The United States is first and foremost a nation of laws and our laws must be followed.

I understand and appreciate that the strength of our nation is dependent upon the contributions made by individuals.

As Americans, we celebrate that we are a nation of people from unique and diverse backgrounds. However, our immigration laws must be followed and the individuals who break those laws should be held accountable.

Last month, the Trump Administration reported more than 37,000 individuals were apprehended attempting to illegally cross our southern border. While the focus on illegal crossings at our southern border falls mostly on Mexico, numerous countries including El Salvador, Guatemala, India, Honduras, and China account for hundreds of thousands of illegal border crossings each year.

Our nation’s laws are actively being broken and now, more than ever, is the time to get very serious about securing our border and providing a solution for illegal immigration activity that takes place in our country each day.

I support building the wall because much like President Trump, I am in favor of any measure that puts the safety and security of legal American citizens first.

A physical barrier—like the wall—is the most practical solution to defend against the hundreds of individuals who attempt to cross our border illegally each day.

The House passed H.R. 3003, the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, which clarifies that U.S. ICE officers have detainer authority that allows ICE to detain illegal immigrants who have committed crimes, rather than turn them over to local authorities who would release them.

The truth is that this issue is about national security. Not all of the individuals from these countries are coming here to work hard and pursue their American dream.

For those who do enter our country illegally, “sanctuary cities” illegally harbor criminals, knowingly breaking our immigration laws. These rogue cities refuse to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), willfully disobeying the rule of law.

Instead of operating under federal immigration laws, these cities have put both the lives of innocent Americans and our law enforcement officers at risk.

When it comes to working across the aisle to accomplish comprehensive immigration reform, there is no conversation to be had as long as Nancy Pelosi demands amnesty or nothing.

For her and the many Washington liberals that follow her lead, there is no room for open, frank discussion. To me, amnesty is not a solution. It simply rewards those same individuals for breaking the law.

When addressing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program recipients, no one blames these individuals for following their parents into the U.S.

However, it is important that after they turn eighteen years old, they take responsibility for themselves. Have they been positively impacting our society? Do they have a job? Did they go to school? What are they doing to better our country?

Congress has a role in determining the future of DACA recipients and we should have a full conversation about how to address these individuals who came to our country by no fault of their own.

At the end of the day, we must put America first. Any fix to the immigration problem must reflect America’s deepest and most cherished principles: fairness, compassion, rewards for hard work, the Rule of Law, and the pursuit of happiness.

I will continue my work alongside President Trump and his administration to secure our border and reform our nation’s immigration policies so that the safety and security of law-abiding citizens comes before all else.

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) represents the second district in the U.S. House of Representatives. He can be reached through, and at 3109 Azalea Park Drive, Muskogee, OK, 74401, 918-687-2533 or 202-225-2701