It’s Time For Straight Talk On Illegal Immigration & Border Security

Michael D. Shetler

With Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s recent characterization of illegal immigrants as “rapists,” drug dealers and other criminals, border security and illegal immigration are once again at the front and center of our national debate. Combine these inflammatory comments with the waterfront shooting of 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco, allegedly by Mexican immigrant Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, as reported by CBS News on July 3 (, and suddenly, the issue touches a nerve at all points of the political spectrum.

Michael D. Shetler, CEO of Shetler Security Services, is Arizona based, a region often considered “ground-zero” on the national debate on border security and immigration reform.

“For me, this is not a political issue, or a race or ethnicity issue,” relates Shetler. “The laws are on the books, but the Federal Government has stopped enforcing Federal Law.”

Shetler points to San Francisco’s “sanctuary” policy in which law enforcement officers routinely do not cooperate with federal immigration enforcement actions, as evidenced by gaping holes in our current system. Lopez-Sanchez, an illegal immigrant, has a long history of convictions and has been deported to Mexico five times.

“The facts are that many Mexicans migrate into Arizona for a chance at a better life for them and their children, and they work hard, pay taxes, and make an incredible impact on the vibrancy of our culture as productive citizens here in Arizona,” relates Shetler. “Unfortunately, there are a few bad eggs, and whatever the crime, from human smuggling to drug smuggling, if you’re here illegally, our Federal Government should be enforcing the law.”

Shetler also notes the fallacy that not everyone wants to become a U.S. citizen. He offers as one solution the policy of issuing work visas.

“One solution would be to mandate that if you’ve been in this country illegally for longer than six months, then you need to register for a work visa. If you have no criminal record; pay your taxes; and make productive contributions to our society, then you’d be allowed to stay. If not, you’d be deported – and if you come back, you’d go to jail.”

In terms of securing the Arizona border, Shetler’s expertise extends to a range of tactics already in place including border patrol agents, drones, sonar, cameras, aircraft and reaction teams, yet these sophisticated techniques alone don’t solve the problem.

“It’s a massive border, and we don’t spend the kind of money it would take to completely shut down activity around our borders,” explains Shetler.

Whenever the illegal immigration and border security debate arises, people always begin to talk about building a wall between Arizona and Mexico, but Shetler also questions the validity and practicality of actually shutting our border down.

“Instead of making the tough decisions, rich people especially love to talk about building walls, because things like gated-communities here in Arizona make people feel safer, but you and I both know that history shows – from the Great Wall of China to this day – it’s impossible to keep everyone out,” adds Shetler.

Arizona will undoubtedly remain a flash point in the national debate on immigration reform and border security as presidential candidates like Donald Trump and high-profile figures like Paul Babeu, sheriff of Pinal County in Arizona, continue to fan the flames of this controversial topic.

For Shetler, however, the debate remains one of enforcing Federal Law, and not a discussion on ethnicity:

“We’re a nation of immigrants – and immigration to better our nation is a good thing,” intones Shetler.

“And not just engineers and doctors and lawyers – any hard-working people who want to make a difference in our society, pay taxes, and raise their children in hope of a better life is what our country is all about. Everyone wants to do better. This should not be a race or group issue. It should be a ‘let’s make the tough decisions issue.’”


Shetler Security International provides security services for some of the most well-known financial institutions in the United States, private companies, universities and large events. Their staff has over a century of supervisory and executive command level law enforcement experience. This extensive and diversified combination of training, education and experience positions Shetler Security International to conduct expert consultation, evaluation, assessment and implementation of a wide variety of security industry needs, including guard and roving patrol, corporate and executive security, diplomatic and foreign theater security and technology solutions. For more information, please visit:


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