Our human tendency is to see the obvious surface problem and want to simply eliminate it. It takes a lot more thinking, listening and discussion to find and face the roots of a problem. Generally, there is no quick fix that really works.

Jill Ecklesdafer

Jill Ecklesdafer

Drug smuggling is a real and chronic problem. Passing tougher laws and putting more people in prison has not worked. If there wasn’t a large pool of people addicted to various drugs, we wouldn’t have a huge drug smuggling or prison problem.

So why not get truly serious about prevention and rehab programs? Who is being trained in leading programs that work? Here in Idaho as elsewhere, there is talk of needing additional prison space, but a huge percentage of inmates are there primarily in relation to drugs.

Enforcement against smuggling is necessary but let’s put our money and effort towards the root of the problem that an expensive wall will not fix.

Human trafficking is rampant. Those attempting to enter the United States are putting themselves in the hands of “coyotes” because the long trek is so dangerous and coyotes know the terrain. Vulnerable girls and women are trapped in prostitution.

Think of our states as being independent countries. Imagine being so desperate as to walk or hitchhike from Idaho to Tennessee with just a backpack of possessions because Yellowstone has exploded. And then to be told to just hang out for a few more weeks or months because there aren’t enough people to do the processing.

Our immigration process has not been functioning well for a long time, putting vulnerable people, as well as our country, at serious risk. It would certainly help the border patrol if those coming in were being processed efficiently.

Those who live along our borders have a much better idea of the complexity of the situation. The Oct. 24, 2016 edition of the Monitor Weekly ran a cover story on the wall which gave a much broader perspective to the border problem.

Glenn Spencer has a 104-acre ranch on the Arizona-Mexican border and supports border security. He has developed a ground sensor system more effective than what the government has been using. Where a high wall would cost $3 to $6 million per mile, he says his network would be about $100,000 per mile.

Those who live along the border know how ineffective walls are as they are constantly being breached. Then there are towns that work cooperatively across the border every day.

Let’s use our tax dollars and energy wisely to get to the root of these problems. Let your elected representatives know that you will support principled compromise and changes that will be effective long term.

Jill Ecklesdafer grew up on the West Coast, lived for many years on the East Coast and has happily lived in Idaho Falls for 25 years.

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