Our failure to control our southern border is a national disgrace and Americans are paying the price. Unfair competition from illegal workers has diminished our middle class. The flood of illegal narcotics has brought misery and death to thousands of Americans.

Do not confuse legal immigration with illegal immigration. America is a very generous nation. We accept more than 1.1 million legal immigrants every year, far more than any other country.

However, unwilling to comply with our legal immigration system, hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens cross our southern border every year. We do not know the exact number of people that reside here illegally, but estimates range from 10 million to 20 million. This unlimited supply of cheap labor holds down wages and steals jobs from hard-working, law-abiding Americans. It is one of the reasons our middle class hasn’t grown or gotten a raise in decades. The most affected are the most vulnerable — those at the bottom of the income ladder. In a 2015 study, Harvard Professor George Borjas found that competition from low-skilled immigrants has reduced entry-level middle class wages by $800 to $1,500 each year.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi loves to complain about income inequality. Well, we have a chance to do something about it. Stop the endless flow of illegal labor and watch wages rise.

In 2017, 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, up 100 percent over a decade, and it’s accelerating. Think about this: The drug epidemic kills more Americans than traffic deaths and homicides combined. The scourge of drug deaths may not be new, but it is exploding across America as gangs and drug cartels become more adept at exploiting our porous southern border. Drug Enforcement Administration reports confirm that 300 Americans die every week from heroin, 90 percent of which comes across our southern border.

In 2017, 134 of these opioid-related deaths were in South Carolina’s 7th Congressional District, which I represent. I asked local law enforcement officers how these deadly drugs are getting into the hands of my constituents. Their answers echoed fellow officers, border officials and drug enforcement agents across the country: the southern border. As President Trump has said, the status quo response to the crisis at our border is no longer effective.