I have witnessed firsthand the devastation caused by illegal immigration. I did my medical training at the county hospital in Los Angeles, one of the best public hospitals in the country. It’s located in a crime-ridden area heavily populated by illegal immigrants. In my two years of general surgery, I operated on many illegal immigrant gang members who had been shot or stabbed among the chaos and poverty plaguing the community.

One of government’s primary functions is to keep its citizens safe, and they haven’t been keeping us safe. That’s why we need to stop illegal immigration by building the wall and giving Border Patrol the resources they need, including modern technology and additional safety officers. We need local law enforcement to cooperate with ICE and deport illegal immigrants with criminal records so we can keep our neighborhoods safe. And we need a legal immigration reform bill that replaces the current family-based immigration system with a merit-based system.

For those who want to come to this country, I strongly support them entering America through the front door. Apply, come to America, get a green card, then earn your United States citizenship. Legal immigrants are welcome in our country as productive citizens who add to the fabric of our society. Illegal immigrants, on the other hand, are a drain on our health care, educational, and social service systems, taking advantage of services the American people pay for that are supposed to be used to support American citizens in need.

Strengthening our borders and ports of entry would also help combat the deadly opioid crisis that is destroying lives and tearing apart families. Homeland Security has limited resources to combat synthetic opioids (fentanyl) from Mexico and especially China, where they are being produced and shipped here illegally. We need to go on the offensive with China. Most of the active ingredients in our pharmaceutical agents are produced in China, giving us very little leverage. We must start sourcing our active pharmaceutical ingredients from countries that promise to not produce fentanyl, creating competition for China and forcing them to shut down fentanyl production.