President Trump’s signature campaign pledge was to build a “big, beautiful wall” along the U.S.-Mexico border to stop the flow of unlawful border crossings. Crowds of Trump supporters at rallies across the country memorably shouted in unison, “Build the Wall!” over and over again. While the president’s tough rhetoric on illegal immigration has already dramatically reduced the flow of unlawful border crossings, constructing a physical barrier — whether you call it a wall, fence, or something else — is necessary to prevent the flood gates of illegal immigration from reopening under a different administration.

But the illegal immigration issue is more complex than sealing the southern border. First, the U.S. has at least 11 million illegal aliens already living inside the country. Additionally, around 40 percent of the illegal alien population are visa overstays—those who entered the U.S. legally for a limited period of time and simply refuse to go home. The border wall won’t address these aspects of illegal immigration. To truly combat illegal immigration you must eliminate the pull factors, with the ability to work unlawfully in the country without fear of repercussions being the most significant magnet. To borrow an old Bill Clinton campaign slogan: it’s the economy stupid. That’s why we need mandatory and universal E-Verify.

E-Verify is an electronically-based system that allows employers to authenticate the legal work eligibility of prospective applicants, the same way a merchant verifies a credit card purchase. First created by Congress in 1996, the optional program has a 99.7 percent accuracy rate, is free, and usually takes less than five seconds for an answer to come back.

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