatory e-verify.

It’s time we turn the spotlight away from carnival barkers with nothing to say and toward leaders with the experience and conviction to solve this crisis once and for all.

Larry Wilske is a Republican running to represent the 50th Congressional District in East County. He is a retired Navy SEAL Command Master Chief, Certified Jumpmaster and Diving Supervisor.